six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Twitter to the rescue: A systemwide shortcut for pasting as plain text

I mentioned in a recent post that I’ve stopped using my previous launcher app, Alfred, but that one of the features I’ve missed most is a universal “Paste as Plain Text” shortcut. I’d tried to duplicate this with an OS X service, but it ended up kind of clunky.

Fortunately, this is one place where the Twitter community excels. A number of people suggested solutions and alternatives, including those who recommended apps that could help solve this problem. But since part of my eschewing Alfred was to reduce the number of apps I use, adding another app seemed like a lateral move at best.

The winning solution came from PetieG, who pointed out that “Paste and Match Style”—which exists in most OS X apps—can accomplish pretty much what I was trying to do. (Which, primarily, was to convert rich-text hyperlinks into plaintext URLs.)

And using OS X’s Shortcuts feature in the Keyboard preference pane, I’m now able to invoke Paste and Match Style systemwide with my preferred shortcut, command-control-shift-V. (Incidentally, I really love the command-control-shift combination of keys, since I personally find it the easiest, most convenient cluster of keys to hit with just my left hand.)

Just goes to show, once again, that sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones.

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]