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How to copy and paste Word or other documents into Plone

by nguyen — published Aug 27, 2008 11:23 AM, last modified Aug 16, 2016 10:50 AM
using the default Kupu editor

The "clean text" method as described below is for Windows users.  Mac users can do the equivalent if they use TextEdit and tell it to "Make Plain Text".

Take a Leap

In many cases you can simply copy and paste the entire Word document into Kupu, and it'll come out just fine. 

Other times you may end up with extra levels of indentation or quoting, or extra tables that were used to lay out elements on the page.  You can fix these in Kupu if you're comfortable with HTML, by clicking on the Kupu "HTML" toolbar icon to view the HTML code.  Sometimes all it takes to fix the problem is to delete the extra opening and closing <table> or <blockquote> tags at the top and bottom of the document.

Not everyone is comfortable with viewing or editing HTML, nor should they have to be.  You can use the following methods instead.

Use Notepad to get Just the Text

The one foolproof way to avoid getting "weird" formatting issues when you copy and paste a Word document into a Plone page is to use Notepad as an intermediary:

  • In Word, select the entire document (Control-A), copy to clipboard (Control-C).
  • Start Notepad, paste clipboard contents into an empty document (Control-V).
  • In Notepad, select the entire document (Control-A), copy to clipboard (Control-C).
  • In a new Plone page, in the Kupu editor for the body of the page, paste clipboard contents (Control-V).
  • In Kupu, add all the formatting you need, then save the page.

It can be onerous to reproduce all the formatting if you use this plain text pasting method on a long document.

Word versus PDF

However, you may not want to paste very long documents, because the way most people read web pages is to skim them. 

If you want them to be able to read lots of detailed material, your best bet may be to introduce it briefly on a web page then link to the uploaded MS Word file. 

I usually recommend against posting Word documents because not everyone has MS Word (or even the correct version of Word) on the computer they happen to be using; also Word documents are a known vector for viruses.  Instead I recommend posting Adobe PDF versions of Word documents because PDF is a universal standard and will appear the same on all systems (in theory), whether printed or online.

If you have Dreamweaver...

Dreamweaver has a "fix Word HTML" feature that you might be able to use.  You could copy and paste your Word content into Dreamweaver, use the HTML cleanup feature, then copy from Dreamweaver into Kupu.

Copying Plain Text with Firefox

If you want to copy only the plain text of a web page (as opposed to copying the web page with all of its HTML formatting), the Firefox browser has add-ons that you can use:

In all cases, once you restart Firefox, you will be able to select parts of a web page and copy to the clipboard only the plain text of the selection.

A Handy Windows Utility: PureText 


A handy little utility called PureText adds a windows hot-key combination that removes the rich formatting from the text on your clipboard. With a couple of keystrokes, it does the equivalent of the whole Notepad dance behind the scenes and gives you nice clean text in your active window.

PureText isn’t fancy, but it works and is really quite useful.

img puretext

PureText is free to use and runs on all flavors of Windows from 95 through Vista.