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  • Andrea

Cut and Paste – The easiest way to corrupt your Word document

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing the usefulness and importance of Cut and Paste, far from it. After all, CTRL+C and CTRL+V are probably the most widely used shortcuts in software. But, there's a dark side you should be aware of. You may be pasting more than you think.

When you copy something from a document (or other source) and paste it into another document, it’s not just the text or image that is pasted, but all sorts of unseen flags and metadata as well. Much of this is benign, but some of it can lead to unexpected behavior, corruption and the infamous – being unable to save your document!

Paste text unformatted

When using Word with templates and styles, as is best practice, unless the document you are cutting from has been created with the same template, you should paste text unformatted. Even then, you should be absolutely certain of the provenience of the document.

If you are copying text from other software or a browser, you should definitely paste unformatted. There could be all sorts of stuff lurking in there, none of it useful to correct formatting in Word.

Re-applying styles to unformatted text may seem like an unnecessary and tedious step, but trust me, it will save you lots of heartache in the long run. It’s a pretty simple task and tools are available to make it even quicker.

Make sure images are just that

Ideally, images should be saved as image files on your PC or network. In this case, you should use Insert Picture and choose the image file you need.

If you cut and paste an image, you should always use paste special, and insert as a bmp, jpg, png or gif – a format that is just an image, not something with metadata behind it.

If you end up with a document that won’t save, it’s very likely the cause is one of the images. But, if you’ve got 50 images in a doc, going through and removing them one-by-one is an arduous process and best avoided.

So, be careful what you paste – you might get more than you bargained for!

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