In Microsoft Word, have you created an article, blog entry, or page content for your website which you’ve attempted to copy and paste into WordPress and have problems with formatting the text? Does the text you just copied from your Microsoft Word document appear different when you try to add it to WordPress?
This problem occurs because of invisible “Microsoft formatting tags”. Microsoft formatting tags are a proprietary content formatting method Microsoft developed for many of its most popular software. For example, when you bold some text in your document, Microsoft adds invisible code to that text to tell Word to make it bold. It adds similar code to your document every time you make a formatting change to your content including text, images, and tables.
When you copy and paste your Microsoft Word document content over to WordPress, you are also unwittingly bringing all the hidden Microsoft formatting code with you. This can be good or bad depending on how well behaved Microsoft Word has decided to be with you. If Microsoft Word properly added its formatting code to your document as you were writing it, then when you copy and paste it over to WordPress, you should see a accurately formatted post or page when you publish it to your site. The less formatting you added to your document in Word, the greater chance you’ll have of it being formatted correctly in WordPress when you publish it.
However, as you were writing your Microsoft Word document, and along the way while adding formatting and changing formatting, in the background and invisible to you, Word was continually updating and modifying your document’s formatting code. As with HTML or any other coding language, there are usually many ways to skin a cat; that is there are a number of different ways to organize the code to produce the same output. This also holds true for Microsoft formatting with the added disadvantage of having the program itself write this code on the fly based on its best interpretation of how you are trying to format your document. If you’ve ever created a numbered list in Word where it automatically added numbering and indenting into your document for you, you’ve experienced this. The WordPress framework has the powerful feature of being able to read Microsoft’s proprietary formatting code, but because of all the enormous number of possibilities of how the code can be organized, it doesn’t always interpret it correctly. Fortunately, WordPress also has a built in, simple to use feature you can apply to circumvent this problem when it occurs.
The Solution: Removing Microsoft Formatting from WordPress Posts and Pages
Removing the Microsoft formatting from your document is an easy process. After you’ve logged into the Admin area of your WordPress site and you are ready to add a post or page, take a look at the formatting toolbar above the area where you normally write content to your site. To show the toolbar, make sure the visual tab is selected. At the right end of the tool bar you should notice a square icon with three horizontal rows of small dots. This icon in WordPress is called the “kitchen sink” and will be the last icon in the top row. Clicking on this icon will cause a new row of icons to appear underneath the main formatting toolbar. Toward the center of this new toolbar you’ll see a small icon with a yellow clipboard and a letter “T” superimposed on top. Clicking on this icon will bring up a dialog box that prompts you to “Paste as Plain Text”. Simply paste your content from Microsoft Word into this box and it will remove all Microsoft formatting.