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Preventing a user from pasting from the clipboard into a mandatory form field

There was a question of stackoverflow, that a programmer did not wont to let the new users just copy/paste the password on the registration form.

I have a way and answer them a way, and there is an online example on Join Athineon Remove it after consider the answer here.

In this registration the user is not permit to copy/paste the email information !.

Now my question is, how much freedom can I let the user have, this is good or not ? to not let the other copy/paste the second e-mail ?

If I allow the user to copy paste the e-mail, and or password, then what the point to have them 2 times at the same field. ?

The password have a point because you can not see it, and the email you can see it so you can not make double error... well from my experiences yes they send error emails.

What's your opinion about this ? Allow or not the copy paste on the double verifications fields ?

  • @benBrocka is not fair to close the older one question on the same subject.
    – Aristos
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 17:11
  • 1
    Age isn't the only factor; the source duplicate is supposed to be the best copy with the best questions/answers. Duplicates are usually found before they get the best answers, but in the cases that they aren't, sometimes they get better responses than the original questions.
    – Zelda
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 0:33

5 Answers 5


It's an anti-pattern that has unfortunately resulted from a legitimate problem: people type in the wrong email address and then after sign up, can't access their account.

The problem here is that this solution isn't very user friendly because it's going against conventional interaction (namely, that you can copy and paste from and to form fields). There's no indication on the form that this is some kind of special field where pasting is disallowed. There's no language or microcopy explaining how or why pasting is disabled. This is why it's frustrating: it doesn't work, and you don't know why. F&%#ing form's broken!

So how do we solve this problem? We have a legitimate concern that we'd still like to handle gracefully. Perhaps we can solve this some other way.

For instance, after the user signs up, we could show them a screen saying "We sent you an email. Please check your mail now and click the link in the email we sent you to complete your registration process." This is fairly standard. But in addition to this, we could add "Don't see an email? This is the email address you gave us: [email protected]. Is it incorrect? Click here to change your email address." This gives the user another opportunity to finalise the process on their terms, rather than by us enforcing weird constraints on their interaction with our form.

Of course, this suggestion costs more to implement, which is likely why we see the anti-pattern more often than something more thorough (besides the obvious observation that a programmer was responsible for form design in this case rather than a UI designer). If you have the time and the budget, however, you should consider something like this. Users will thank you for it.

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    I bet there's a pretty high correlation between users who are sophisticated enough to paste (rather than type) their email address into the "confirm email" field, and users who entered their email address correctly. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 19:15

Allow it. You should not be forcing a perceived optimal interaction flow onto a user. You should also be aiming to minimise workload, and this is just nugatory work.

It makes sense to have a double entry for a masked field; to pick up incorrect typing of the masked information, which avoids later problems (e.g. unable to access an account because the original password was mistyped).

Where would you stop? Disallowing the user from using the auto-complete functionality in a browser because you don't think that's the way the user should use your interface?

Personally, and I know I'm in an irritable minority, if I were at a registration page that didn't allow me to paste or autocomplete my email address for a second entry then I would (unless if it was for something particular compelling) immediately cease my registration. If a company doesn't respect me as a user, why should I use their product?

  • 5
    +1 The general principle here is that considerate software is deferential. It may suggest that you type your address twice, but it shouldn't bar you from taking shortcuts. (See About Face 3, p. 252.) Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 13:19

First, I agree with Splog that you should allow it, and his post puts it as well or better than anyone probably could. That said, I want to expand on it: Do not make people type in their email address twice. There is absolutely no reason for it. I would argue (and in fact, I have) that you shouldn't even make the user retype (or even mask) their password. I'm willing to budge a bit on the password, mainly because people still think that masking passwords provides some form of security, but any other field is just a complete waste of a user's time.


I find that the best protection against typing my email address incorrectly, is copy and pasting it.

I quite often swap two letters in my (very long) email address because the right hand is faster than the left, and I've actually typed it wrong twice several times, and making me annoyed by typing it twice makes me type faster and more sloppy. Disabling copy/paste is making incorrect entry more likely.

Better idea is to confirm the input after submit and highlight the important stuff like email address with large friendly letters. Even if you filled the form correctly, some accidental tabbing may insert incorrect letters in a previously correct field, so confirmation is important.


I would have single fields for username/email/password. If the user mistypes or forgets any single one of these values, you can recover automatically.

  • Lost username - type your email address and we will email you your username.
  • Lost email - just login with your username/password and reset it.
  • Lost password - type your email address and we will email you a new password.

Note: you can actually recover if the user forgets two of these items, as long as it's not both username and email.

  • It's not just about forgetting, though, it's also about typos. If I typo my email address, I can remember it as much as I want but I'm not going to be able to log in! ;)
    – Rahul
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 13:26

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