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Monday, January 3, 2011

MS Word for Authors: Cut & Paste

Here is a tiny tip that might improve your new year a tad. We authors have reason now and again to copy text from a web page, such as to keep a Word file of all our online reviews. One way to do this is simply to highlight the desired text and use the key commands or menu to Copy. Go to your MS Word document, e.g., "My Reviews," and use the key command or menu to Paste. Done!

But the formatting is goofed up. It doesn't look like the usual Normal style text--the font, font size, and other formatting is weird. You need to highlight the text (again) and assign Normal style to it and generally fuss with it.

As an alternative, don't use the standard Paste command. Instead, find the little Paste menu (Vista) or look under File (Windows XP). Select Paste Special. Then choose Unformatted Text. The website text lands in Word without the HTML formatting. Word has no idea what to do with it except to assign it Normal style. Which is what you wanted anyway.

Paste Special is not what you want if you need the graphics on the web page. Use Paste Special/Unformatted Text if all you want is the words.

Experiment with a web page, using both paste methods. Sometimes you will want Paste, sometimes Paste Special will work better.

I'm normal AND I'm special and I'll peck your eyes out if you don't watch it.

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