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, 2019 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 May 23, 2019 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, 2019 at 20:51
  • @Scott See my edit :) May 23, 2019 at 20:56
  • 1
    What happens if you, in TextEdit, paste into a plain text document instead of a rich text document?
    – Wolff
    May 23, 2019 at 20:58

5 Answers 5


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


I had the same problem with it. What I did was:

  1. Copy from AI > go to Word > right click on mouse and choose special paste > then choose no format on text and that's it.
  2. On AI, choose the box text you want to copy > then right click on mouse (or FILE) > Export > choose txt

I couldn't do it on other programs or apps as whatsApp, for example.


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.

  • 1
    Should both "Include SVG" and "PDF" be checked? May 23, 2019 at 20:41
  • I usually leave both selected, yes. May 23, 2019 at 20:46
  • Yeah they were both selected when I wrote the question May 23, 2019 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 May 23, 2019 at 20:57
  • Should have been added as comment to the question not as answer.
    – Banzai
    Dec 5, 2019 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.

This is a bit of a work around but you can copy the text in AI and then paste it into your browser's address bar.. or any text field within your browser like an email. Then copy that plain text and you got it.

  • 1
    Welcome. Any pure text field will do it. But quick tip, don't paste stuff in the address bar of a browser this can leak the data to a search engine operator. You do not want to get into this habit, its only a matter of time untill you leak something that you do not want. Remember this can not be undone.
    – joojaa
    Apr 30, 2021 at 5:51

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