September 28, 2009

Plain Clip and PureText: free text applications to remove formatting

Copy and paste are such frequently used computer functions that most people rarely consider them, or wonder how they can make them better. Fortunately the authors of Plain Clip and PureText did think about these functions, and how they could improve them.The function they perform is simple; they remove the formatting from any text on the clipboard. This might not sound very exciting, but these programs can be very useful to anyone that uses programs like MS Word, OpenOffice, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.

Let’s start with an easy example of a student or researcher looking up information on the Internet and pasting it into a Word document. Those who have tried this know that unless a paste special function is used, the text pasted from the web will not match the text in the Word document. The font may be larger, different, smaller, another color or any number of other things.

This can cause quite a bit of extra work to undo and is where these applications come in. Each works with a different operating system, Plain Clip for Mac and PureText for Windows.

PureText is easy to install, the zip file just has to be unzipped in the permanent location of the application. After double clicking it, a small icon will open in the Taskbar next to the clock. Right clicking that icon opens the settings window, in that window the program can be set to run every time the computer starts, and the shortcut key can be set. The shortcut key is used to paste text from the clipboard with the formatting removed, by default the key combination is Windows Key + V, but it can be changed as needed.

Plain Clip performs a similar function on the Mac. To install, double click the dmg file downloaded from the authors website, and drag the Plain Clip application to the Applications folder. There are two ways to use Plain Clip. It can be placed directly on the Dock, and when the user wants to paste data without formatting, clicking the icon will remove the formatting from any text on the clipboard. The second option for those that use hotkey applications is setting a key combination to run it.

Both of these applications are very simple and don’t include a lot of features, but they work well. Anyone that needs to copy and paste from multiple sources and maintain a consistent format will quickly come to depend on either program.

This content was originally published on examiner.

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