7. Copying and Pasting to and from Word

 
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Overview

Copying and pasting is a fundamental tool of all word processors. In this lesson we show you how text formatting complicates this simple process.

Lesson Notes

Lesson Goal

Investigate how to copy text with and without formatting.

Copying and pasting

Copying is simple in Word. But pasting is quite complex. This is because it considers the formatting of the text your copying and the formatting of the destination document. Word handles this with the following paste options.

Keep Source Formatting

This will always keep the formatting of the text you copied. It does not consider the formatting of the destination document.

Keep Text Only

This will remove any formatting from your copied text. When using this option, the pasted text will take on the formatting of the surrounding text in the destination document.

Merge Formatting

As with Keep Text Only, this will use the formatting of surrounding text. However, any bolding, italicization or underlining from the source text will be carried over.

Picture

This simply pastes the text as a picture. The pasted text will no longer be editable.

Link pasting

When you paste with a link, you create a connection between the text and the source. This means changes in the source text are automatically updated in the copied text.

This is primarily used to link Excel spreadsheets and charts to Word.

Transcript

In the previous lessons, we learned how to format text font, size, color, and emphasis. In this lesson, we'll learn how to copy text with and without formatting.

Copying and pasting is nothing new to almost all computer users.

However, text formatting can complicate this. Word helps users manage formatting by offering many ways to paste text. We'll start with a form most common.

The first is keep source formatting.

This will always keep the formatting of the text you copied. Next, there is keep text only. This will remove any formatting from your copied text. The pasted text will take on the formatting of the surrounding text when using this option.

Then, there's merge formatting. As with keep text only, this will use the formatting of the surrounding text.

However, any bolding, italicization or underlining from the source text will be carried over.

Finally, there's picture.

This simply pastes the text as a picture. The pasted text will no longer be editable.

In this lesson, we want to clean up the always improving section of the document. The table in this section is problematic for a few reasons. It's not editable at all, because the information was pasted as a picture. The picture has also been stretched, which affects readability. Most importantly, this table has no accompanying text to explain it. Fortunately, all the information we require exists in other files. We'll start by importing the text from a different document.

We'll do this by first copying all the text in this new document.

You might've noticed that the text in this document differs from our original. It uses a different font and size.

We'd like to keep the formatting in our main document consistent, so we can already rule out keep source formatting as this would paste in the formatting we can see here.

Another thing to note is that some of the text here is bolded.

This bolding is actually pretty useful, so we'd like to keep it.

It looks like merge formatting is the best pasting type.

We'll see if this works by returning to the main document, placing the cursor underneath the table, right clicking, and selecting Merge Formatting.

As expected, the text was pasted using the formatting of this document, but also kept the bolding.

Next, we'd like to update this table. We'll delete this picture, and then navigate to the Excel sheet that contains the data.

We'll select the cells with the data and copy them.

We'll then return to our main document.

When we right-click to show pasting options, we can see that there are few other options available. These are the linking options. When you paste with a link, you create a connection between the text and the source.

This means that changes in the source text are automatically updated in the copied text.

Note that this method can't be used for copping text from one document to another.

It's primarily used to keep a link between Excel spreadsheets and charts in Word. In this case, we'll choose Link and Keep Source Formatting.

We can keep source formatting because the text is within a table, so it doesn't look too jarring compared to our other text. We'll also click the arrow symbol at the top left of the table, and type Control + E to center align the table.

Now whenever the source Excel file is edited, the table in this document will update to reflect the most recent version.

Note that in some edge cases, you may have to right-click the table and select Update Link from the menu to force the table to update. This section now spreads across two pages. We'll give this section its own page by placing a page break at the beginning, and end. With that, we've covered all the main formatting options that affect the look of our text.