Everyone knows how to make a Microsoft Word document look great, and for many of my clients, composing in Word comes naturally and easily. They prefer to write their blog posts or content for pages in Word, setting up bold and italic areas, headings and lists.
But moving that content over to WordPress isn’t always easy. A blind copy and paste into the editor in WordPress can result in misaligned text, strange fonts, and uneven indenting.
So, how can we make a post that was created in Word look good in WordPress?
Forget The Images
Copying content out of Word isn’t going to move over your images – it’ll just ignore them. So don’t bother to insert any images when composing in Word; get the content into WordPress first, then insert your images using the Media Library directly from the WordPress interface.
Try A Simple Paste in Visual Mode
WordPress has done a lot of work in the past few releases to clean up Word content as it is pasted into the editor. Copying from Word used to mean lots of ugly markup tags – that you couldn’t see – being brought over as well. But if you have the latest version of Word and the latest version of WordPress, you can get away with a lot in a simple copy and paste.
First, make sure you’re using the Visual mode for the editor. (Did you know that the WordPress editor box has two modes, Visual and Text (HTML)?) Check this little tab in the upper right of the editor box on your post:
Then, do a simple copy out of Word and a paste into the editor box and see what happens. You can expect WordPress to preserve the formatting of:
- Things that are marked as headings (but not things that are marked as the “title”)
- Things that are bolded or italicized
- Things that are in bulleted lists
WordPress WON’T preserve indentation with tabs or margins; custom fonts; or embedded photos.
Try the Paste As Text Option
If you don’t have any formatting you’re trying to preserve, your best bet is to just paste the content as pure text. This means nothing at all is preserved other than the words themselves – although if you do have a list in your content, it’ll create some pretty ugly pseudo-bullets.
First, copy your content from Word.
Then flip over to WordPress. You’ve got two ways to paste as text. If you’re more comfortable with the Visual editor, you can use the “Paste As Text” button at the top of the editor box.
Clicking this turns on the Paste As Text option forever, going forward, so if you don’t usually use this option be sure to turn it off after the paste.
If you can’t see this button, you need to reveal the additional features of the editor by clicking the suitcase button at the end of the row of options at the top of the editor.
Now try pasting – it’ll be text only.
Alternately, if you’re comfortable with the Text version of the editor – a no-frills editor screen that shows all the HTML markup tags that are controlling your content – you can head straight into that mode and paste away to get text-only content.
(Insider tip: using Text mode is my #1 way to resolve any weird extra carriage returns in your post, too, as you can see very fine detail about what’s where.)
Now that you’ve pasted as text only – feel free to mark it up as needed, either with the buttons on the Visual editor or using direct HTML codes on the Text editor side.
Too Late? How To Fix Things
If you’ve already pasted from Word and you’re left with a formatting mess – well, the best thing is to erase all the text, go back to the source in Word, and try the text-only paste above.
But if you’d rather try to salvage what you’ve got, definitely flip over to Text mode in the editor. You’ll be able to see all the crazy HTML codes that latched on to your Word content that are causing problems.
You might see stuff like this:
<span style="font-family: 'Calilbri';">Here is a simple paragraph.</span>
All that stuff between < and > can go. All we want is the text part – “Here is a simple paragraph.” Just erase the tags to clean it up and get it back to pure text format.
Happy writing – and blogging!