This guide to ‘copy and paste’ to WordPress pages clears up a few nuances that may leave you slightly confused as a WordPress editor.
It will help you to understand limitations to copy and paste text as a non-web designer.
The styles on a WordPress website are managed using WordPress themes and ‘stylesheets’. These include the font, spacing, links and text colour.
Using what we call stylesheets means that there is continuity across a WordPress website.
Within Appearance > Customize in WordPress, there are settings that will change colours and fonts across the whole website. Here is where you change the stylesheet.
The page editor gives the ability to change text colour too and people use the options here to make words stand out.
That can make the pages messy and disconnected from the rest of the design. It also adds unwanted code.
The ability to change text size has been scrapped since WordPress updated to the block editor. That protects the design of the page so it really is a good thing.
Try to at least keep some consistency if you use different colours on pages. Record the correct HEX code for each colour. You can use the HTML colour picker.
Copy and paste to WordPress
A problem can also arise when using copy and paste. The paste function transfers over unwanted formatting from the copied document.
Formatting, in this sense, is code that tells the viewing software how to display items. Like “color:blue; font-size:43pt;”.
The page doesn’t display as expected when format styles are copied over. It doesn’t appear to be in symmetry with the rest of the site. It might be the wrong colour, have unwanted gaps or line breaks.
Sometimes you can’t see what’s causing the problem in the page editor. That’s because it’s hidden within the HTML.
How to fix (most) formatting problems in WordPress
- Hover over the heading/paragraph block that’s causing the problem.
- Click the 3 dots to the right of the toolbar.
- Click EDIT as HTML.
The block shows the HTML code and you’ll see the unwanted formatting tags, something like this:
<p style="color:red;font-family:verdana;">Need <strong>synonyms for symmetry</strong>? <br><br> Here's a list of <strong>similar words</strong> from our <strong>thesaurus</strong> that you can use instead.</p>
You’ll need to carefully remove the HTML tags. These tags are anything between < >.
The code for a HTML line break is <br>. You’ll have to take the whole thing out to bring the text up a line.
Once you’ve removed the formatting, change the block back to “Edit visually”.
WordPress notifies you if you’ve left code in the block.
Copy text without transferring formatting
Windows users will find NotePad via the Windows button – click the Windows button then use CONTROL-F to search for NotePad.
TextEdit is the Mac alternative to NotePad. Choose ‘Plain Text’ (Format > Make Plain Text) so that no styles are copied over on pasting.
NotePad and TextEdit strip the formatting from any text that you paste, producing clean text.
Now you can copy and paste that text back to WordPress.
Copy and paste text to a WordPress page
Use the plain text short cut in WordPress to paste text, unformatted, onto the page.
All you need to do is use ctrl+shift+V or command+shift+V to paste the text into a new paragraph block.
Paste text to WordPress via a plain text editor
Paste the text into a plain text editor to strip the formatting before you copy it again.
- Copy all the text from the original text editor.
- Open NotePad or TextEdit.
- Paste the text into a new document.
- Continuing in NotePad select all of the text (ctrl+A or command+A).
- Copy it (ctrl+C or command+C).
- Go to WordPress put your cursor into a new paragraph block.
- Paste the text (ctrl+P or command+P).
The text will be free of unwanted text formatting. Hurray!
Using private visibility in WordPress
Write articles directly within WordPress to avoid bringing unwanted formatting over.
The ‘private’ option enables you to write a draft page. That way, you avoid publishing it to a live site before it’s complete.
To save as a private draft, using the WordPress block editor:
- Whilst in edit mode on the post/page draft, hit the black cogge (top right) which reveals the document/block options in a sidebar.
- Hit the ‘Document’ tab.
- Under ‘Status & visibility’ you’ll find the visibility option, probably set to ‘Public’. Hit that ‘Public’ link.
- Now choose ‘Private’.
The article will save when you hit UPDATE but will not be published onto the live website/blog.
On a post that has already published, you can follow the same steps to make it private.
The Visibility menu also allows you to password protect the post.
To schedule posts for a release date in the future or change the date on a current post click the date next to the word Publish.
Changing a date is particularly useful if you are modernising an out of date post.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other formatting problems in WordPress. I’ll try to help you to fix them.