How To Paste Text Without Formatting In WordPress (The Easy Way)

2021-11-19 | Plugins, WordPress | 0 comments

Keep your code clean, your design consistent and your design process slim by copying and pasting clean, unformatted text in WordPress. Here are the best tricks.
Skribent: Victor Duse
By Victor Duse

Do you sometime copy and paste text from a document or an email and paste it into your WordPress website? Then you might have noticed that you often end up pasting unwanted formatting, styles and code as well. Here are the best ways to copy & paste plain text in WordPress.

Why Copying And Pasting Plain Text Is Better

The problem with pasting text with formatting is that you’ll end up with inline code in your editor. This could cause:

  • Styling issues (making the design deviate from the rest of your website)
  • Technical issues (your website might act different in different browsers and devices)
  • Loading issues (bloated code will make your website loading time slower).

Let’s say that I want to copy and paste a column of text from another website. I start by selecting the text and copying it with the short command CMD + C (Mac) or Ctrl + C (PC).

Copy formatted text from a website

I’m copying some text on the Ebay website.

Next, I’ll paste the content in my WordPress editor (in this case, I’m using the Divi Visual Builder) with the short command CMD + V (Mac) or Ctrl + V (PC).

As you can see in the images below, I got unwanted formatting and inline code imported to my editor by default.

Pasting unwanted formatting in WordPress

Click the Visual tab to see the frontend styling.

Pasting unwanted code in WordPress

Click the Text tab to see the HTML code.

1. Making paste as plain text default in WordPress With A Plugin

So let’s fix this by copying and pasting plain, clean and unformatted text instead. I will copy the same text (from Ebay) but paste it as clean text in the examples below.

The easiest way is to make paste as plain text the default behaviour in WordPress. And yes, there is a plugin for that!

Paste as plain text by default plugin

Paste As Plain Text By Default is a free lightweight plugin that does exactly what’s it called: It enables paste as plain text as the default option in these WordPress Page Builders / editors:

  • Classic Editor
  • Divi Builder (backend & frontend)
  • Elementor
  • Beaver Builder
  • WPBakery
  • … and more.

Using the Gutenberg Block Editor? Scroll down to the end of this article and you’ll find a couple of useful tips & tricks for Gutenberg.

1.1 Getting started with Paste As Plain Text By Default

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and head over too Plugins » Add New
  2. Search for “Paste As Plain Text By Default” or upload the plugin zip file
  3. Install and Activate the plugin
  4. That’s all. Happy copying & pasting!

Paste as plain text is now enabled by default if you use one of the editors mentioned in the list above. Let’s try to paste the text from Ebay again:

Pasting clean text in Divi

Click the Visual tab to see the clean frontend styling.

Pasting clean code in Divi

Click the Text tab to see the clean HTML code.

2. Copying and pasting plain text without a plugin

There are plenty of options if don’t have admin access to upload a plugin or if you simply want to keep your plugin library slim.

Let’s begin with the Classic Editor (or Divi, Elementor and the other page builders that utilize the good old TinyMCE Editor).

2.1 Click the Paste as text icon (T)

This is a well hidden feature but it’s very useful when you find it.

  1. Click the Paste As Text icon The paste as text icon in your editor to enable paste as plain text.
  2. Can’t find the icon? In some cases, you need to expand the toolbar first by clicking the Toggle Toolbar icon The toolbar toggle icon.

Now you have enabled paste as plain text for that specific element. However, you might need to repeat this procedure for each and every element on your website.

Enable the Paste as text toggle

In some cases, you need to expand the toolbar (1) before you can enable paste as text (2).

2.2 Paste into the Text tab instead of the Visual tab

This is another quick trick to paste clean text. Instead of using the default Visual tab (that is susceptible to unwanted formatting), you can enable the Text tab. Despite the ambiguous naming, the Text tab can only contain plain (HTML) text which makes it immune to pasting unwanted formatting.

  1. Click the Text tab and make sure that it’s enabled
  2. Paste the content
  3. Switch over to the Visual tab to add headings, lists etc.

Easy peasy!

Using the WordPress text tab

2.3 Pasting plain text with short commands

This trick works fine if you like keyboard short commands and have flexible fingers.

  1. Copy the content that you want to paste with for example CMD + C (Mac) or Ctrl + C (PC)
  2. Paste the content as plain text with Option + Shift + Command + V (Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + V (PC)

Too complicated? Don’t worry! You can also right-click in the text editor and choose Paste and Match Style or Paste as plain text (the exact wording depends on the browser or OS that you are using).

3. Copying And Pasting Plain Text In The Gutenberg Block Editor

Is it possible to make paste as plain text enabled by default in Gutenberg? The answer is: no. It might (or might not) be added as a native feature in the future, but for now you can follow the discussion on Github.

But there are some tricks that you can use to paste plain text in Gutenberg. Here are two:

3.1 Edit as HTML in a Gutenberg Block

  1. Add a new block, for example a Paragraph Block for text
  2. Start typing at least three characters to display the block toolbar
  3. Click the three vertical dots in the right corner to expand the menu
  4. Click Edit as HTML
  5. Paste the text in between the P tags
  6. Click the three vertical dots again and click Edit visually to return to the default interface.

This is for sure a clunky process and if you, for example, remove the P tags, you will get an error message that “this block contains unexpected or invalid content“.

Copy and paste plain text in Gutenberg

You need to type at least three characters to display the floating toolbar.

Paste text as html in Gutenberg

Make sure to keep the opening and ending tags to avoid errors.

3.2. Paste as plain text with short commands or right-clicking in Gutenberg

Yes, this is the same tricks as in chapter 2.3 earlier in this article. And it works fine for Gutenberg as well.

  1. Copy the content that you want to paste with for example CMD + C (Mac) or Ctrl + C (PC)
  2. Paste the content as plain text with Option + Shift + Command + V (Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + V (PC)

Too complicated? Don’t worry! You can also right-click in the text editor and choose Paste and Match Style or Paste as plain text (the exact wording depends on the browser or OS that you are using).

Using the WordPress text tab

Short fingers? Right-click in the block editor and choose Paste and Match Style (Mac) or Paste as plain text (PC).

That’s all for today!

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