Firefox

Copy PlainText is a Firefox extension that lets you copy text without the formatting style

Have you ever tried to copy formatted text from a web page and paste it in a different tab? Sometimes it doesn’t work as intended.

Say for example, you wanted to copy a list of ingredients from a recipe page, and send it to your friend via IM or email, and it resulted in some unwanted formatting.

I have noticed this on various websites, e.g when I wanted to quote a line or two from a website on my social network page; the text that I pasted into the editor included code/syntax when I pasted it. In worst case, it could mean that you paste content that references scripts or changes the layout of the site in question.

While some programs support plain text pasting, e.g. Firefox users may use Ctrl-Shift-V to paste in plain text, others don’t. Clipboard managers like CopyQ or resident programs like the Windows app PlainPaste provide options to deal with those.

Copy PlainText is an add-on that help prevent such annoyances, and it’s very user-friendly.

Now, the add-on does not include a button on the toolbar. Initially I found this to be odd, because that’s where most add-ons are accessed from. But there are exceptions to this “rule” and this extension is only useful at certain times so there isn’t really a need for a button.

How to use Copy PlainText?

To access the extension, you need to select some text on any web page. Then, right-click anywhere to see the Copy PlainText option. It doesn’t get easier than this. But, the job’s only half done. The next step is to use the copied content. Go to the page where you want to paste it, say Gmail. Right-click in the page and select the Paste PlainText option. You can use the regular paste too, because the content is in the clipboard.

Paste PlainText

Note: The Copy PlainText context menu item does not appear when no text is selected.

So, how do you configure the extension?

Go to the Firefox Add-ons page and select Copy PlainText > Options. There are just two settings that you can modify. You can enable the “Remove Line Indent” option which will remove the leading spaces of each line (first space of every line).

The other option is to change the shortcut key, which by default is set to use F7. Since F7 enables “Caret browsing”, I recommend changing it to something else. You can even set up a combination Control/Alt + Shift + Any other key. For e.g. Control + Shift + Space.

Want to see how it works?

Use the normal copy option first to see the difference. Go to an Amazon page (or any page that has a lot of text formatting) and copy a product listing along with the title and other text elements.

normal copy firefox

Now try pasting it in your email composer or any web page with a text field. It should use the original formatting.

normal paste firefox

Repeat the same process with Copy PlainText. It’s simple, yet efficient and could save you some time.

Copy PlainText is from the same developer who made the excellent FoxyTab add-on.

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