Easily convert rich text to plain text with PureText

Anyone that has copied and pasted anything in the past knows how annoying it can be when one wants just the text and not all the formatting and images that come with it. Yes, being able to copy + paste rich text is a handy feature of Windows Clipboard, but it can also be a pain. PureText is a program that allows users to alleviate that pain.

What is PureText?

PureText is a very small, portable program that strips the formatting and images from copied content. It gives users the option to either just strip the formatting and images from copied content, or to strip the formatting and images from copied content and to also paste the new plain text in the active window.

(PureText supports Unicode.)

Using PureText

PureText is very simple program. You download it, unzip the download, run PureText (no installation required), and configure how you want PureText to work (which includes assigning hotkeys and picking if you want PureText to paste the content once the hotkeys are pressed). Whenever you want to use convert rich text -> pure text you press the hotkeys you designated and PureText will convert clipboard content to plain text (and paste it, if you selected that).

PureText settings can be configured by right-clicking on the system tray icon and going to Options…:

As you can see, aside from picking hotkeys and having PureText paste converted text or not, users can also have PureText play a sound when the hotkeys are pressed and have PureText automatically start on Windows boot.

What PureText Cannot Do

PureText turns rich text into plain text. This involves removing text/font formatting such as size, weight, font type, font color, hyperlinks, etc. and removing images. However, PureText does not modify the text. In other words, it does not remove any spaces, line breaks, or anything of that nature.

PureText Shortcomings

For my text purification needs, I have been using TenClips. Although I am very happy with TenClips, the one annoying aspect of TenClips is that it converts Windows Clipboard content instead of making a copy of Windows Clipboard content and converting that. In other words, once I use TenClips rich text -> plain text conversion capabilities, Windows Clipboard no longer has the formatted text in it, but rather it has the newly converted plain text; if I press Ctrl + V after using TenClips, plain text will be pasted instead of the original rich text. What I would like TenClips to do is give me the option to leave that formatted text in Windows Clipboard – because sometimes I change my mind about pasting rich or plain text while other times I accidentally use TenClips when I don’t mean to – and instead make a copy of that rich text, store the copy in TenClips, convert that copy from rich text to plain text, and paste that copy. This way I always have the option of normally pasting with Windows Clipboard if I decide I actually want the rich text, or if I only accidentally used TenClips.

PureText has the same issue as TenClips. It converts Windows Clipboard content instead of making a copy and converting the copy. I really wish PureText had the option to leave Windows Clipboard content alone.

Computer Impact

PureText is one of those programs users will potentially have running all the time, so it is important to analyze how much of a footprint it has. As already mentioned, PureText is very small – 28 KB – and portable so there is no worry about it hogging hard drive space. More importantly, however, it uses very little RAM (one to two MB) and negligible amounts of CPU. Don’t worry about PureText slowing your computer down because it won’t.

Conclusion and Download links

PureText is not feature filled; but it doesn’t need to be. It is a simple program aimed at doing one thing and one thing only: Purifying text. PureText is one of those programs many people will use almost every day. Take this from a guy who has been using a text purifier for a really long time: Once you start, you can’t stop.

Since many clipboard managers have the ability to purify text, some users may not need PureText; but for those users that don’t use clipboard managers, PureText is an extremely useful tool. You can grab PureText from the following links:

Version reviewed: v2.0

Supported OS: Windows 95 and higher (32-bit)

PureText does not have an official 64-bit version; the 32-bit version may or may not work on 64-bit machines.

Download size: 13 KB

Malware scan: 0/41 detections, VirusTotal scan results

PureText homepage [direct download]

[via TechSupportAlert]

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16 comments

  1. dfldflkvdx

    Cannot set it to CTRL+V. Fail. Just like every other plain text copy program. Utter. Fail. After all these years you’d think SOMEBODY would have made a program that does this simple little thing.

  2. Wm

    Locutus – I mentioned TextMonkey from boxersoftware. You might have the problem I ocassional have, which is that sometimes I can’t copy directly from (A) – usually web pages, to (B) usually wordprocessors. I’ve found that by dropping the text into my NotePad of choice (NotePad2 – although it probably doesn’t matter), I can then select-all from NotePad2 (CTRL-A) and drop it perfectly where-ever I want. This is a workaround but since I have shortcuts assigned to NotePad2 (and it pops up instantaneously) it doesn’t add much work to the process (99/100 times I don’t need to do this – but I don’t work directly with RTF’s all that much). You can always try the free TextMonkey was well, which works great for me – but be warned that it’s not portable like PureText.

  3. Wm

    I’ve been using both the free and paid version of TextMonkey [on different machines], which does essentially the same thing [text monkey’s ocassionally has problems copying from my wordprocessor to another program but I just, then, copy to my notepad app and then to my wordprocessor, which works fine]. This probably is a 1/100 occurrence, but you should know.. It’s and is very useful for prepare’ing e-mails and web pages for dropping into other docs (or askSam, my saving medium of choice).

    The big advantage that PureText seems to have is that it’s portable. [TextMonkey is available here – http://www.boxersoftware.com/pgdown.htm if you’d like to try it out. I’ve had five years of very good luck with it.

  4. jumbi

    @Tom: Then try tenclips which certainly works on win7 64bit.

    I was also using puretext for many years and was my right hand at job.
    Last year or so, Ashraf presented tenclips and had “upgraded” very happily till now…
    (Because I was already used control-b from puretext for my pasting needs, I immediately set that key combination to tenclips also).
    There are indeed better clipboard managers but tenclips is very simple and does easily the basic job :-)

  5. Stephen

    I’ve used PureText for about two years now, on XP at home, on Win2000 at work, and now on a locked-down Win7 at work.

    Puretext does nothing that pasting through Notepad can’t do, except it is quick and easy. I use it most often for importing text into Word, in it goes in the style and font in force at the insertion point. Just V and it’s there. Quick and simple. Indispensible. (and free)

  6. Jonathon

    What does PureText do that Notepad doesn’t?
    Does it convert [fancy symbols] into [code that works in plain text]? (Do you know what I mean?) Does it do that better than Notepad?
    I pinned Notepad to my Start Menu. Two clicks and it’s open.

  7. Locutus

    @Ashraf: Then try making… AN AUTOHOTKEY SCRIPT! :P

    @Synergy: Do you mean RTF? RFTs are a pain, but RTFs shouldn’t be too hard.
    Update: After a quick Google search, WHAT IS UP INTERNETS! There is no easy RTF to TXT converter! GAH!
    I’m about to try this, I’ll tell you how it works:
    http://www.infionline.net/~wtnewton/batch/rtf2txt.htm
    Good luck!
    EDIT: aaaaand…. it doesn’t work on Win 64-bit. Fun.
    EDIT 2: Here’s another option. This requires Microsoft Word 2010.
    http://www.emreakkas.com/localization-tools/convert-rtf-to-txt
    Unfortunately I don’t have Word 2010; this search is not going well.

  8. Synergy

    Interesting utility and review – I didn’t realise these things existed. However, I’d ideally like to be able to convert a large batch of RFT files in one go to text which neither this nor 10 clipboards seem to do.
    Any thoughts?

  9. Locutus

    For those that can’t use this/don’t want to use this for whatever reason, there’s always Notepad. After all, a program like this uses “one to two MB” of RAM, and some truly love keyboard shortcuts.
    Win. Notepad. Enter. Ctrl+V. Ctrl+A. Ctrl+C. Alt+Tab. Ctrl+V.
    I’m beginning to sense an article about keyboard shortcuts. ;)