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Collaborative Sites: Tips for Microsoft Word Users

January 7, 2010 by Doug Worsham

Copying and pasting text from Microsoft Word can cause problems on Collaborative Sites.

Microsoft Word produces formatting code that can be confusing for web browsers. Text copied from Microsoft Word and pasted onto a website often includes this extra code and can lead to errors and formatting issues. Different browsers handle this extra formatting code in different ways, so problems may occur in some browsers, but not others.

Here are some tips to avoid formatting problems:

  • Compose on the site - Whenever possible, use the built-in editor to compose your work. Be sure to save often by clicking the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page.
  • Use a simple text editor - If you'd like to compose your work offline, use a simple text editor like Notepad (in Windows) or TextEdit (in Mac OS).
  • Paste from Word Use Paste from Word - If you have work already composed in MS Word, click the "Paste from Word" button while adding or editing a post. Paste your content into this box. This removes problematic formatting created by MS Word.
  • Use an attachment - If your work requires complex formatting only available in a full featured text editor (e.g., pagination, complex tables, etc.) consider submitting your work as an attachment. Be sure to include a format most people will be able to open (e.g., .doc or .pdf instead of .docx). Also be sure to provide a short summary in the body field.


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