3 Reasons NOT to Copy/Paste from MS Word

Jan 9, 2009 | Plain-English Explanations

Lots of people are used to using Microsoft Word, and when they want to write something, immediately they open up Word and start writing. You might be one of them. That’s all fine and dandy, as long as what you’re writing isn’t your next blog post.


  1. Word’s hidden code overrides your theme settings
  2. The code shows up in your RSS feed and looks horrible
  3. WordPress saves you time and steps

(Note: All the images below can be clicked for a larger view.)

Word’s Hidden Code Overrides Your Theme Settings

Maybe you didn’t know Word has hidden code in it. It does. When you copy and paste from Word, a WHOLE LOT more than what you’ve written is coming along for the ride.

Here’s part of a Word document:


If you were to highlight that text, copy and paste it into WordPress, here’s what you’d really be pasting:


What’s highlighted in yellow is what you THINK you’re bringing across. All the rest of that stuff in blue is coming along like a stowaway, just waiting to cause you problems. Ewww, right? Who wants stowaways?

When you paste this into WordPress, WordPress is smart enough to recognize it for what it is: directions on how to layout and display the content that’s contained within. Groovy, except that your theme already handles that, and now here comes this bossy-pants code from Word that overrides everything. Depending on how you formatted your content while it was in Word, it may or may not look entirely different than the rest of your site’s content. For those of you who are thinking, “Well, Suzanne, I do this all the time and my posts don’t look wonky…what’s the problem?”

Read on…

The Code Shows Up in Your RSS Feed and Looks Horrible

The problem is, your post becomes part of your feed…and if you’re now at the point where you’ve realized you can get more exposure for your blog by feeding your posts into your Facebook account, for example, and drive traffic back to your site that way…well…the potential exists for all hell to break loose over at Facebook.

Here’s an example of what a post fed into Facebook Notes looks like when the MS Word code is present:


Not exactly what you’re after, right? So much for automation and additional exposure.

So, can you strip out all that gobbledegook code Word wants to bring along some way? Yes, but…

WordPress Saves You Time and Steps

If you absolutely insist on writing your posts in Word, then you can avoid the whole stowaway code problem by using the Paste From Word button in your Visual editor in WordPress:


Copy your content from your Word doc, then come over and open up a new post in WordPress. If you don’t see two rows of buttons initially, click that last button (the one I’ve boxed in blue) and the second row will appear. Click the Paste From Word button (the one boxed in red) and a popup window will open. Paste your content from Word in that window and then click the button to insert your content. Now you’ve got just your content in your post, minus all the stowaway code from Word! Yay!

Except…any formatting you might have done in Word is gone now, too. Why? Because that’s what the stowaway code was doing…formatting things. So, if you had things bolded, for example, you’ll have to make them bold again using the formatting buttons available in WordPress.

So, do yourself a favor and just skip writing your posts in MS Word. Save yourself time and extra, unnecessary steps and avoid the drama of that gobbledegook code from Word…now and wherever else your content ends up!

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