Skip to main content

Paste Unformatted Text in Microsoft Word – Without Errors!

On my current project I spend a lot of time reverse engineering legacy applications to discover business rules and design information for the rest of the team.  More often than not I end up pasting some off the results into a Microsoft Word document or an email (for which I use the Word editor option).  Unfortunately, this often results in some quite painful formatting issues as the formatting from the IDE I’m using (Eclipse) gets transferred to the Word document – often with the key selected area formatted as almost Black on Black.

 I usually get around it by either pasting into Notepad first then re-cutting and pasting it into Word – or by just clearing the formatting afterwards.  Both of these get quite irritating after a while.

 After putting up with it for months I finally decided to do something about it – so I Googled it and found a much needed solution on the Microsoft website at

 Wonderful.  And you can still paste the formatted text using the context menu or menu bar (which is still much less fiddly than using the Paste Special for text).

 However, after a while I moved on to pasting screenshots and diagrams from Enterprise Architect – and I began to see the following error every time I tried to paste an image: –


Run-time error 5342: The specified data type is unavailble.

Run-time error '5342': The specified data type is unavailble.

This was almost as annoying as the original problem and I nearly removed the macro.  Still, using the context menu Paste it works OK and the images went in.

 Finally, last night I decided enough was enough.  All I needed was a way to catch the error and use the standard Paste action if no text is available to paste.  As I’ve almost no knowledge of VBA programming I needed some help and after about half an hour of Googling (it’s remarkably hard to find information on VBA Error handling) I came across a couple of articles that helped: –

 Thanks chaps.

 So I now have modified version of the macro on my own PC which doesn’t throw up the errors if you try to paste a picture.  Instead, it attempts to paste the unformatted text and if an error occurs it uses the normal paste action – so pictures get pasted straight away with no hassle.  Here is the full subroutine (follow the instructions on the Microsoft article for how to enter it): –

    Sub PasteUnformattedText()
        On Error GoTo errHandler

        Selection.PasteSpecial DataType:=wdPasteText
        Exit Sub
    End Sub

Of course the next thing is to add a toggle button to the tool bar to turn the macro on and off…

One comment on “Paste Unformatted Text in Microsoft Word – Without Errors!”

  1. Name Required says:

    Nice try No Error 5342 But wrong formatting
    Since Paste Special Unformatted Unicode Worked
    I recorded Macro gave this (Works) Cheers

    Sub Pastetextonlytest()

    ‘ Pastetextonlytest Macro

    Selection.PasteAndFormat (wdPasteDefault)
    End Sub

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *