Ok, so I lied … sorry, but I’m not going to apologize. You’re not quite ready to begin working in your WordPress site … you first need to learn a few tips and tricks for copying and pasting content that you write in something like Microsoft WORD or some of the other content writing options. There is at least one huge drawback to writing your content in this manner which is what I’m going to talk about right now.
Eeeks! Content Written in Microsoft WORD!
You can write your pages and posts directly in the WordPress Editor, but some folks like to first write them in something other than the WP editor. I don’t know why but it’s a personal preference for some and there’s nothing wrong with that — EXCEPT — when you want to copy and paste your articles, blog posts or what-have-you from your preferred editor into the WordPress system.
When you write pages or posts intended for use on your site in something like Microsoft WORD — MSWord being probably the biggest offender — you may not see what it does to your pages in the background because unless you’ve been trained in this, you may not know what to look for. When you work in Microsoft WORD it inputs absolutely TONS of nasty code behind the scenes. When you copy and paste this into your WP editor the code is dragged along with it and this can really mess up your site! If you don’t know where to look or what to look for you may not even notice it, proceed with updating or publishing your page and that would be bad.
My Rule of Thumb
NEVER EVER copy and paste content directly from a WORD doc, PDF file, email or directly from any other source file into WordPress unless it’s being copied over from a plain text editor.
Just an FYI — my rule of thumb also applies to other Content Management Systems (CMS) because MSWord and some other sources will do this to you every time! So how do you get around this downfall if you prefer to write first in MSWord or something like it? It takes a little extra time and effort on your part, but it’s not hard to do. If you can copy and paste, you shouldn’t have any trouble.
The Paste from Word Feature in WordPress
There is a feature called “Paste from WORD” in the editor. Its intended to strip out this bad coding but I’ve found it doesn’t work very well. I’ve seen the results of people using this feature and it has the potential to really wreak havoc on the site. I’m told that some people have no trouble with it at all, but if you don’t know what or where to look for the problem, you won’t know if it’s working for you. I just stay away from it myself and go with using what I know works which is outlined below.
Get Yourself a Plain Text Editor
Windows Notepad is a plain text editor but it doesn’t work nearly as well as the ones I’ll refer you to. So, if you were thinking of using Windows Notepad, I’d dump that idea in a heartbeat and grab Crimson Editor or Edit Plus. There are others, but these are the two I’m most familiar with and I know they work for this purpose. Of the two listed, my personal preference is Crimson Editor but you can make your own decision.
After downloading your choice of programs, install it on your computer. I’m not going to go into the various options either of these programs have or teach you how to use them other than what you need to know for this purpose. You don’t really need to know much about them anyway and if you want to learn more about them, you can do that on your own.
What Do I Do With the Plain Text Editor?
Copy the content from your source (MSWord for example) then paste it into your plain text editor. Both of the programs above will strip out the backend code for you. You don’t need to manually “clean” anything up, when you paste your text from MSWord into the text editor the pasting process automatically does this for you. After you have pasted it into one of these programs, you then copy it again (from the text editor) after it has been cleaned up by the plain text editor. Now all you need to do is simply paste your clean text into the page editor in WordPress. Keep in mind that not only will the text editor remove the nasty code, but it will also remove things like bold or italics from your document. If I were you, I’d not bother adding these “dress-up items” into your document until after it’s pasted into the WordPress editor because you’ll only find yourself having to put it all back.
If you have a number of paragraphs you will probably want to paste into WordPress a paragraph at a time. If you copy the entire shebang out of your text editor and paste it into your WordPress editor, you’re then going to have to figure out where your paragraphs are and re-configure them because pasting it all in at one time is going to make one single block of text out of however many paragraphs you started out with. Pasting them in one paragraph at a time and striking the ENTER key on your keyboard after each paste-in will make your paragraphs for you without the additional work.
Using Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts come in very handing for this process and can save you considerable time once you get the hang of how they work. In case you’re not familiar with them, here is a link to the most common Keyboard Shortcuts. The ones I use most often are the CTRL + A which highlights the text I want to copy, CTRL + C which copies the highlighted text to my computer’s clipboard and CTRL + V which then pastes it into my WordPress editor. I’m also very fond of CTRL + Z when I screw something up! For the most part, these are probably the only ones you’ll really need and not all of them will work in WordPress anyway because they were created as computer keyboard shortcuts (not WordPress keyboard shortcuts) which don’t necessarily work the same in the various computer programs either.
I’m happy to report that Bold CTRL + B, underline CTRL + U and talics CTRL + I do work in WordPress and save you a few seconds each time you use them instead of looking for and clicking on the buttons in the editor. Just an FYI — I would stay away from the underline option because when people see underlines on a web page, they tend to think it’s a link that’s going to take them to another page or website.
Ok, so now we really can move on to creating a page or post! Yes, you’re really going to get to do some actual work now!