You’ve just distilled your month’s triumph into an insightful, witty article, which has to be shared online. Logging into your blog, you click the “create new post” button, then return to the article in MS Word.
Your next step decides whether or not you commit a cardinal sin of netiquette.
a) copy the article in Word, then paste it into your blog?
b) copy the article in Word, then open up a text editor (eg. Notepad)?
If you chose “b”, you are an enlightened individual who can stop reading here.
When text is copied in MS Word and similar word processors, the code that formats the text is also copied. For moving between Office applications, this isn’t an issue: but it swiftly becomes one for online applications.
When, then, you paste text from MS Word into your blog, you are pasting all of this code as well, which can cause:
- font size irregularities
- post layout issues
- colour inconsistencies
- cross-browser differences
In some cases, the published blog can look dramatically different than expected, often causing the poster to suspect a technical glitch with the blog itself.
Where does notepad come in?
Text editors are designed for just that: managing plain text, without concern for font styles, widths or formatting. When a Word document is pasted into a text editor, any code beyond line breaks is removed, leaving a “clean” document ready for re-copying and pasting into your blog.
Of course, this process removes all heading sizes, colours etc. from the text. The lesson here is vital: online formatting is vastly different from word processor formatting, and documents will need to be re-styled for online use.
It’s not all bad news, however, as your blog has been optimised for online display. Font sizes and styles are all functions of your blog design, and re-styling your content in the blog’s text editor will ensure a consistent, readable presentation of your post for all viewers.
Other options also exist: entering blog posts directly into the blog’s text editor is a viable option, if you have a reliable internet connection – and most blog engines now provide an auto-save feature anyway. Entering a blog post directly into Notepad, then copying and pasting to the blog for formatting is another approach. Some blog engines have a “remove Word formatting” or “paste from MS Word” option, although these vary in effect depending on your version of Office. Whatever method you use, the need is clear: leave Office code in Office, and help make the web a tidier place.