Announcing a new way to paste URLs, Link format!

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Microsoft

Recently, we wanted to dig into how users feel about copying and pasting a URL from their browser. We looked to understand what they do when they copy and paste URLs, as well as the pain points they experience.

 

What did we find?

We found that one has to regularly edit the URL they copy to make them understandable for sharing or remove seemingly extra parameters. This led us to what we call Link format, an easily readable URL that also preserves the details of the URL.

 

We also learned that nearly everyone, at one point, wants the full, plain-text URL exactly as it was copied. When one first copies a URL, it’s not always obvious that the full text is needed. Other times, it’s desired to have both a readable format and the plain-text version.

 

With both in mind, we are excited to not only introduce Link format for URLs but also options in the context menu that lets you paste both styles of URL regardless of your default paste setting!

 

How can you use it?

Starting this week, you should see Link format available on Windows devices running the Canary channel of Microsoft Edge. When you copy from the address bar and right-click to paste, you will see that Paste now has a fly-out menu and that plain-text URL pasting is now Ctrl+Shift+V.

 

Jump list options from right-click, hovering over "Paste as" to show new options for pasting, "Plain text", "Link (Default)", and "Change default".Jump list options from right-click, hovering over "Paste as" to show new options for pasting, "Plain text", "Link (Default)", and "Change default".

If you want to revert this change, you can head to edge://settings/shareCopyPaste (or navigate through the menu > Settings > Share, Copy & Paste) and select Plain text as the default for your URLs. Once you do that, Ctrl+V will be for the plain-text URL.

 

Screenshot of the settings page for edge://settings/shareCopyPasteScreenshot of the settings page for edge://settings/shareCopyPaste

What’s next?

Right now, this feature is only available on Windows devices. We are working on bringing this to Mac. Additionally, it’s important to note that this only works for URLs copied from the address bar at this time. Link format support will be available for in-page links soon.

 

There’s a few things we’re aware of, too, and are working on getting these resolved:

  • When Link format is default, pasting into a LinkedIn post is resulting only in the title appearing without a hyperlink. We’re working closely with the LinkedIn team to address this.
  • When Link format is default, pasting into a Word document using Word Online is resulting only in the title appearing without a hyperlink. We’re working closely with the Word team to address this.
  • In general, some sites or web apps may introduce their own formatting on paste. We want to know when you notice this, so please submit feedback letting us know what you’re seeing (Alt+Shift+I or menu > Help and feedback > Send feedback).

In addition to the above, we want to know if you see encounter any issues with this feature! If you have it set to Link format as the default and notice anything amiss while pasting, let us know via the browser so that the team can dig into what might be happening.

 

Thanks!

- The Microsoft Edge Team

83 Replies

Thanks, @MissyQ!

Just a head's up to everyone that we're just beginning the rollout so you may not see it in your Canary channel just yet. It will take a few days to roll out completely as we want to make sure everything is working properly as it rolls out.

Once you see the new Link format when you paste, please let us know how it works (or doesn't) for you!  We are listening :)

On behalf of the team working to simplify pasting of links, Thank You!

Jared

@MissyQ 

Thank you for sharing, this might seems like small feature but it would have great impact on productivity. I would like request to expand it for other links like email and call. For example, in a website it shows contact detail and there is a link and when you click on it, format is mailto:<email address> , so when copy and paste it , it shows like mailto:<email address> but I really only want the <email> address and not mailto: . It would be nice like it could be smart, like when I copy mailto:<email>?subject=<subject> into email like Microsoft Outlook, Outlook.com ,etc. it automatically format it like

 

To: <email>

Subject<subject>

 

So we have two ways like paste it as it has been copy or smart paste where it place it into right location. This could be application to other formats like this one. 

@JaredB81 Will there be an option to copy non-ASCII URLs as displayed in the address bar instead of URL encoded?  For example, https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%8A%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%D9%88%D9%81%D8%AA_%D8%A5%D9... vs. https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/مايكروسوفت_إيدج.  The former is unreadable while the latter is not, assuming you know the language.

Great suggestions, @Reza_Ameri-Archived! Thank you.  We'll consider this in the future. Right now we're laser focused on the quality of the URL experience, but these are great ideas and I'll add them to our list of ideas to consider for the future. 

