Word 2011: ‘Paste and Match Formatting’ does not work with clipboard text from Pages ’09

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft, Pages
November 16th, 2010 • 5:35 pm

Last week, for once, I wrote something positive about Microsoft and about Word 2011, regarding the addition of the long overdue “Paste and Match Formatting” command to the “Edit” menu.

Unfortunately, I have to report that, while the command works well overall, it fails in at least one major area. If you copy some formatted text from a Pages ’09 document and switch to Word 2011, the “Paste and Match Formatting” command is greyed out and you cannot use it to paste the text copied from Pages ’09 without its formatting.

Things work as expected when the copied text comes from Safari or from TextEdit, but the bug also affects Numbers ’09, so the problem appears to be limited to iWork applications. Still, it’s a major drawback if, like me, you are used to switching between Word and Pages all the time.

For some reason, it appears that Microsoft Word 2011 and the iWork applications do not speak the same Clipboard language.

Once again, we have to come to the conclusion that Microsoft is unable to introduce a new feature without bugs. Granted, this one might have slipped through because Microsoft does not use many testers who are also Pages ’09 users (although it should), but unfortunately, once there is a bug in a Microsoft product, unless it’s a crucial security issue or something that crashes the application, you can expect to have to live with it for years, because it is not going to be fixed any time soon.

Sometimes I wonder if I will be able to work in a reasonably bug-free computing environment at any point before I reach retirement age. As long as I have to use Microsoft and Adobe products in my work, I suspect it’s highly unlikely.

(Fortunately, in this particular case, I have a workaround, but it involves Keyboard Maestro. You can create a Word 2011-specific KM macro that filters the Clipboard and strips the formatting and then uses the regular “Paste” command, which is not greyed out, and then you can assign the command-shift-option-V shortcut to it, which will supersede the one in Word 2011’s interface.)

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