As part of my regular use of Gmail, I often find myself pasting text from web into my e-mails. Since the Gmail editor supports rich-text, pasting generally includes the formating, which, most of the time, simply does not make sense within the e-mail. For years, I have been using a trick to get around this – one which involved using the almighty Windows Notepad. By simply pasting the text into Notepad, and then copying it from there, I make sure the formating is not brought over. This works because Notepad itself does not support formating. As useful as this trick is, I often found myself wondering whether there were better options available.
A few days ago, as I was writing an e-mail to a prospective client, I made the mistake of writing it in Google Docs, and then copying it over to Gmail. With the Notepad trick applied, I would have been fine – but it slipped my mind in this occasion. Copying text from Google Docs had one immediate effect – it meant the Google Docs font would be used in the Gmail Editor. In itself, not a problem – but as I continued working on the e-mail, I found myself copying another specific subset of the Google Doc, and pasting it in the middle of the e-mail. All looked fine within the editor, but after it was sent, one flaw was made immediately apparent:
Notice the unnecessary extra spacing? It appeared immediately after the content I pasted from Google Docs. To make matters worse, part of my e-mail explained how I put emphasis on perfecting the content I produce. Words cannot express how infuriating it is for a perfectionist to express his perfectionism, only to realize he sent an obviously imperfect e-mail.
I immediately sought to find a solution, once and for all, to ensure I never make such a mistake again. After some searching, I discovered that the good folks at Google already took steps to fix this browser “feature”. While using Google Chrome, one can simply press CTRL + SHIFT + V to paste without formating. Since Google Chrome is my browser of choice, this covers 90% of my use cases, making it a solid solution. Hopefully other browsers will start implementing similar features, permanently resolving the issue.