Thanks, @rshupak.  Good question!  In our research, we actually looked at this (and other URL param parsing/culling options).  We found that most people had some concerns about the URL content being manipulated.  Though we haven't ruled it out as a possibility, it's not our initial focus. 

Your feedback is exactly the kind of thing we're looking for, to help make the case to explore that line of improvement and simplification.  If we see enough interest in this from this Insider forum, from the feedback tool within Edge, etc. we will definitely consider it.

 

Thanks again for the feedback! 

@JaredB81 

Thank you very much, I mentioned email example but it could be more general and support other formats like mailto too.

Thank you @MissyQ and team. This will be a huge productivity increase for me, as I regularly send out documents, presentations, e-mails, etc. with links attached. I always have to ask my self if I copied all of the text in the address bar, check/double-check to make sure the link works correctly, etc. Thank you!

@MissyQ 

 

I'm definitely looking forward to a Copy & Paste that strips all the UTM and other parameters from the first '?' character in the URL and onwards!

This looks like a great feature, as I'm reading I'm thinking how useful this could be if it was expanded to other areas of Windows, for example Office apps, are you planning to work with other Microsoft teams to introduce this functionality in other apps.  Specifically I'm thinking that the this would really benefit me in the "OneNote for Windows 10" app.

 

Thanks,

-Aaron

@MissyQ I appreciate what this feature is trying to do, but having it run as the default for <Ctrl>-C just drove me insane trying to figure out what happened until I found this page. With 30 years of muscle memory for just plain copying-and-pasting, you're asking me (and a lot of other people) to remember that <Ctrl>-C works differently in Edge than in any other program in Windows (what gets copied is not what I just selected), and then you're also asking me to remember that <Ctrl>-V doesn't do what I'm expecting it to anymore in all of the other programs, and that I need to remember to use <Ctrl>-<Shift>-V.

On Mac and Windows, <Ctrl/Cmd>-Z|X|C|V|Y are well-known keystrokes that have meant the same thing for a really long time... I'd strongly suggest that you think long and hard before messing with that fundamental, baked-into-the-OS key combination. I've turned the new feature off on all of my computers for exactly this reason, but I'd use it if it were, for instance, <Ctrl>-<Shift>-C to get Link Format, and then I'd know that <Ctrl>-V would just do the thing that I intend, because I just copied it in the format I wanted.

@Scott Arbeit thank you very much for the feedback, Scott.

 

Did you try to find a setting to change the default paste behavior prior to finding this article?  If so, were you able to find it or did you have some difficulty finding it?

 

Thanks again,

Jared 

@Scott Arbeit thank you for stating the issue so clearly. They clearly missed checking common sense before they decided to roll this out. 

@JaredB81 I didn't search for a setting before reading this page. After the second time it happened, and I had to paste-and-copy-again from Notepad to get the bare URL, I remembered that I had just gotten the Edge Dev update and figured I'd check the release announcements. Not sure most people would understand what happened...

@Scott Arbeit thanks for the added info!  I appreciate it.

@Scott Arbeit Sadly, it never did what you describe of copying what you select. Try a URL with non-ASCII characters like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Białystok.  What used to get put on the clipboard was the text https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5%82ystok.  Now you get this plus the following HTML as well as two new link formats.

 

   <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5%82ystok">Białystok - Wikipedia</a>

 

What bothers me more is that Win+V is deceptive.  I see the following yet this isn't what is pasted.  There is no combination of Win+V and Paste Special.  Even Ctrl+Shift+V is Edge specific.

 

 

2020-09-15.png

 

Thank you, @rshupak.

 

I'm not able to reproduce the behavior you describe on that URL (and I have tested other non-ASCII cases as well).

 

A few questions for you to better understand what you are experiencing: 

  1. Which channel and build of Edge are you using?  You can find both the build and channel in edge://version 
  2. Where exactly (in which website, web app or Windows app) are you attempting to paste the URL?  
  3. What is your default format setting in edge://settings/shareCopyPaste ?
  4. How are you attempting to perform the paste (ctrl+v, ctrl+shift+v or the right-click context menu)?

 

For example, when I use the "plain text" paste format here, I get: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5%82ystok. as you described I should.

 

Thanks very much,

Jared

@JaredB81 I tried this on Canary 87.0.641.0.  I just checked dev 87.0.637.0 and it is the same.

