Tips for Using Microsoft Word with WordPress

Many people use Microsoft Word as their primary tool to create content.

Here are tips to keep in mind when using Microsoft Word and WordPress together.

  • Less formatting in Word = better result in WordPress

Problems with Positioning:

  • Text on the Web is designed to resize and reflow.
  • You cannot precisely align text and photos on the Web, period.  Trying to force things to precisely align on a web page will result in frustration, a great deal of wasted time and bad results.  Tabs don’t even exist on the Web.  Indents may not work properly or predictably.
  • Instead of giving yourself a massive headache trying to precisely align things, consider changing your plan of attack.  Use Word to compose the document, and then save it out as a PDF to preserve the alignment and fonts.  You can then add the PDF to the Page or Post with the Add Media button, which uploads the file to WordPress and displays a link to access the file.

Problems with Mixed Formatting:  WordPress may get confused by a lot of mixed formatting.  For example, research publication pages can give WordPress a bad headache, resulting in proper formatting in some places, and wrong formatting in others.

Problems with Lists:

  • Be wary of trying to use the numbered list for outlines.  If you indent them too many levels, the list may go haywire.
  • Bulleted lists may also go haywire if you try to indent them too many levels.

Problems with Fonts:

  • Try to use no more than two fonts per page.
  • Be aware that Word includes many fonts that may not be available on the Web.  The theme on your Website may override the fonts you choose.  This will not show in the Editor, but will show after you update the page on the final version.  Always proof your pages on the front end (the side the visitors see).

Problems with Tables: Tables may behave unpredictably; your website theme applies formatting to tables that may not appear when you work on the page in the Editor.  Column widths in particular may be problematic, along with trying to align an image inside a table cell.

Problems with Photos:  Word allows you to insert and save photos inside the document; WordPress does not.  WordPress requires that each image be saved separately and inserted into the page or post via the Add Media button.  To save the image out of Word, right-click the image and choose Save as Picture, then in the File Save box, choose *.png or *.jpg.  Remember – filenames should never have spaces in them – use dashes instead or initial caps.

Problems with Drawing Objects:  If you used a drawing object like an arrow or callout box in Word to highlight text, it won’t paste and save properly in WordPress.  It’s possible to make an image out of it by taking a screen grab and saving it as an image, and then inserting the image into the Page or Post via the Add Media button.  Contact CALS Web Services for more information.

Problems with Footnotes:  If your document has footnotes, they may need to be redone manually.

Problems with Headers and Footers:  WordPress does not have headers and footers, and does not really have page numbers.

Problems with Styles:  Chances are strong that custom-created styles will not come across in copy and past from Word and will need to be redone.  They may still get overwritten by your site’s theme, which determines things like fonts, font colors and sizes, line spacing, and list and table formatting.

How to Fix Garbled Text/Formatting

If you copy and paste text from Word and the formatting gets garbled, try using the eraser icon on the Editing toolbar to strip out the formatting, then reapply the formatting inside WordPress.

Still Stuck?

If you get totally stuck, rather than try and untangle the gnarled string of Christmas lights by yourself, contact CALS Web Services for help.  We can go “under the hood” of your website (into the HTML) and used advanced techniques untangle the formatting.