Publishing MS Word Content in WordPress

There are 3 ways to blog post from Microsoft Word:

    1. Simple Copy and Paste from Word (Wrong: leaves stray formatting, no pics)
    2. Publish to Blog  (Good: but has it’s issues, plain text and no pictures)
    3. Paste from Word – W-Button in visual editor, drag and drop pics to media library (Better, ease of use with no HTML requirement – reason for this tutorial.)

CODE ALTERNATIVE: Paste plain text in visual editor T-Button, edit in text editor, drag and drop pics (Best, but outside the scope of this article because it requires a prerequisite course in HTML programming and isn't a valid Word option. Programmers should prefer a plain text editor.)

Both Option #2 Publish to Blog, and Option #3 Paste via the W-Button require the use of the WordPress visual editor to format and add pictures. While formatting with the text editor is most precise, it requires knowledge of Hypertext Markup Language, HTML.

For most bloggers, already familiar with a word processor, the use of the visual editor is a better choice. This tutorial explains how to compose your draft in Word, then properly Copy and Paste via the Paste from Word W-button in the WordPress visual editor.

1. Publish to Blog

The first method to post from Word is to directly Publish to Blog, though support for this feature is waning from both WordPress and MicrosoftThis is a sample Publish to Blog:Sample MS Word doc published to blog with smart graphics

In the above example, I published my draft post without pictures or text formatting. It’s better to let WordPress handle the HTML formatting or Word may offer non-compliant formatting tags (think “reveal codes” in WordPerfect).

I also needed the visual editor to drag and drop my image to anchor them in HTML and add alternative text for accessibility or the image will free-float (produce random appearance) and your images will not be web accessibility compliant (no alternative text – alt text). The final edit of both text and pictures should be done via the visual and/or text editor.Word SmartArt example

2. Copy and Paste from Word (requires visual editor)

You could choose to publish to blog (limited support and functionality) or simply prepare your blog post draft in Word and Copy and Paste to the visual editor for final edit. Copy and Paste from Word is far easier and, unlike publish to blog, will always be supported.

Many non-programmer bloggers are already proficient in composing their draft in Word and are familiar with Copy and Paste. Editing in the visual editor is most like what they are already familiar with.  If you were already familiar with HTML programming, composing in a plain text editor like Notepad++ or TextWrangler and formatting via the HTML text editor would be ideal.

But for the majority of non-programmers, we’ll demonstrate editing with the visual editor. From the WordPress administrative dashboard, select the WordPress Visual editor by clicking on its tab.

Visual vs Text Editor Tabs

  • To perform the Word to WordPress workaround we are going to need a few extra tools. Lets call them “the plumber tools”, because we find them below the Kitchen Sink.
  • To locate the additional formatting tools, click on the last icon on the top row to the right of what appears to be an X (Distraction Free Writing Mode (Alt+Shift+W).
  • If you hover your mouse directly over the button it reads: Show/Hide Kitchen sink (Alt+Shift+Z). When you hover over the Kitchen Sink, it looks like this:

Show Hide Kitchen Sink Copy

  • The Kitchen Sink adds another row of handy formatting tools for the visual editor.
  • The Kitchen Sink tools include the: Formatting tags, Underline, Align Full, Select Text Color, Paste as Plain Text, Paste from Word (which we want to use), Remove formatting, Insert custom character, Outdent, Indent, Undo, Redo, and Help.

Kitchen Sink Toolbar in Visual Editor

  • The button to the left of it that looks like an X is also a very handy button if you are used to the full-screen, distraction-free capability of a word processor.
  • To exit the distraction-free full screen, click to the left of the centered toolbar at the top of the screen that says: Exit fullscreen.Exit Fullscreen Distraction Free

Once the Kitchen Sink is enabled, you can now format your text from the Kitchen Sink.

  1. Dump some dummy (Lorem Ipsum-ish) text into any version of Word.
  2. Open the document you wish to paste from, select by highlighting Edit, Select All including graphics, tables, textboxes etc. or use the Windows Keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C or Mac Cmd+C copy selection to clipboard click on the area of the document you wish to import to
  3. and then Click the Word briefcase Paste from Word button. Looks like this:W Paste from MS Word Button in the Kitchen Sink

Click on the Paste from Word (W briefcase) button.

  • You will now be able to paste your text clipboard from MS Word into the WordPress visual editor.
  • The W briefcase button is “Paste from Word”, while the T briefcase button is “Paste plain text”.
  • No matter which button you select (Paste from Word-W or Paste from Text-T) button both have the same effect of invoking a format filter.

Note:  W-Paste is not the same as a simple Copy and Paste in the visual editor window.

Do not simply select (Cntrl+C followed by a Cntrl+V in Windows) or (Cmd+C followed by Cmd+V in Mac) which is a simple Copy and Paste from clipboard. This may also paste unseen and undesired formatting codes. These formatting codes can even come from Notepad, WordPad, Google Docs, any OpenOffice or other application. Use the W-Paste option!

  • Going through the Paste from Word-W button has the advantage of stripping out All unwanted formatting codes by invoking the following filter:
  • Click Insert to complete the Paste operation and strip out any undesired Word formatting codes and objects. Be sure to add any desired pictures thru drag and drop to the media library and add alternative text for web accessibility.

Paste from Word-W Button


  1. You can achieve a more desirable result with the WordPress visual editor than you can with Publish to Blog.
  2. Copy and Paste text with the W button and finish formatting with the visual editor.
  3. Drag and Drop any images into the media library.
  4. Be sure to preview the document. If necessary, fix any issues in the text editor.

For More Publish to Blog Information see…

2 thoughts on “Publishing MS Word Content in WordPress”

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