Get Organized!

FRANK BUCK: Solving 2 copy and paste headaches (column)

Little things can be big things, especially when it has to do with something you use every day.

Where were you when you learned to “copy and paste” within a digital document? For many readers, you never knew life without it. For those of us who grew up before the days of the personal computer, the introduction of this little technique was an instant time-saver.

The whole routine was designed to mimic our paper environment. Holding the “Control” key and pressing “C” (CTRL + C) accomplished the “copy” part and placed the desired text onto a magical spot known as the “Clipboard.” The keyboard combination of CTRL + V pasted the text from the Clipboard to its destination on your document. Copy something else, and it replaced whatever was on the Clipboard.

That little skillset has saved us all countless hours. But it’s not without its headaches. Today, here are two shortcuts designed to make you fall in love with “copy & paste” all over again.

The Copy/Paste Shuffle

What happens when you have quite a few items to copy and paste from one location to another?

Think about the last time you needed to copy the name, address, and phone number of a business from its website into your Contacts.

Copy the name. Come over to the new contact record and paste it into the name field. Go back to the website and copy the phone number. Return to the contact record and paste. Continue with the street address, city, state and zip. Back and forth. Back and forth. You are experiencing the “Copy/Paste Shuffle.”

The next time you start to “paste,” instead of using CTRL + V, use WINDOWS + V. The Windows key is the one with the Windows logo, located just to the right of the CTRL. The first time, a box appears asking you to turn on something called “Windows Clipboard History.”

You’ll only have to do so once on that particular computer.

Now when you “Copy” to the Clipboard, the new text does not replace the old text. Instead, it adds to what’s already there. Copy up to 15 different items.

When it’s time to paste, WINDOWS + V brings up the list of everything on the clipboard. Click the item you want. It’s that easy.

No more back and forth. You’ve ended the “Copy/Paste Shuffle.”

Paste Without Formatting

We’ve all experienced copying some text from one source to another. An annoying thing can happen. The text we paste retains the font, size, italics, bold-face type, and any other attributes from the original source. Now, we have to highlight the newly-pasted text and change the font, size, etc., to match the rest of our text.

An easy keyboard shortcut eliminates this headache. Instead of using CTRL + V, we add one more key to the combination: SHIFT + CTRL + V. You get the text you want without the formatting you don’t. This technique works in many applications, including Evernote and all parts of Google Drive. It doesn’t work in Microsoft Office. However, when you use CTRL + V, watch for an option to appear allowing you to choose the formatting you desire.

To see videos of these techniques, come over to and click the “Blog” menu item.

The Windows Clipboard History demonstration is dated Dec. 31. “Paste Without Formatting” published Jan. 7. 

Frank Buck is the author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders. “Global Gurus Top 30” named him #1 in the Time Management category for 2019. Dr. Buck speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach him through his website: Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.