How to Import a Microsoft Word Document into WordPress

Some plugins allow more control over post and page formatting.

The other day I had a question from one of my readers about using Microsoft Word for blogging. Seems she had written and formatted her post in word. All the styles were nicely laid out, highlighting of important sections was in place, the pictures added right where they should appear.

But now what? How to get that beautifully formatted document into her blog?

If you’ve ever tried to copy and paste something from Word directly into an online document, then you know what a mess Word can make of it. Here’s why: Word adds all kinds of Microsoft-specific formatting tags that just don’t translate to HTML, leaving you with unformatted text (at best) and truly unreadable garbage at worst.

Look for the W

Getting your post out of Word and into WordPress is a two-step process – and you’ll likely still have to do a bit of clean up to make it look right.

To start, remove all the images from your Word document. They won’t transfer properly. Just save them separately so you can add them back after you’ve copied and pasted the text.

Next, highlight all the text in your document (use ctrl+A on a PC or command+A on a Mac) and copy it (ctrl+C or command+C).

Click the "W" to import your text from Microsoft Word.

Click the “W” to import your text from Microsoft Word.

Open a new post in WordPress, and from the visual editor tab look for the button with the “W” on it. If you don’t see it, click the “kitchen sink” icon in the top row to reveal all the formatting buttons.

A pop-up form will open, where you can paste (ctrl+V or command+V) the text you just copied. After pasting your content, click “Insert” to load the text into your blog post.

Clean Up and Add Photos

The newest versions of WordPress are pretty good at stripping out all the odd formatting tags Word likes to add, but you will still want to click over to the “text” or “HTML” tab in your post editor just to check for any odd tags.

You can expect to see things like <h2> or <ul>, but you shouldn’t see anything that says <span style=”font: Arial;”> or <div>. If you do see these odd tags, try deleting your post and adding it again.

Finally, you’ll want to add your photos back into the post using the built-in media uploader. You can format and position them right in your post editing screen.

When Weird Things Happen

Be aware that the formatting in your Word document may not be perfectly preserved. For example, if you’ve defined heading style 2 in Word to be Cambria 16pt in red, it’s not going to appear that way on your blog. It will instead appear the way you’ve defined heading style 2 – or <h2> in css-speak – in your stylesheet.

If you want more control over how the text on individual blog posts is formatted, you can install either the Ultimate Tiny MCE plugin, or Tiny MCE Advanced. Both will add the option to control fonts, colors, and text size from within the WordPress post editor, essentially overriding what your stylesheet says.

Some plugins allow more control over post and page formatting.

Some plugins allow more control over post and page formatting.

A Better Option

Perhaps a better idea – and one that will save you a fair amount of time – is just to write your post in a plain text editor, then copy and paste that into WordPress before beautifying it with images and other formatting.

You could also simply write your posts in the WordPress post editor itself. Many bloggers do this to save themselves the trouble of copying and pasting from another program. If you’re concerned about losing changes during an Internet hiccup, remember that WordPress does create an autosave every few minutes, so most of your work will be recoverable in the event of a disaster.

There are also several desktop applications that allow you to write and format posts and then upload them to your site without ever logging into the dashboard. While these do offer some convenience, they can also be a security concern, so I don’t personally recommend them.






  1. says

    This is a great but an old way of doing things. We have plugins like “Document Importer by Plugmatter” that allows you to simply import the entire document along with its images and entire formatting in a few seconds.

    You can try that out; it will save a lot of your time.

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