Pasting from Word


Does your website have a content management system (CMS)? If we built it, it probably does. CMS systems make life so much easier for our clients because people within the organization can make changes to the website without needing to get an IT person or an agency involved. But sometimes, you create some new content and carefully paste it into your website's CMS system --- and with no warning at all, the page suddenly looks horrible. What happened?

Quite often, the culprit is Microsoft Word. Word, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, generates some of the worst HTML code ever unleashed upon the internet. And unfortunately, if you are copying your content from Word into a CMS system, it carries all that awful HTML with it, and it can easily break the page.

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to solve this problem:

  1. The Notepad Approach -- If you are on Windows computer, simply open up Notepad. (It's under the "Accessories" menu.) Copy your content from Word and paste it into Notepad. Then, re-copy it from Notepad and paste it into your CMS system. This strips out all of Word's formatting.
  2. The online approach -- There are a few sites dedicated to solving the Word HTML problem. My favorite is www.word2cleanhtml.com. Simply paste content from Word into this website, and it will usually produce very nice HTML. Note: You will want to paste this new HTML into the source view of your CMS editor -- do not paste it directly into the normal content box.
  3. The simple approach -- The easiest way around this problem is to simply write your content in the CMS editor itself. This works well if you are only changing a little bit of content, and it doesn't require other websites or fancy copying and pasting.

I hope this helps the next time Word HTML causes problems for you. Also, Carbon8 is currently working on a plugin for a popular CMS system to help warn people about the problem. We'll post again when it comes out.

Jeff Robertson

Jeff Robertson is a digital marketer and an online development expert with experience stretching back to dial-up. He is partner and Chief Technology Officer at Carbon8, where he helps bridge the gap between the technical and marketing worlds, as well as oversees technical infrastructure.

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