When I paste text into an email in Outlook, the following prompt hovers near the text:

enter image description here

Based on the hint, instead of clicking on the button with the mouse, it looks like I should be able to press Ctrl+T. But if I do that, it indents the paragraph.

So what key combination will keep the text only?

11 Answers 11


I figured it out. It isn't Ctrl+T, it is Ctrl, T (as in press and release Ctrl, then press T).

So, the pattern to paste as text only is: Ctrl+V, Ctrl, T.

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  • 1
    Even if it works, it is odd that you first paste with format, and then "retreat" the format. It is not: 1) the way usually "paste-as-text" works, 2) a desirable way (something may happen in between, and you are left with a formatted paste). I wonder if there is another option. – sancho.s ReinstateMonicaCellio Jan 9 '15 at 9:42
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    ... there is another option, see this answer. – sancho.s ReinstateMonicaCellio Jan 9 '15 at 9:50
  • Alternatives for pasting unformatted text are appreciated, but you might be missing the point of the question. Unless it's disabled, Outlook pops up Paste Options, even using your alternative. What I wanted to know was how to use the keyboard shortcuts for those Paste Options. The keys are displayed visually, but, to me, the combination is not obvious. – Rich Bennema Jan 9 '15 at 13:57
  • Thank you.. this is not just for Outlook, but all office programs where they have a paste option works. Once you are used to pressing Ctrl soon after pasting (i.e. Ctrl+V depress and press Ctrl again) you will get used to it. The popup we get also gives option to paste as images, merge formatting etc. If your day job demands doing the same paste operation (e.g. pasting 30 slides into a word document as images) this sequence provides nice option. – Adarsha Jul 11 '19 at 2:55
  • @sancho.sReinstateMonica This is Microsoft's way of thinking. :) – toddwz Nov 20 '19 at 15:59

Another option is Alt+H+V+T (i.e., keeping Alt pressed until after you press T).

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  • 4
    You only need to keep Alt depressed while pressing H. Then you can release Alt and press V-T. This is typical for Office and many other Windows programs. – sancho.s ReinstateMonicaCellio Jan 9 '15 at 14:42
  • Works like a charm thanks! (in Outlook 2019 there is no need to keep holdint Alt! Just pressing Alt, H, V, T in that order works for me too) +1 thanks! – Sam Oct 14 '19 at 6:56

There is an option with a small number of keystrokes, which does not involve an intermediate paste-with-format:

Ctrl+Alt+V, Unformatted text

Taken from an excellent summary of shortcuts.

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  • 4
    For me, this brings up the Paste Special dialog, which either means more keystrokes or using the mouse. In terms of pasting unformatted text directly, I prefer martinpolley's answer. It's one more keystroke, but there is no dialog. – Rich Bennema Jan 9 '15 at 13:49
  • @RichBennema - The downside (for me) about that sequence, as with many others related to accessing the ribbon, is that it has changed from the "standard" shortcuts. For me it is almost set in stone that V is for pasting, and with that one you have go first with H. It's a matter of taste. – sancho.s ReinstateMonicaCellio Jan 9 '15 at 14:46

In Outlook 2016, when you paste, press Ctrl and then click on "Set default paste...":

When pressing Ctrl

When pressing <kbd>Ctrl</kbd>

Then just select options, that are appropriate for you.

Cut, copy and paste options

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  • This is the best answer in my opinion. Using "Merge Formatting" works well. When I use the most upvoted answer, if the text I'm pasting contains line breaks, and I'm pasting it into a numbered list; this would put it as several list items. Using this instead makes it go into 1 list item. Thanks! – Danny Beckett Oct 16 '16 at 6:16

I think I've found a great solution which makes it as good as the one I had in Word 2003 etc. Back then you had to create a macro. I called it 'pasteunformatted' and assign a shortcut key (I used Ctrl+T).

If you go Customize ribbon > Check 'developer' box to open up that tab, OK. Then select it.

Grab your some text to be copy/pasted from anywhere. This is just to set up the macro.

Click 'Record Macro'. Choose a name. Assign your shortcut key.

Now go Ctrl+V to paste. Then press Ctrl (release) then 't' as described by some users above. Now stop record. You now have a macro that will paste unformatted text as you may have had previously, with the shortcut key you assigned to it.

Hope that helps.

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  • This question is about Outlook, not Word. Outlook does not have a Macro Recorder, although some Word macros may be usable in Outlook if you add a reference to the Word object model. – Amit Naidu Feb 29 '16 at 16:11

As mentioned in the list of the keyboard shortcuts in the Outlook Help page:

Ctrl+v then Ctrl+SPACE seems a reasonable solution that gives a way to apply the current format of the mail you're writing to the text you paste. An alternative is Ctrl+v then Ctrl+Shift+z which removes any format.

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  • These shortcuts don't do anything special. They just insert the formatted text. – Jack Miller Aug 8 '17 at 7:44

CTRL+V+SPACE worked for me.

But I found a definitive solution on another web site, just by changing my default paste settings. Here are the instructions.

I hope that it works for you.

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  • In Outlook 2013 I have set every default paste setting to "Keep Text Only" and it does not honor the settings unless you also keep the option enabled to "Show Paste Options button when content is pasted." – Elaskanator Jul 18 '19 at 14:04

With show paste options disabled you can press Menu, Ctrl, T, Enter.

The "Menu" key gives the right-click menu. It’s between Alt and Ctrl, to the right of space on my keyboard.

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I am not sure whether this is the answer you are looking for. I have disabled the show paste options ( options --> Mail --> uncheck show paste options when content is pasted into a message) Just using Ctrl+V to paste

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I've also found that you can simply right-click and press 'T'.

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I was looking for an answer that works in Microsoft Word for Mac. I tried all the answers and none of them worked. Here is the procedure that worked for me:

1- Copy a sample piece of text to the clipboard.

2- View > Macros > Choose Record Macro...

It will open a new window.

3- Click the "Keyboard" button in the new window.

4- Press Ctrl + h (or whatever combination of buttons that you prefer.)

5- Click the "OK" button.

6- Use Ctrl + v to paste the copied text to somewhere in your document.

7- Using your mouse, choose paste options, and click on "Keep Text Only".

8- View > Macros > Stop Recording

From now on, whenever you want to paste anything with the "Keep Text Only," instead of Ctrl + v, you can just press Ctrl + h (or whatever combination of buttons that you prefer.)

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