WordPress is a terrific platform for creating web content. What should you do, though, if you prefer to do your actual writing elsewhere? If you like doing your writing in MS Word, Google Docs, or Evernote, how do you get that content into WordPress?

It’s actually pretty simple. Sort of.

Your goal is to transfer the content you’ve created elsewhere into WordPress without losing all your formatting. You want your bolded text to stay bolded, your paragraphs to remain, and your lists to display properly as lists.

The difficulty is, you don’t want all sorts of extra code that will cause browsers to display your exquisitely written content badly. (Or worse, to give WordPress indigestion!)

Let’s look at several options. Before we get started, though, take a minute to look over your WordPress Add New Post interface.

WordPress Add Post Screen

Here’s what the Add New Post (“add new page” is virtually identical) screen looks like.


Note the two tabs, Visual and Text..


If you see only one row of icons, as above, click the Toolbar Toggle (also known as the kitchen sink button) to show the second row.


Here’s what your second row of tools looks like: Notice the icon that looks like a clipboard with the letter T on it.


Let’s look at some options.

Method #1: Copy and Paste into the Visual Editor

Here’s some content I copied from an Evernote note, and pasted directly into the Visual Editor. When I save it and view it on the front end, it looks good.


Once it’s there, I can edit as I would any other content, using either the Visual or the Text editor.

Copying and pasting works the same way with almost any source — Microsoft Word, a Google document, or other note-taking app.

However, you should be aware that this method is not foolproof. WordPress relies on HTML, and sometimes the HTML formatting created by Word and other sources is not the best.

Here are a few strategies for getting cleaner code into WordPress.

If you’re planning to copy and paste from Word, it’s a good idea to save it as a Rich Text Format (rtf) document first, rather than a Word doc or docx document. That will eliminate quite a lot of extraneous code.

Another way to get cleaner code from Word into WordPress is to use an online tool like this one. Paste your document into the space provided, select all the checkboxes, and click the Convert to clean HTML button. If you’ve added any fancy fonts or colors to your document, it will strip them out, but you can add them back from inside WordPress.

If you use this method, select the Text Editor, then paste in the content. (If you try pasting this output into the Visual Editor, you’ll have a real mess.)

It’s also common that you’ll end up with font styles and sizes that are different from what you’d see if you typed your content directly into WordPress. If you’re comfortable with that, you can leave it alone. If you’d rather have your site showing consistent typography — and I know I do! — you may want to learn some basic HTML so you can fix it.

Method #2. Use IFTTT

IFTTT stands for, “If This Then That.” It’s a wonderful tool for sharing content from / to many different platforms.

IFTTT uses two types of “recipes” to perform actions.

  • Do recipes, as the name implies, just do things. They’re available to use on iOS and Android devices. Implement them by tapping the link on your device.
  • If recipes are based on a condition — “if this, then that.”

We’re concerned with the If recipes.

If your site handles a lot of visual content and you use Instagram, you can use an IFTTT recipe called Instagram to WordPress to post directly from Instagram to your blog.

Or add a specific tag to your Evernote note to post directly from Evernote to WordPress using this recipe.

Don’t want to add the tag? Create a special Evernote notebook, and publish everything from that notebook to WordPress.

IFTTT includes recipes to post from YouTube, SoundCloud, and many others, or you can create your own recipes.

Before you can connect any of your other platforms to WordPress through IFTTT, you first connect to the WordPress Channel. When you first attempt to connect to the WordPress channel, you’ll see this screen.


You may have to play around with the Blog URL field. Some users report they needed to add “www.” at the beginning, while others did not. If WordPress is not installed in your site’s root directory, make sure you use the actual path —, for example.

For security, create a WordPress user specifically for connecting with IFTTT, with a password that’s different from your administrator password. Don’t give that user full admin privileges — Author or Contributor will work fine.

Once your WordPress site is connected to IFTTT, then you can start adding recipes.

For each platform, you’ll need to connect to its channel. After you’ve connected successfully, IFTTT will present some recipe options for you. Choose the one you’d like to use, and follow the prompts to connect.

Cleaning Up

Until WordPress gets better at importing messy code, you’ll likely have to do some cleanup on any post that you import via IFTTT or by copying and pasting. This is where knowing a little HTML can come in very handy.

If you feel comfortable working directly with HTML, select the Text Editor tab, and make the necessary changes. Otherwise, read through the document. Make sure the formatting is correct, and make changes as needed.

Another option — and this is what I prefer — is to copy/paste directly into the Text Editor (or, in the Visual Editor, choose the T icon to paste as plain text).

This option removes all formatting, so you’ll need to review the post carefully and apply all the headings, bold, italics, lists, and so on, that you want to use. The upside is, you’ll know there’s no sloppy code.

Using WordPress Distraction-Free Mode

Why is it that you prefer writing in Word or elsewhere? If it’s to avoid the on-screen distractions when you write directly in WordPress, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover distraction-free mode.

Once you have the Visual Editor open, click the toggle button shown below.


Everything that’s not the editing window simply rolls away, leaving you with a clean workspace that looks like this.


It’s another way to create your content and get it into WordPress with minimal distractions. The advantage is that you don’t have to worry about cleaning up another program’s code.

Whichever method you choose, your goal is to produce read-worthy content that will grow your content-driven business.

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