 

Copy the URL from the address bar.  If you find the IRI copied to the clipboard instead of the URL encoded form, I would be very surprised.  Please confirm that you see the encoded URL that Anaheim has always copied.

 

I am a bit surprised that the UTF-8 encoded CF_HTML content writes the encoded URL to the A element href property.  This should be able to handle an IRI but maybe there are plenty of broken apps.  All the ones I use support IRIs so it bothers me to see the unreadable encoded URLs as nothing I have seen except the browser address bar reverses the process to display the IRI.

 

For the Text, Unicode Text, and OEM Text content that Edge places on the clipboard, I have tools to fetch the clipboard contents directly but these three formats can be seen by pasting into Notepad.

 

The CF_HTML is also retrieved by a tool.  Here is what I see.  Note that this site will want to corrupt the HTML so I will paste a screenshot.

 

Screenshot 2020-09-15 231259.png

 

On a related note, I cannot paste an image into this site from Edge canary.  This used to work.  I don't know if it is a bug introduced into the site, Edge, or both.

 

I don't have a tool to retrieve the two new link specific formats.  The Office apps don't support those, at least not yet, so default Paste and Paste Special by choice use the CF_HTML which behaves exactly as expected and matches the HTML from the clipboard.

 

Pasting into this site with Ctrl+Shift+V does match the Unicode Text content.  Ctrl+V behavior matches the CF_HTML content but could be one of the new link formats.  I didn't look into it.

 

Not a single one if these variants will paste the IRI.  I might even be OK with a link format that uses the encoded URL with the link target and the IRI with the link text.  I can't say I never want the page title but I personally rarely want the text that the target itself uses as its title.

 

I mentioned the issue with IRIs only point out that Anaheim previously would not copy what the user sees.  My major gripe is that I need any app that understands CF_HTML of presumably the new link clipboard types to support Paste Special if they will prioritize HTML over plain text, which any such app would presumably do.  And when they do, such as the Office apps, is requires much more effort than just Ctrl+V which I believe is the point of the post to which I replied.  My more serious gripe is that I use Win+V a great deal, more often than not with URLs, and there is no mechanism for Win+V and Paste Special.  Maybe discuss this with the Windows team that just combined Win+V and Win+. to fill this hole.

 

I also want to mention, though you likely knew this, is that Copy Link in the context menu of right clicking on an HTML anchor element doesn't work as I would expect which would be to copy the link using the inner text as the title.  Obviously this is complicated by the ability to have more than just text but it seems weird.

 

I also suggest updating Improved copy and paste of URLs in Microsoft Edge to not suggest that Ctrl+Shift+V is a standard to be used in arbitrary apps.

 

Screenshot 2020-09-15 233532.png

And I purposely used Ctrl+V to paste the link to the support page above to give an example where I think it is less clear than if the URL itself were used.

 

Rich

@JaredB81 

 

 And to make my point with copying an anchor.  I right clicked on the support link in my reply after it was posted.  I will now use Ctrl+V to copy it here

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4575292/improved-copy-and-paste-of-urls-in-microsoft-edge

 

I would expect that if you support copying links with titles that you could re-copy links with titles and see the same result.  In other words, if I send you a link, you should be able to reuse it i the same format.  This works in Office.  Specifically, I pasted the same link into an email that I sent to myself.  When I received it, I right clicked and picked Copy Hyperlink.  I then started a new email and pasted into that.  No Paste Special.  Just Ctrl+V.  The link and title were preserved.  I don't know if this is via the CF_HTML format it puts on the clipboard of the "Hyperlink" format that Office uses.  Regardless of how it is done, I expect the same from Anaheim.  Interop with Office on Windows should be considered so you don't invent a new wheel when Office has one. 

 

Rich

@MissyQ No, just no !

Pourquoi vous faites ça ?
Quand je partage un lien, je veux avoir l'image preview, le titre et la description pas juste du texte.

A quoi servent les twitter card, ... avec votre trucs ? C'est incompréhensible pour tout le monde.
Quand je partage un lien sur Slack, mes interlocuteurs ne savent pas où cliquer pour aller voir le lien que je partage. Avec une image, un titre et une description, c'était bien mieux.

J'espère vraiment que cette nouvelle façon de copier/coller des liens sera enlevé ou au moins qu'elle ne sera pas utilisé par défaut. Ctrl+V = Plain Text   & Ctrl+Shift+V = votre f*** fonction.



Without seem better !


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