Word 2011: Formatting when cutting and pasting paragraphs

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
January 29th, 2012 • 12:05 pm

Word’s behaviour when it comes to deciding what format to apply to pasted text has always been a complete, impenetrable mess that no ordinary user can ever be expected to fathom, which is why, whenever I can, I use the “Paste Without Formatting” command, even though — this is Microsoft Word we are talking about here — its implementation still leaves a lot to be desired.

But sometimes I do not want to use “Paste Without Formatting,” precisely because I want to keep the formatting of the text that I am copying and pasting. Even then, Word manages to screw up in spectacular fashion.

Consider the following situation:

Selected paragraph for copying

Here, I have selected the last paragraph before a bullet list (by clicking in the left margin, which selects the paragraph with its paragraph mark). I copy it to the Clipboard with command-C, and then I scroll down the document and select another paragraph before a bullet list (again by clicking in the left margin, which selects the paragraph with its paragraph mark), which I want to replace with what I have just copied:

Selected paragraph for pasting

And then I press command-V to paste the copied paragraph with its formatting.

What do you think happens? This:

After Paste

The pasted paragraph has now taken on the formatting of the following paragraph, which of course is the first item in the bullet list, thereby turning itself into a new first item in the bullet list!

Good grief. I would very much like to know in which completely warped alternate universe this behaviour actually makes sense. But there’s no point in asking, because there’s nobody home. The “brains” behind Microsoft Word is actually an empty cranium. I am willing to bet that, of all the Microsoft engineers working on Microsoft Office, there is not a single one who’s even aware of the absurdity of this behaviour, let alone willing or able to do anything about it.

Meanwhile, in the real world, real Mac users are trying to get things done. And with Microsoft products, that is always much more complicated and painful than it should be.

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