Set Plain Text as the Default in TextEdit on Your Mac

How to Set Plain Text the Default Text Mode in TextEdit on Your Mac

TextEdit is a tiny app that lets you create various kinds of text documents on your Mac. From documents with fancy formatting to simple small letters, you can create everything with Apple’s own text editing app for Mac. One of the issues most users face while using the app, though, is switching between the rich text format and the plain text format. By default, the app comes with rich formatting enabled, and you are required to switch to the plain text mode each time you create a document that does not require any formatting.

If the majority of your TextEdit work requires you to create documents without formatting, you should just set plain text as the default text mode. It is quite easy to do.

Set Plain Text as the Default in TextEdit

You are not going to use a third-party app to get the task done. All you need is access to the TextEdit app.

1. Click on Launchpad in your dock, search for and click on TextEdit, and it will launch for you.


2. When the app launches, click on “TextEdit” followed by “Preferences…” It will take you to the Preferences panel where you can change the settings for the app.


3. When the Preferences panel opens, make sure you are in the “New Document” tab. Under the “Format” section you should see a couple of text mode options that you can apply to the app. Click on the option that says “Plain text.”


4. Plain text is now the default text mode. Create a new document by selecting “File” followed by “New,” and you will see that there are no formatting tools like what used to appear when you created a new document in the app.


If you wish to enable the plain text mode only for a single document, you can do so using the following steps.

Enabling the Plain Text Mode for a Single Document

1. Right click on the document, and select “Open With” followed by “TextEdit.” It will launch the document in the TextEdit app instead of any other document processing app.


2. When the document launches, click on “Format” followed by “Make Plain Text.” It should enable the plain text mode for the current document.


3. You will be asked if you really want to switch to plain text mode and lose all the formatting. Click on “OK” to confirm the action and you will see your document in the plain text mode without any formatting.



Many times a user only wishes to create a plain text document without any formatting, but TextEdit comes with the rich text mode by default. The guide above should help you switch to the plain text mode so you can create simple and unformatted documents on your machine.

Mahesh Makvana
Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who's written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He's been into the field for last eight years and hasn't spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.

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