Saturday, October 17, 2009

Copy-pasting text from web pages without messing up formatting

Perhaps like me you often copy-paste text from web pages into your Word documents. For example, I am currently involved in a translation project that includes a lot of Bible verses. I am obviously not going to type these in from scratch every time, rather, I will copy-paste them from Bible Gateway of course.

Only problem is, the verses on Bible Gateway are formatted in a different family and size of font from my Word document, so when I paste them in to my doc, it does so in the source font and I then have to change the font, size etc. which is a pain. Also, there is a danger when copying from a web page that you will also copy across HTML tags that won't be visible, but could play havoc with your documents later.

So you need to use Paste Special instead of just CTRL-V (you DO use keyboard shortcuts to copy-paste I hope! CTRL-C to copy, CTRL-V to paste!). Paste Special is up on the Edit menu in "normal" versions of Word. If you are using 2007 onwards, sorry, can't help you, but I am sure it's there somewhere in the famous "ribbon"!

Copy your text from your webpage, then go into your Word document and select Paste Special. You will see a dialogue come up and, without worrying too much about all the options, just select Unformatted text and OK (or just double click it). Hey presto, the text is pasted in the same font as the text you were working on at that moment. By the way, this tip applies to any source of formatted text, not just web pages.

The only problem with this is that it is more cumbersome than just pressing CTRL-V, and there is no keyboard shortcut for "Paste unformatted" - you have to navigate up to the appropriate menu with the mouse, or learn the key sequence as I explained here. However, if you feel you are up to it, Microsoft's site has an article explaining how to write a macro to do this.

Happy pasting!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Stop the annoying horizontal line in Word

One of the most-read tips on this blog is still "Get rid of that annoying horizontal line in Word", which means that problem is still bugging people out there.

It's a "feature" of Microsoft Word, whereby annoying horizontal lines appear in your document and you can't get rid of them. The post above describes how to remove those lines, but there is also a way of stopping (some of) them from appearing.

AutoCorrect creating The Line
Sometimes they are created by Word's often useful, sometimes infuriating AutoCorrect feature. If you type a line of 3 or more equals signs, underscores, minus signs, and probably a number of other chracters, Word automatically converts this to a line running across the screen, which isn't actually a line but a border, which is why we have trouble getting rid of it. You can just about see why someone might want to use this shortcut, but it seems to have caused more confusion among Word users than anything, all things considered.

The way to stop this is simple - go to Tools -> AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Uncheck the option Apply as you type -> Border lines and never see that feature again! (until you reinstall Office at a later date and forget what you changed!)

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