Writing your WordPress blog posts in Word…

Note: If you came here for the Firefox 3 bookmarks info, it’s right at the end.

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Writing your posts in Word then transferring them to WordPress is a breeze – but you must do it right.

When I joined WordPress, one thing I didn’t like was the text input pane on the Add New Post page. True, you can expand this to full page, but I find it a little clunky, not least because of the small font (yes, I do know how to make it larger, that’s not the point right now), so I quickly began typing my posts in Word, and transferring them to the New Post pane using the Paste from Word button. A system that works perfectly and has caused me no problems whatsoever.

However, there is a body of opinion, in the forums, that views this as a capital offence, claiming that using Word will corrupt your code so badly, you’ll spend half your life correcting it – and exhorting you to use Microsoft’s Live Writer instead.

As Live Writer brings along with it the egregious Microsoft .NET Framework (if it’s not already installed), which, whatever else it does, slows down my PC to glacial levels (and is a real bugger to uninstall, though it can be done), I wouldn’t have Live Writer, free or not, no matter how good it is. I’m not running a slow PC btw, it has a 2.8Ghz processor and 2 gigs of memory; even so .NET Framework manages to hog nearly all my system resources, and from what I’ve read online, I’m far from alone in having problems – just type .NET Framework problems into Google, to see for yourself.

Anyway, back to Word. The anti-Word brigade seem to base their opinions on this WordPress advisory

http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/11/09/why-not-to-use-word/

which if you pay any attention to it at all, is quite obviously predicated upon the concept of pasting directly into WordPress which, of course, you shouldn’t do, as it makes clear. And as you can see, it doesn’t display the Paste from Word button at all. Why is that, do you think? I’m hoping it’s because the advisory is old, and predates the ability to paste from Word using that facility, because the alternative… Well, you work it out.

However, the idea that Word will trash your blog is constantly trotted out whenever anyone asks “can I use Word to write my posts?”. And it’s wrong. The correct answer is, yes, of course  you can, as long as you use the Paste from Word facility provided, accessed by clicking this button screenshot141. NOTE: If you can’t see that button (i.e., you only have one row of buttons, click this button screenshot143. That’s called the Kitchen Sink button, and clicking it displays all available buttons.

Consider this. If there was the remotest danger that pasting from Word, using the appropriate applet, would damage your blog in any way whatsoever, do you seriously think that WordPress would have provided the means for you to do so? Because I certainly don’t – it would be mind-numbingly stupid.

I use Word because I prefer to format as I write, in a font I like (Times New Roman), and in a size I don’t have to squint at, 14-point – the WP default font for writing posts looks to be about 10-point (yes, I do know how to increase text size in the browser – not really the point). Going through maybe 1,000 words of text to format it isn’t my idea of a sensible pastime, either. Oh, and my Word spell-checker has a much larger vocabulary than the one used when typing directly into the New Post pane (the Firefox checker presumably, or maybe WP’s, I’m not sure).

So the bottom line is yes, you can write your posts in Word, as I’m doing right now, and copy and paste it into Word, but ONLY by using the Paste from Word function. Don’t EVER paste directly, as that will certainly screw things up.

Other word processors, like Open Office’s Write, etc, are an entirely different matter. That includes the word processor in MS Works, too, no matter how much it resembles Word, it’s not Word. I don’t know what effect using either the Word or the Plain Text button next to it would have.

A caveat: When transferring text from Word to the New Post pane using Opera, you’ll lose the formatting. I don’t know about IE, because I don’t use it, ditto for Chrome and Safari. I use Firefox 3, now I’ve sorted out the total shambles that Mozilla have made of bookmarks handling – something they seem to have no interest in fixing.

I have, however, found a work-around, which I posted here. For the bookmarks, that is, not the formatting problem.

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