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Don’t Screw Up the Code — How to Copy and Paste Text into WordPress

WordPress Tutorial #14 (for the Classic Editor)

Word and WordPress have lots going on behind the scenes. If you like to write in Word, Page, Google Docs, or another word processor, there’s a right way to copy and paste text into WordPress.

Note: This information is accurate for all versions of WordPress prior to 3.9. With 3.9, you can now copy and paste directly from Word into WordPress. It’s not perfect, but it won’t break your website — however, I do not recommend it!)

Some people like to type their articles and posts directly into WordPress. Others prefer to do their writing in their favorite word processor.

WordPress doesn’t care.

If you’re going to type directly into WordPress’ built-in editor, that’s fine. Just remember to save early and often, as with any other program.

When you type into the WordPress editor, WordPress automatically adds HTML (hypertext markup language) so a web browser knows how to display everything.

When you type in Word, or any other word processing program, that program adds a lot of behind-the-scenes code of a different sort. Problems can crop up when the HTML and the code from Word come together.

Paste from Word - the right way to paste text into WordPressWordPress used to include a paste from Word button in the visual editor. It’s no longer there. While they say it’s ok to paste from Word (or another word processor) directly into the WordPress Visual Editor, I believe it’s asking for trouble.

Here are the steps I recommend following:

#1. Switch from the Visual to the Text editor.

Log into your WordPress dashboard and select Posts / Add New. (It works the same way with Pages.)

If the Visual tab is highlighted in your editing window, switch to the Text tab.

WordPress Visual Editor - don't use this to paste text into WordPress

WordPress Text Editor - use this to paste test into WordPress

#2. Go to your original document and select the text to copy.

#3. In Windows, use CTRL C to copy (Command C on a Mac).

#4. Paste into the Text Editor.

Place your cursor inside the text editor and press CTRL V to paste (Command V on a Mac).

Click the Save Draft button on the right to save your work before proceeding.

Save your draft

#5. Edit and Style your Text.

If you’re comfortable working with HTML, you can style your text directly in the Text Editor. If not, switch back to the Visual Editor to add headings, bold or italic, and other embellishments.

Note: This tutorial was revised and updated March, 2017.