Actually, it’s more than Microsoft Word that will give you grief when copying and pasting content into WordPress or other web site Content Management Systems (CMSs). Sorry. It could be your e-mail client, your web browser, or any number of apps commonly used to communicate text and images.
Have you ever copied content, pasted it into your CMS editor, and watched as it defied your web site’s established styles? Whether it’s orange, two sizes bigger, has a or is set in a font that is not your site’s font, lurking beneath that content is formatting markup that mustn’t be allowed on your site!
It’s best to compose posts directly in the CMS editing window to avoid introducing bad formatting altogether. But if you want to include a snippet of an article, a portion of an e-mail or an entire post composed in Word, there are ways to do it without carrying over code that will make your site look like a twelve-year-old has been maintaining it.
The following suggestions should help you help your content mind its manners:
- If you must paste from a Word document, use the ‘Paste from Word’ feature that is available in most CMSs. In WordPress, you might need to click the ‘Kitchen Sink’ button before you’ll see the second row of buttons where you’ll find ‘Paste from Word.’
- To ensure you’re not carrying over formatting from Word or any other sources (e.g., e-mail, Web pages), use the ‘Paste as Plain Text’ feature to clean up your copy. In WordPress, click the ‘Kitchen Sink’ button if the second row of buttons isn’t visible.
- Don’t rely on the ‘WYSIWYG’ or visual editor and assume your content is just peachy – preview the content in your browser before publishing it. Is the font exactly the same? What about its size, color and space between each line? Do any headings and subheads exactly match those you’re already using?
- Do not copy and paste images into your editor. Use the upload image feature.
- If your content looks wonky, assume there is something going on behind the scenes and check it out in the editor’s code or HTML view. You don’t necessarily need to touch anything in here, but you’re looking for anything that says “style=” or “class=” followed by one or more sets of instructions telling your content to behave in ways that may not jive with the rest of your site. If any of these have a name beginning with “Mso,” Microsoft Office formatting is present. These inline styles or formatting instructions will take precedence over the style sheet that is set up to give your site its consistent look, so keeping them out of your content is very important for a professional looking site. If you see inline styles in content that you pasted in, start over by pasting your content in as plain text.