Tools for copying text and other content from web pages

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

This article offers some useful tips and aids for copying material from web pages. Whether clipping text for personal use, for emailing clips, for research, documentation, or for pasting into a blog, a wiki, or into HTML source you can choose a format suitable for each as plain text or other formatted code. After pasting from the clipboard in a chosen format, you can easily modify pasted content.

This article is really about documentation of tabs, bookmarks, and page selections as plain text, HTML text, Wiki text, blog text and of particular interest to those doing research for school, or graduate papers.



Custom Toolbar Buttons Maker, tick the check boxes, hit Submit, and you have a customized version of Toolbar Buttons for your very own, some suggestions besides just plain text:

  • "Plain Text Paste", retains only text portion from clipboard

These two buttons can also be created at the same time for viewing purposes though they have nothing to do with documentation.

  • "Page Colours", allow/remove color. Modifies Tools → Options → Content → Colors → Allow pages to choose their own colors
  • "Toggle Styles" as a possible alternative to more distinctive button of Read Easily extension which also creates a button. Both will modify View → Page Style

Custom Toolbar Button - MDC, provides step-by-step how to make a custom toolbar button.

Copy and Paste

These are not particularly reliable, but would work for most things. You certainly will not pick up keyword, tags, and description associated with a bookmark or folders when pasted as documentation.

Copy webpage selection

  • Copy webpage selection for documentation
    • from Firefox, pasting to text email (or Notepad), will paste what is seen as text
    • from Firefox, pasting to RTF email, will paste the folder names (with indentation), text title with links as (hidden) links

Copy bookmark folders and bookmarks

  • Pasting copied bookmark folders and bookmarks for documentation (results may not be consistent depending on characters within bookmark properies)
    • from Firefox, pasting to text email (or Notepad), will paste the folder names (without indentation) and the url links.
    • from Firefox, pasting to WordPad, will paste the folder names (with indentation) and url links as their own links.
    • from Firefox, pasting to RTF email, will paste the titles with the links as (hidden) links.
  • Pasting copied bookmarks folder(s) to another bookmark folder in same or another profile or browser (appears to be reliable from Firefox to Firefox)
    • from Firefox, pasting to another bookmark folder will copy links with all properties intact including keyword, tags, and description, if supported in the receiving browser.


  • Extended Copy Menu (fix version), Provides the option to copy selection as plain text or html. It adds a "Copy As Html" and "Copy As Plain Text" to the context (right-click) menu. It is useful if you want to copy the text or underlying html from a web page into documents, posts or other applications.
  • Multiple Tab Handler, provides for handling of multiple tabs, as well as formatting url & title of a single tab or a selection of tabs for inclusion in email and editors as HTML, wikis, or any other format. examples Firefox 4.0 beta users will have problems with Firefox and extensions using the tabs context menus until Firefox | Bug 581646 is fixed.
  • Copy URL + , reformatting of active tab title, selection and url or of a link for inclusion in email and editors.[1]

External applications

External applications can interface with the clipboard and retain only plain text portions. The advantage is that they can be used regardless of application, regardless of browser, browser extensions, or browser profile in use.

  • (Windows) Pure Text, will convert the Windows clipboard to "Pure Text" so can be used from any application, and for Firefox profiles where no extensions or styles need be added
  • (Mac) Plain Clip, Carsten Blüm: Mac Development, is a tiny Mac OS X application which will remove formatting from text which is on the clipboard.