Tip: all the different Office 2010 paste shortcuts

Since I started using the touch-screen HP 2740p tablet, I've found myself tapping buttons in the Office ribbon to run commands - but sometimes keyboard shortcuts are just faster. Ctrl-V is literally hardwired into my brain, I think; even though I nearly always choose the Paste Options button and change the way content has just pasted in - but not quite often enough to want to reset the default.

Since I started using the touch-screen HP 2740p tablet, I've found myself tapping buttons in the Office ribbon to run commands - but sometimes keyboard shortcuts are just faster. Ctrl-V is literally hardwired into my brain, I think; even though I nearly always choose the Paste Options button and change the way content has just pasted in - but not quite often enough to want to reset the default. In Word, I want to paste plain text into one kind of document and preserve the original formatting in another kind of document. That means the keyboard shortcut doesn't do what I want without using the mouse as well, and that's slower than using the Paste Options button in the first place...

I added the Paste Options button to the Quick Access Toolbar so I can get it even if I'm not on the ribbon Home tab but I was having a problem remembering that I didn't want to Ctrl-V and then I had to move the mouse to the Paste Options button anyway. There's a keyboard shortcut for everything in the ribbon but the keyboard shortcut of Alt-H-V-T is just too long-winded and assigning a keyboard shortcut to EditPasteOption pastes without any options at all. I could set a keyboard shortcut in Word to use Ctrl-Shift-V for pasting unformatted text in the first place, but you can't create keyboard shortcuts in other Office apps (it astonishes me that after all these years I still can't make keyboard shortcuts in Excel). I was thinking about third-party utilities - and I was thinking about putting in a feature request for the next version of Office - and that made me think of checking Help (given that I know 80% of the feature requests the Office team get are for features that are already in Office).

And when I took a minute to look I was reminded that there's actually a much easier option built in to Office 2010 that works in all the apps and all I have to do is break one half of the hardwiring - moving the mouse to Paste Options. I learned that as a reflex so I'm sure I can replace it, especially as this one is less effort than moving the mouse.

What you do is use Ctrl-V the same as you always have, and then press Ctrl again to open the options popup and then press T for unformatted text (or whichever of the options I need) - M for merge formatting, U to paste it as a picture and so on. Or I can use the arrow keys to switch between them if I haven't memorised the keyboard shortcuts. And if it's not right, press Ctrl one more time and try another option.

It took about a week or reminding myself but now my mouse reflex is gone and I hit Ctrl-V Ctrl by reflex instead.

Sometimes the hardest part of adding new features to software is getting people to stop using their clunky old workarounds.

Mary Branscombe