How to Copy and Paste From Word to WordPress

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.

What do you think?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Karin H. Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:34

    Martin, you know what I’m going to suggest 😉
    Create your content in ScreenSteps Desktop and export it to your blog (or to a PDF document or to a Word document or to a HTML page).
    No more worries about formatting mishaps and it even has a spell check 😉

    Best thing about it is that you can re-use your content in multiple ways, combine articles in a “manual” etc.

    But then I am a ScreenSteps fan, a big fan.

    Karin H
    .-= Karin H.´s last blog ..The Ultimate Webmarketing Strategy: get your hands on one of the last copies now =-.

    • WealthyDragon Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:41


      I didn’t even need to read your comment to know what you were going to suggest..!! 😀

      But the thing is I actually prefer the control of knowing exactly how my posts are going to appear in any environment.

      Although I haven’t tried Screensteps, the remote (desktop) writers that I have tried result in nonsense characters at some point in the process – always through RSS and often through my eLertGadget RSS feed.

      The manual process eliminates them – which is why I use that approach.



  • Karin H. Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:50

    Understand your ‘worries’ but… SSD lets you export your new post as a draft too, so you can check, edit or even add before the post goes live.

    Have a look at my latest post you commented on over at the Kiss blog – that was written with the Desktop.

    It is really that good a program (IMHO, and I don’t own any shares in the company ;-))

    Karin H
    .-= Karin H.´s last blog ..Facilitating "spur of the moment" decisions =-.

  • Maz Sep 29, 2009 @ 8:26

    Thanks for sharing that information. I didn’t realise wordpress had the paste from word option. I used to type straight into wordpress.

    Now I use Google Docs. I think its great because it has word count and spell checker and you can put your links in and they will still work when you paste your document into wordpress. You can also download your files in word, text, pdf and html, plus more. Has loads of other great features too.
    .-= Maz´s last blog ..Wealthy Affiliate Has Turned Platinum – Join For Just One Dollar =-.

    • WealthyDragon Sep 29, 2009 @ 20:04

      Yes – Google Docs is great, particularly where you’re sharing documents with people in other countries and timezones.



  • marvin Sep 29, 2009 @ 8:28

    Wow, been using for almost 2 years now and I never thought of that. That’s simple cause I use notepad to write articles.

    Thanks for the tip.
    .-= marvin´s last blog ..Assistance for the Victims of Typhoon Ondoy (International Name: Ketsana) =-.

    • WealthyDragon Sep 29, 2009 @ 20:03

      You’re welcome – and you’re the first person I’ve met who uses Notepad to write articles..! How do you deal with the spelling and grammar checking?


      • marvin Sep 30, 2009 @ 0:29

        That’s the trouble with notepad. You have to proofread (or ask someone) your article to make sure everything’s right. Unfortunately, I am not doing that. But since I am planning to re-launch my blog, I’ll have someone do the proofreading.
        .-= marvin´s last blog ..Assistance for the Victims of Typhoon Ondoy (International Name: Ketsana) =-.