Copying text from one document to another without also capturing unwanted formatting is something most of us do daily. As a veteran presenter of many "50 Tips" or "60 Tips" programs, I have often discussed with my colleagues that using Edit-Paste Special-Unformatted text to paste into a document has been sort of the "Ultimate Tip" for lawyers. No matter how many times we publicized this technique, there were always two or three people who lighted up in the back of the room when they heard this tip. It was not uncommon to get an e-mail after a seminar that said "Thank you. Learning about paste special was worth the entire price of the seminar."

Well I got that same feeling today when I read a Lifehacker post about removing the formatting in Word documents. The problem with using Paste Special is that it involves clicking on several pull down menus with the mouse, which slows things down. Even if you put a "Paste Special" button on your toolbar, you still have to click on it and then click "unformatted text." You can also use the right click.

But, try this one today. When you have copied some text to your clipboard and want to paste it without formatting into a blank document, use these three keystroke combinations in quick succession: Ctrl + V, Ctrl + A and Ctrl + Spacebar. All done before you can reach for a mouse!

Ctrl + V inserts the copied text (as you all know.) Ctrl + A highlights all text on a page. Ctrl + Spacebar removes all formatting from selected text. Zoom, zoom, zoom.

Now if you are pasting into a document with formatting you don’t want to destroy, you cannot use Ctrl + A and have to select the text to be "unformatted" another way. But there’s a keyboard shortcut to do this too. Paste the text. Then, while holding down the Shift and Ctrl keys, (conveniently located next to each other) use the Up arrow key to select the text you have just pasted in paragraph by paragraph. So if you just pasted in three paragraphs, you will hit it three times. Then hit Ctrl + Spacebar.

Try this a few times. It is easier to do than to explain. Finally, if you want to know more go to the Lifehacker post. Read the comments. One person says holding down the Alt Key and pressing E, S, U and Enter is even quicker. Another has posted a macro to do this in one keystroke. These tips truly are "the next generation" of Paste Special. We probably all need to create the macro and assign it to a key combination. But for today, I’m just happy to do this more quickly than I did it yesterday.

Note: I follow Lifehacker, but will note that I got this today because Technolawyer dropped it into my inbox with its free Thursday Answers to Questions e-mail.