How to Prevent Odd Text Formatting in Your Blog

Dear Rich,

I’ve been blogging for a little while and I’m stumped. As I look at the home page of my TypePad blog, each post seems to have it’s own formatting, and the formatting even varies within a post. How can I stop this from happening?

–Confounded in Camden

Dear Confounded,

I’m guessing that you use a word processor like Microsoft Word to craft your post, then copy and paste your post into the Typepad new post fields.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a good match. Word carries so much meta-information that dictates font, spacing, kerning, leading, color and more, and unfortunately, the TypePad fields are so "smart", they hold onto that meta-information. (The same is true with WordPress and most other blogging platforms.)

If you want to copy and paste your Word documents into your blog, here’s the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Write your post in Word.
  2. Select all and copy all.
  3. Paste into Notepad (on Windows) or TextWrangler on the Mac (free TextWrangler download here.)
  4. Select all AGAIN and copy all AGAIN.
  5. Paste into blog.
  6. Add back any formatting you may have lost, such as bold, italics, bulleted lists, etc.

This process will strip out all of the meta-information, laundering your post and giving it the consistency that you so dearly want.

This is also a good idea because if you ever change the design of your blog, you can easily update the look and feel of all your posts…UNLESS there’s meta-information in your post that is overriding the style sheets your designer is using.

Of course, there’s a simpler method to keep your posts clean that I use:

  1. Type directly into TypePad or WordPress.

Rich Brooks
Meta-Free Since 2004

4 Responses to “How to Prevent Odd Text Formatting in Your Blog”

  1. Tim

    I've found that sometimes when copying text into TextWrangler for this vary same purpose that it doesn't quite get rid of all of the nasties. After 'Select All' in TextWrangler I go to the 'Text' menu and select 'Convert to ASCII' which will get rid of the rest of the bad stuff like curly quotes, etc.

  2. Tim

    I've found that sometimes when copying text into TextWrangler for this vary same purpose that it doesn't quite get rid of all of the nasties. After 'Select All' in TextWrangler I go to the 'Text' menu and select 'Convert to ASCII' which will get rid of the rest of the bad stuff like curly quotes, etc.