A formatting tool enables "smart" copy and paste functions. The "smart" copy and paste functions can be invoked in a context-sensitive manner, depending on the conditions under which the copy and paste functions are implemented. The present invention will automatically include in a selection a paragraph marker at the end of a selected paragraph, if every other textual character in the paragraph has been selected. The present invention will discard a paragraph mark that is included in pasted text if the pasted text is pasted into the middle of another paragraph, indicating that the user prefers the formatting of the pasted-into paragraph. The present invention also reduces inconsistencies in formatting styles that may exist between source and target documents automatically redefining a style in the target document to conform to a corresponding style in the source document. The present invention also automatically adjusts paragraph spacing, in response to text being pasted into a target document. In response to various scenarios, the present invention will determine the most likely paragraph spacing intended by the user and will apply the most probable paragraph spacing to the pasted paragraph. The present invention also automatically adjusts list, table, and spreadsheet formatting, in response to such document elements being pasted into a differently-formatted target document. Finally, the present invention provides a convenient recovery dialog that may be invoked to alter any automatically-implemented formatting decisions.

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