Getting Rid of the “Paste Options” Button

Microsoft has never been known to be particularly good at designing software, particularly from a usability point of view. Sure, they try, but every new “improved usability” trick they reveal ends up being a kludge that most people hate. I am constantly swearing at Microsoft Word and Outlook because of their stupid designs and incomprehensibly dumb choices for usability.

Today I’m focusing on that insane little “Paste Options” button you get whenever you paste some text into a Word document. You know the one:

stupid button

That thing shows up next to your pasted text, usually blocking your view of something on the next line. Its role is to help you decide if you want the pasted text to bring its formatting with it, or to adopt the formatting of the document you’re pasting it in to. You have to expand its menu and choose, or simply type something to make it go away.

Let me say this very clearly: I have been using Microsoft Word almost daily since about 1992. Never in that time have I ever wanted the pasted text to keep its formatting. Not once! I always want it to adopt the formatting of the document I’m pasting into (the “destination” document).

As such, this feature is not only unnecessary, it is useless and annoying. The right thing for Microsoft to have done is make “adopt the formatting of the destination document” the default behaviour. For those few people who want it another way they could have built in a special key combination or put “Paste the stupid way” in the Edit menu.

But no, we’re stuck with it. Or not! I’ll show you how you can get rid of that annoying button in both Word 2003 and Word 2007. If you have a different version of Word, these instructions should still point you more or less in the right direction.

How To Get Rid of Word’s “Paste Options” Button

Word 2003:

  1. Go to Tools > Options.
  2. In the Options dialog, go to the Edit tab.
  3. Uncheck the “Show Paste Options button” box.
  4. Click OK. That’s it! You’ll never see that icon again!

Options dialog

Word 2007:

  1. Click that stupid nameless ball in the upper left corner (the one that makes it difficult to write instructions for because it has no name or label on it — thanks Microsoft).
  2. On the stupid nameless ball menu, choose “Word Options” (at the bottom).
  3. Click “Advanced” in the left sidebar.
  4. Scroll down to the “Cut, copy, and paste” section.
  5. Uncheck the “Show Paste Options button” box.
  6. Bonus! In the four “Pasting…” options, select “Match Destination Formatting.” This makes Word behave the way a non-stupid software company would have designed it.
  7. Click OK. That’s it! You’ll never see that icon again!

Below are the same instructions in graphical form:

Finding the Word Options

Word Options

10 thoughts on “Getting Rid of the “Paste Options” Button

  1. MAN do I wish that option existed in the Mac version of Word. In the past I had to create a macro mapped to a button for “paste unformatted text,” and now that macros are out I have a button mapped to “Paste Special” which still makes me have to pick “Unformatted text” just to c&p between programs/documents. Infuriating.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This has been driving me crazy for a very long time.

  3. Word for Mac 2004 has it. Just choose Preferences from the Apple menu, go to Edit, and uncheck the option.

  4. Thanks Ed. I hated that annoying little thingy.

  5. Many thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to post this. The little floaty past options icon was like fingernails down a chalkboard to me! Relief at last.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I’ve been using Notepad to clean up my clipboard text. And I’ve been doing it for years.

    And I realize I didn’t notice the Word Options button until now.

    Oh, Microsoft…

  7. U hit the nail bang on the head. I hate such “features”. Can’t Microsoft learn by listening to it’s users.

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