If you use Word often, you may notice that whenever you are copying and pasting things, the formatting is often different from what you want. Fortunately, the little menu, called the Paste Options button, that pops up at the end of the text after you paste something provides useful options for managing this effect.

Click the down-arrow on the Paste Options button and you’ll see a menu with icons that lets you format copied text in different ways. The options you’ll see depend on where you’re cutting and pasting from and to, e.g., from within or between documents.  If you roll your mouse over the icons you can even see how your pasted text will look before you click and finalize it.

Screenshot of Paste Options button

These are the four most common options:

  1. Keep Source Formatting: Keeps the formatting of the text you copied
  2. Use Destination Styles:  Matches the formatting where you pasted your text
  3. Kept Text Only:  Discards both the text formatting AND the non-text elements you copied, such as pictures or table, and then matches the formatting where you pasted the text 
  4. Merge Formatting: Keeps the formatting of the text you copied without changing the formatting of the destination document, e.g., if you cut and paste a sentence from another document that had a different font type or size

Word even lets you define how you want cutting and pasting to work most of the time (by clicking Set Default Paste under the icons).