Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

This Week's Sponsor

Unite 5 - Turn Web Apps into Supercharged macOS apps

By Dan Moren

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

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

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.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a special community.

Search Six Colors