Friday, April 19, 2013

Strip Styling and Formatting From Text in Mac OS X

7:33 AM

Note: If this tutorial worked for you (and it should work), please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Want to quickly remove text styles and font formatting from some text? Here are two super fast ways to do just that, and they don’t require any third party downloads, both features are built right into Mac OS X. The first method will use an alternate copy & paste command that removes styling in the process, and the second trick will use TextEdit to strip all styling. Both solutions will work great if you want to remove or formatting when copying from the web to emails, and can save you the embarrassment of sharing hideous and unprofessional font styling with the world.

1: Remove Formatting with the Alternate Cut & Paste Commands

Alternate what now? Many don’t know this, but other than Command+C and Command+V there are an alternate set of cut and paste commands available in Mac OS X that also use an alternate clipboard, but also have the added benefit of stripping formatting from copied text.
  • Highlight the text and hit Control+K to ‘cut’ without formatting (rather than command+c)
  • Paste in the desired location with Control+Y (rather than command+v)
Again, these alternate cut & paste commands remove all formatting and styling, and they also use an alternative clipboard so you will not rewrite anything in the primary clipboard. Because the clipboards are different, you must be consistent with the command usage, and you can’t cross from one to the other without pasting the text elsewhere and then recopying it again. The downside is that not all apps support their usage, so you may want to use the next trick instead, which is universal since it relies on a separate application.

2: Strip Text Styling & Formatting with TextEdit

TextEdit the simple text editing app that is included in all versions of Mac OS X, and you can use it’s built-in rich text conversion abilities to strip formatting very quickly. Here’s all you need to do:
  • Open a new TextEdit file and paste in the styled/formatted text
  • Hit Command+Shift+T to convert the document to plain text and remove all formatting
  • Select all and copy again to have the unstyled version in the clipboard
This removes all formatting but will retain line simple line breaks that are respected by plain text documents.

The end result of either approach will look like this, just simple plain text without the styling, formatting, fonts, colors, or whatever else has made it look unprofessional:

You can also just open documents in TextEdit and resave them as plain text to convert that way, or you can do batch file conversions easily with the textutil command line tool that comes in all versions of Mac OS X.

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