Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Understanding Smart Cut and Paste.

Understanding Smart Cut and Paste

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 30, 2016)

Word includes a feature, by default, that tries to make your editing chores just a little easier. This feature, called smart cut and paste, adds or removes spaces when you are cutting or pasting text. This may sound odd, but it is really helpful in many situations. For instance, if you are pasting a word into a sentence, smart cut and paste makes sure that spaces are added around the word so that it doesn't "run in" to the words you are pasting near.

Likewise, when you cut a word from a sentence, sometimes the cut might result in two spaces left: the ones that used to surround the word being pulled. Instead, smart cut and paste results in one of the spaces being automatically deleted so the resulting sentence has (at least) the proper number of spaces in it.

You can control smart cut and paste in the following manner:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. This displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Edit tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Edit tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Set the Smart Cut and Paste check box as desired. If selected, the feature is turned on; if not selected, it is off.
  5. Click the Settings button (available only on some versions of Word) to make changes in how smart cut and paste works.
  6. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1688) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Understanding Smart Cut and Paste.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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