How to Copy and Paste From Word to WordPress

by Martin Malden

Another question I see quite often is people asking how to copy a post developed in Word into WordPress.

I create all my posts initially in either Word or Open Office, because with both of those packages I get spelling and grammar checking and the ability to test different layouts.

Once you’re satisfied with the layout, and the spelling and grammar checkers have given their approval, it should be a simple case of copying the completed text (fully formatted) into WordPress.

But it’s not.

And here’s why:

Word uses a bunch of code to create the styles you set up – heading 1, heading 2, bullet points, etc – and this code clashes with the HTML based code that WordPress uses to do the same thing.

The result is usually not pretty.

This leaves you with 2 options:

First option:

Copy your text from Word and paste it into Notepad, then re-copy it and paste it into WordPress

Pasting your text into Notepad has the effect of removing all the code that Word uses. The obvious disadvantage is that it also removes all the styling.

Therefore when you re-paste it into WordPress you have to do your styling all over again.

But you will be starting with a clean sheet, as if you had drafted the article from scratch in WordPress.

And that means you won’t get code clashes messing up your layout.

There’s another glitch you have to look out for with this method: sometimes when you paste your copy into Notepad single quotes (which are usually ‘smart’ quotes in Word) are pasted as angled quote marks in Notepad. They look like smart quotes but don’t have the code supporting them.

When these are re-pasted into WordPress they’re transferred as angled quote marks and these are not recognised in a number of environments – most frequently in RSS feeds.

The result is that your RSS feeds will contain nonsense characters whenever one of these angled quote marks appears. This glitch also affects dashes (the minus sign).

Therefore if you use this approach you really need to delete and re-type quotes and dashes if you want to be sure that your content will show up without nonsense characters in as many different environments as possible.

I’ve found the easiest way of doing this is to re-copy the article from Notepad and use the ‘Paste as Plain Text’ button (see below):

Clicking that button will bring up a small window and you can paste your copy from Notepad into this window.

For the most part the angled quotes will be converted to simple quotes and the dashes will also be sanitised. But you still need to run an eye over the article to check.

Once you’re happy, you can click the ‘Insert’ button and your article will be pasted into your Add New Post content window, where you can get stuck into your formatting.

This option is a pain in the butt, but it is the best way of ensuring the cleanest display of your article wherever it appears.

Second option:

The second method is to use the ‘Paste From Word’ button

This method has the advantage of retaining the styling you created in Word – here are some screenshots:

This is the original document done in Word 2007, and I’ve circled two ‘heading 2’ items and a bullet list:

Copy the document from Word and, in the Add New Post screen, click the ‘Paste From Word’ button (see the first picture).

That will open a small window into which you can paste your article directly from Word. You can immediately click the ‘Insert’ button.

Here’s how the result will look in the Add New Post content window (I’ve maximised the window here so you can see it more easily):

You’ll see that the heading 2 items have been converted to H2 items and the bullet list has been retained.

To see how it will look when it’s published, click the ‘Preview’ button. Here’s the result, again with the H2 items and the bullet list circled:

Check it over and hit the ‘Publish’ button when you’re happy.

So which approach do I use?

The first one, and here’s why:

Although the first approach is definitely more tedious, it’s the best way I know of ensuring that my content will come out cleanly in as many different environments as possible – especially where it’s picked up by RSS.

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