Pasting with(out) style

I do most of my work in a plain text editor, so when I copy text from a text file, a web page, or a PDF, I never think about the style of the text I’m copying. Whatever its combination of font, size, weight, etc., the text is going to appear as 14-point Bitstream Vera Sans Mono1 after it’s pasted into TextMate.

So when I work in another program—like OmniOutliner or OmniGraffle or OmniFocus—I’m always annoyed when a simple ⌘V ends up pasting in all that styling junk in addition to the text itself. When I work with these programs, I create documents and templates with the styles I want. Text pasted into these documents from other sources should not override my styles—at least, not by default.

All of these programs (and Pages, too) have a “Paste with Current Style” or “Paste and Match Style” command that does what I want: ignore the style of the text on the clipboard and use the style of the document at the insertion point.

Default OmniFocus Edit menu

Unfortunately, this command is bound to a keystroke combination, ⌥⇧⌘V, that I find difficult to type without looking down at the keyboard and placing my fingers carefully. What I really want is this command bound to good ol’ ⌘V and the other Paste (which really should be called “Paste with Style”—isn’t that the way MacWrite and WriteNow worked?) bound to some other combination.

And by using the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard & Mouse Preference Pane I have made it so. I’ve added Application Keyboard Shortcuts for the Omni programs and Pages that change the regular Paste command to ⌥⌘V and the Paste and Match Style command to ⌘V. Here’s the little sheet used to add a shortcut.

And here’s what the Keyboard Shortcuts looked like when I was done.

The Edit menus of the applications changed immediately to reflect the new shortcuts.

There is one downside to this change: graphics can no longer be pasted into these applications with a simple ⌘V; I have to use ⌥⌘V instead. Since I’m mostly a text guy, and since I find ⌥⌘V pretty easy to type, I don’t think this one drawback will be a burden.


  1. I don’t want to get into a monospace font war here. All of you who prefer Monaco or Andale Mono or whatever should just accept that Bitstream Vera Sans Mono is better and get on with your life.