Firefox Extended Copy

Martin Brinkmann
May 8, 2008
Updated • Dec 9, 2012
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Copying texts and other elements of a website in Firefox always includes the format of the elements. This means that a text with a headline will exactly look alike after pasting it into an editor that supports this formats. Pasting it into a plain text editor like Notepad would delete the formatting and display the text text only.

The problem begins if plain text should be copied into a rich text editor. One solution was to copy and paste the text into a plain text editor first and copy and paste it again into the rich text editor. This would ensure that only the plain text would be pasted into the rich text editor.

Ryan Cook developed the Firefox extension Extended Copy that provides a solution to this situation. It adds two new commands to the Firefox right-click menu: Copy as Plain Text and Copy as HTML. The first option, Copy as Plain Text, copies the text without formatting which makes it possible to paste it into a rich text editor directly.

The second option, Copy as HTML, copies the text and the underlying html which can be useful when editing source codes or working with tables or lists.

The program is also available for Internet Explorer. Both editions can be downloaded from Ryan's website.

Update: The Firefox add-on is no longer available. An alternative in the form of Extended Copy Menu is available which you can use to copy the selection of text in the browser either as plain text or as HTML. To use the add-on simply install it in Firefox, restart the web browser, and either select the copy as plain text or copy as html from the context menu when you right-click after selecting text in the Internet browser.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Votre said on May 12, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I’ve had the best luck with a little app called PureText. When you run it, a small icon appears in your system tray. If you hit the icon, anything you just copied gets stripped down to plain text ready for pasting where you will.

    Best of all, it works in any application so it’s not restricted to use within Firefox.

    Details at:

  2. Roman ShaRP said on May 10, 2008 at 11:52 am

    With my clipboard maneger I can choose: if I paste without the manager – I get formatted text, but if I paste via manager, I get plain text.

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