This one is short and sweet and pretty easy but I'm still astounded at the number of times I teach this to someone for the first time. We all know there's a lot of cutting and pasting that goes on in a law firm, that's not the problem. The problem can often be in the results of the paste. Let's discuss.....
There are equally many way to paste as there are to copy. So to copy, you cannnnnn right-click copy, edit > copy, CTRL+C, Command+C, click the copy button...and on and on and on...pick your favorite.
To paste you cannnnnn right-click paste, edit > paste, Command+V...and on and on.....BUT BUT BUT, often, there's more. In most programs that allow formatted text, you will have an option/s for HOW you paste. Do you want to paste the text "as-is" - or do you want to paste it "text only" or do you want the program to try and "match" the formatting of the text you are pasting into? Well, believe it or not, these are very important questions. Why? Because often you don't know what kind of "information" is hidden behind your copied text. And in today's world we are copying from our own documents, old documents, new documents, someone else's documents, an email, a PDF file, the internet, from Westlaw, from Lexis, from Rainmaker, from....O-M-G...need I go on? You get it right? You are copying text from ALL OVER THE PLACE! And that text can be carrying code that makes it green, italicized or font Helvetica, it can have metadata attached to it, it can have a hyperlink to the source or it can have an automatic numbering code from WordPerfect 5 in it...it's crazy. And it's crazy because you it doesn't always reveal itself. These characteristics (hidden or visible) can cause your document to do weird things like causing your numbering to go wack or even cause major document corruption.
To easily prevent any unwanted surprises from arising, you should almost always paste text into a new document as plain text (aka "Paste Special") and then format that new text as you need it to look. Generally, you will have an option offered up by the program you are using. Which program do you use?
- Word 2003 paste options
- How to Use Paste Options and Paste Special in Word 2007
- Formatting options to Paste copied text in Word 2010
- Word 2011 for Mac paste options
- WordPerfect paste special
Couple of extra tips:
- For existing text in Word 2003-2010, look for the "Clear Formatting" button or option. It's magic!
- If you're using a program that doesn't have fancy paste options (like a cloud-based word processor), simply open up a plain text editor (like Textpad in Windows or TextEdit on the Mac), paste into it, then copy that plain text again.
- DO NOT disable the Paste Options function - it's one of the best things they've ever done to word processing!