Mac OS X: Copy and paste from Excel to Mail or TextEdit results in scrambled text

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Scrambled text may result when you copy and paste from Microsoft Excel into either the TextEdit or Mail application included with Mac OS X.

Note: This document applies to Mac OS X 10.3.9 and earlier.


Scrambled or unexpected text appears when you copy and paste from Microsoft Excel into either Mail or TextEdit.

Microsoft Excel uses several data types copying or pasting, some of which do not yet work with Mac OS X. This may result in garbled text and differing results than anticipated.


Copy and paste the desired information into a plain text format document, then copy and paste it from the plain text document into the affected Mail or TextEdit document.

How to make a plain text document

You can make a plain text document in Mail or TextEdit. Follow these steps:

    1. Choose a New document from the File menu in either TextEdit or Mail.
    2. Choose Make Plain Text from the Format menu.

Note: If Make Plain Text does not appear in the Format menu, then your document is already plain text. You may have plain text defined as your default format. In Mail, this is set up in the Composing pane of the preferences window. In TextEdit, you can enable the "Rich text" or "Plain text" option in the New Document Format section of the Preferences window.
Last Modified: Feb 17, 2012

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