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Is there anyone who would not prefer the default behavior of "Paste" to be "Paste and Match Style"?

In the Mac OS X operating system, when you copy content from one application, and paste into another, the source styles, in addition to the content, is copied into the destination. Unless you’re expecting or desire this behavior, your workflow is interrupted and you’re left with a bit of a mess to clean up (the effort of which relates to how quickly you discover what happened).

Most style-aware applications support a “Paste and Match Style” option, but some don’t (like “sidenote”, the application in which I’m writing this post.) For those, we’re kind of stuck.

Based on how I work (mostly in plain text), as well as most people I know, a preferred approach would be:

  • “Paste and Match Style” should be the default behavior of the basic “Paste” function.

  • The current “Paste and Match Style” option should be renamed and re-functioned “Paste with styles”.

  • Applications that are particularly interested in styles (page layout applications, graphic design applications, etc.), could, on pastes which include styles, simply prompt the user, “Include styles with this paste?”

Published inTechnology

2 Comments

  1. Pasting has worked this way for a quarter century. If you suddenly change that behaviour, you are going to upset a LOT of people.

    It’s much more reasonable to allow the Command-V keyboard shortcut to be assigned to “Paste and Match Style” if you want, of course without making it the default behaviour. It would basically have the same effect but without breaking the workflow of people who are so used to the normal behaviour that they don’t think about it, except when they want the other behaviour, in which case we simply use the other shortcut.

    Prompting the user on paste is a very, very, very bad idea. It would be annoying as Hell.

  2. Matt Henderson Matt Henderson

    In which context(s) has it needed to work this way for so long? Is this primarily related to typical desktop publishing origins of the Mac? Just curious, as I never (not once, that I can recall) prefer to paste styles.

    Agreed, the prompting might be a bad idea.

Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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