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by Ray Carlson

Q: When I copy content from a webpage to Word, it looks funny. How should I fix this?

A: Web pages use HTML code to tell the browser like Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer how to format the content, that is what font, size, spacing, etc. to use. If you select some of the content on a webpage and then paste it into a word processor or desktop publishing program, that code will also be pasted into the new document. The word processor usually has difficulty interpreting the code and may generate content that looks strange and is hard to edit. The challenge is to paste the content without the code.

In Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010, a button for Paste is on the left of the section at the top of the page called "Home." Under Paste, there is an arrow. Click that arrow, and one choice is Paste Special. When you select Paste Special, a box will appear which offers "Unformatted Text" as a choice. Select that option to get rid of the HTML code. In older versions of Word and other word processors, this Paste Special option showed up under Edit as a separate choice to regular Paste. Sometimes, it is listed as "Paste as Text."

If you prefer to paste by using a shortcut, tap the Crtl key and the letter "V" together to get a regular paste. To get Paste Special, tap the Alt key, the Crtl key and the letter "V" together. Other programs may use Crtl, Shift and V together. Another way to paste is to go to the spot where you want to insert the content, and tap the right button on the mouse. Select Paste from the choices. If you are copying content with HTML code embedded, a small clipboard icon will appear under that content. Click that icon, and another list of choices appears, including "Keep Text Only." Select that option.

Using menus or shortcuts or the right mouse key accomplish the same thing. Use whichever you find most comfortable.

Published: Courier 3/18/12 - Page 5C