Apple atrocities

Pasting with formatting

Why is the default paste on nearly every application “paste with formatting”? Is that really what most users want most of the time?

Has anyone even looked into it? From all appearances nobody has. Every app has “paste with formatting” as the default, and has created its own unique, complicated and counterintuitive multi-key combo to get “paste without formatting”. Since it is different in every app we never learn it. We use the menu, or develop awkward workarounds to shed the formatting.

But somehow worse than this is Apple’s implementation in Mail on iOS. Get a load of this: there is no paste without formatting option at all. There is no “remove formatting” or “set to default” option, either. The normal formatting of the email must be manually applied, parameter by parameter.

So imagine a scenario where a very bitter user named Stephen sees a headline on a website set in 72 point Jackass Sans Bold Italic from one of those eye-destroying light-on-dark night formats every design lemming in the world decided en masse to make the norm. If this angry little Stephen person tries to copy this headline and paste it into an email to the last person on earth willing to listen to his bilious spew, he will have to first find and select the white text he just pasted, which is completely invisible against the white background of the email, then manually reformat it to match the typeface and size the rest of the email is set in, whatever that is.

Let’s just hope this Stephen guy has a blog dedicated to shit design where he can vent his fury. When bad design is your muse, your inspiration will heave forth endlessly.

Moral: Always, always, always offer “paste without formatting”, and maybe even consider making that the default. Just because every other designer is doing something, that doesn’t mean it is the smart thing to do. I swear, designers are some of the most conformist innovators you’ll ever meet.

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