Pasting text into "WYSIWYG" Content Editors

editor.gifThe WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") content editor, with Tool Bars for formatting text and other content, has become a familiar interface for pretty much everyone over the years, beginning with the first Mac and Windows word processors and continuing on to modern web editors.

One of the most common challenges with content management is PASTING of content into these editors and finding, after saving the page, that "what you see is NOT what you actually get".

Pasting content into the editor from Microsoft Word, Web Pages or other word processing software carries with it a lot of invisible code that gets processed and displayed as something different from what you had in mind. 

Sometimes it's latent formatting code from repeat edits in Word or other software. Sometimes it's related to the style programming of one site being pasted in with the text copied from that site into the one being edited. 

Either way, it's a challenge... a common one, across all platforms. 

The best way to work with the current state of WYSIWYG technology

The editor we use in our content management tools includes tool bar buttons for PASTING FROM WORD and PASTING AS PLAIN TEXT. You can see them in the tool bar above the content box. They appear as icons: A clipboard with a W and a clipboard with a T, respectively. 

Both work the same way: clicking the icon opens a small window into which you may paste the copied text, instead of of into the main text area. After you paste your copied text into the smaller window, it is "scrubbed" by the selected function. 

  1. The PASTE FROM WORD tool cleans up most Word formatting, while preserving bulleted lists, numbered lists, bold, italic and other settings not related to actual font face or margins and spacing. It's a good choice for maintaining the web site font face, size, etc. when pasting from Word. In our experience, however, it is not foolproof and the more complex the material pasted, the more chance of imperfect "scrubs". I
    It is also useful for pasting from other web pages, but is less reliable there. In some cases it is safer to use the PASTE AS PLAIN TEXT icon. 
  2. The PASTE AS PLAIN TEXT tool does just that: it strips all formatting, as if you'd pasted into Note Pad or some other simple text editor. It strips not only the font and spacing data, but also the bullets, bold and other formatting, so you'll have to format everything again after pasting.



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