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How To Clear Text Formatting In Gmail

Copy/pasting text and images makes work incredibly easy. If it weren’t for copy/pasting between different apps, users would have to jump through hoops importing and exporting text or images between them. When you copy/paste text between apps that support rich text formatting, the formatting applied to text in the source app is retained when you paste the text in the destination app. This may, or may not, be great. If you’re copying text from Outlook to Gmail, you might not like it to retain the default format that Outlook uses. Here’s how you can clear text formatting in Gmail.

Clear Text Formatting In Gmail

There are two ways to clear text formatting in Gmail. The first works if you haven’t already pasted the text into the compose window, and the second is for when you’ve already pasted formatted text into the email body.

Paste As Plain Text

When you’re about to paste formatted text in any text field or text box in Chrome, use Ctrl+Shift+V to paste it. This will remove all formatting from the text. Alternatively, if you use the right-click context menu to paste text, look for the paste as plain text option.

Clear Formatting

If you’ve already pasted text, and don’t want to paste it again just to remove the formatting, consider installing a Chrome extension called Gmail unformatter.

Gmail unformatter automatically detects if the text that you’ve pasted has any formatting applied to it. If it detects formatted text, it gives you the option to clear it. Click the clear formats option in the little yellow bar and everything you pasted will be stripped of its formatting.


The above two methods work perfectly for Gmail but they obviously do not work in other apps or in all web apps and services. For a foolproof way to remove all formatting from text, you can always use Notepad.

All you need to do is paste the copied content into a Notepad file, copy it again from the Notepad, and the paste it wherever you need to. This is great for apps and services that, like Gmail, do not have a clear formatting option.

We should mention that Notepad is a text editor and not an image editor therefor if you’ve copied both text and images to the clipboard, your images will be lost when you paste it inside Notepad. Text editors should all have the option to remove formatting from any text, pasted or otherwise. Microsoft Word is excellent in this regard; not only can you quickly remove all formatting but you can also reapply it with the format painter.

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