If I open an Illustrator document from a collaborator and select the text with the Type tool:

Selected text in Illustrator

...then proceed to copy the text through the Edit menu:

Copying text in Illustrator

...then try to paste this text in another app such as TextEdit:

Illustrator text pasted in TextEdit

...this results in a pasted graphic of styled text that TextEdit cannot modify.

How do I paste text from an Illustrator document into another app to be able to modify it?

Here are the current File & Clipboard Preferences:

enter image description here

Edit: This does not seem to be a font licensing issue, as the problem persists with different fonts. Illustrator CC 23.0.2

  • Do you need to keep the styling used in Illustrator or can you just paste as plain text? – AndrewH May 23 '19 at 20:41
  • Can I keep the styling and edit the text after pasting it? I think that's the way some Browsers do copy/paste from webpages into textedit – MicroMachine May 23 '19 at 20:43
  • AI isn't a web browser though :) if anything, it's always PDF. Check your Preferences. What is the Clipboard set to under File Handling & Clipboard? In 99% of instances you can't retain styling going from AI to a text editor. Text editors often do not have the backbone to support AI styling. But you should be able to copy text and paste live text. – Scott May 23 '19 at 20:51
  • @Scott See my edit :) – MicroMachine May 23 '19 at 20:56
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    What happens if you, in TextEdit, paste into a plain text document instead of a rich text document? – Wolff May 23 '19 at 20:58

Maybe the problem is not Illustrator but the pasting way in TextEdit. I tried pasting a full A4 page text form AI to InDesign and there wasn't any problem, while copying and pasting a single word from AI to TextEdit pastes a graphic.

But this changes if instead pasting → Cmd + V

choose Paste and Match StyleCmd + Alt + Shift + V

enter image description here

enter image description here

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Can't confirm this strange behaviour from my quick tests - but.. I'm guessing you should look at your preferences and be sure that Clipboard & File Handling has Copying>"Include .svg Code" set not just .pdf.

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  • 1
    Should both "Include SVG" and "PDF" be checked? – MicroMachine May 23 '19 at 20:41
  • I usually leave both selected, yes. – GerardFalla May 23 '19 at 20:46
  • Yeah they were both selected when I wrote the question – MicroMachine May 23 '19 at 20:48
  • Well this is one which has been cropping up now and then since 2014 - and I don't have a great answer for you I'm afraid. I know one old resolution was in the app being pasted into to be sure paste was without styles. Here's an old Adobe forums thread on this one: forums.adobe.com/thread/1624382 – GerardFalla May 23 '19 at 20:57
  • Should have been added as comment to the question not as answer. – Yaba Dec 5 '19 at 14:02

I had the same issue on a PC and my workaround for this issue is as follows:

  1. Save the illustrator file as PDF
  2. Open the PDF in Adobe Reader
  3. Select and copy the text from the PDF.
  4. Paste text in any program.
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