How to paste as plain text in Firefox

When you paste rich text into a form open in the Firefox web browser you may notice that the formatting of the original text is retained on the page you have pasted the contents on.

If you copy an article for example that you find here on this site or just a paragraph, and paste it into an editor in Firefox that supports rich text, you will notice that the title, bold text and links are still displayed even though you may not want that.

That may not always be a problem, for instance if you are pasting the contents into a form configured to only accept plain text, but if the form accepts rich text, it may be one.

One of the reasons for that is that you may need to remove the formatting from the text before you publish it on the website.

The format may be different depending on the source. Sometimes CSS code may be copied while at other times other code depending on the source the code was copied from.

So what can you do if you want to paste as plain text in Firefox?

Depending on the form you paste text into, you may use its paste as plain text option if it offers one. The WordPress editor offers that functionality for example, but it is not the best option as you need to select it first. It is too limited and not a universal solution.

Another option are programs like PureText that you run on your system that modify the contents of the Clipboard on command so that you can paste text without formatting into any other program on the system.

There are also add-ons that you can make use of, for instance Copy as Plain Text. The extension adds a couple of extra options to the process such as trimming space or removing duplicate blank lines.

copy-as-plain-text

While the extra options may make it worthwhile for some users of the browser, you can alternatively use a native hotkey in Firefox.

Instead of pasting text using Ctrl-V, you simply use Ctrl-Shift-V to do so. The difference between both options is that the latter pastes the text without formatting while the former retains it. You can also hold down Shift while using the mouse to paste contents in the browser as this works fine as well.

Good thing is, this works in other Mozilla-based products as well such as Thunderbird.

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How to paste as plain text in Firefox
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How to paste text without formatting in Firefox using a native hotkey.
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Responses to How to paste as plain text in Firefox

  1. Pants June 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    I've been using Copy As Plain Text for years along with Auto Copy 2 ( https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/autocopy-2/ ) which has saved me 100's of thousands of Ctrl-C's

    • Pants June 20, 2014 at 1:58 am #

      Actually, as oko below just reminded me, I don;t use "Copy As Plain Text" - I use "Copy Plain Text", which as oko says, is better :)

  2. Oxendine June 19, 2014 at 8:00 am #

    If in Windows, one might also first paste in Notepad.

    • Swapnil June 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

      Exactly what I do.

  3. Ennovy June 19, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    I use Autohotkey and for pasting plain text use this script:

    ClipSaved := ClipboardAll
    Clipboard = %Clipboard%
    SendInput, ^v
    Sleep, 250
    Clipboard := ClipSaved
    VarSetCapacity(ClipSaved, 0)
    return

    You can use it in any apllication :)

  4. PhoneyVirus June 20, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    Thank you for this, didn't know about the Ctrl-Shift-V, I feel so dumb. @Oxendine I use to paste in Notepad first not now.

    Just ran a test in Firefox and if you have AdBlock Plus installed it`s using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-V.

    Thanks for the Tutorial Martin

    PhoneyVirus

    • Mischa Altmann August 22, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      you can change the AdBlockPlus shortcut:
      go to: about:config
      search for: extensions.adblockplus.sidebar_key
      delete "Accel Shift V" from "value"
      disable and re-enable AdBlockPlus extension via Add-Ons page (or restart Firefox)

  5. Matthew Borcherding June 21, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    PureText is a wonderful tiny program and lets you paste without formatting in *EVERYTHING*.
    Just stick it in your startup folder and that's it.

    I use it almost everyday.

    Just press Windows Key-V instead of Ctrl-V.

    https://code.google.com/p/puretext-plus/

  6. Zsolt June 25, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    This annoyed the hell out of me. Especially with disqus. I'll try ctrl+shift+v and maybe have a look at "Copy as Plain Text".

    • Zsolt June 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Darn it conflicts with an Adblock Plus hotkey. And both seem to be unchangeable, even with keyconfig.

  7. Kaelos July 28, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    Is this working with Firefox 31? I tried with a fresh install and CTRL-SHIFT-V doesn't do anything.

    • Martin Brinkmann July 28, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

      Yes working for me.

      • Kaelos August 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

        I'm using Windows 7 64-bit, Firefox 31, and it's not working for me. Will test with no add-ons.

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