How-To: Copying Word Docs Into Dreamweaver HTML
Dreamweaver isn’t the worst environment for composing long copy, but it’s far from being the most comfortable. Text editing programs, including BBEdit, Text Wrangler, any plain vanilla text or word processing application, OpenOffice, and the most user installed editing app, Microsoft Word, are usually better suited to the task.
While Word is my least favorite creative application, it’s the one I usually turn to when composing long copy for my web sites.
I’m not interested in Word’s clunky “styling” gimmicks or to-be-avoided-at-all costs so-called HTML coding. I’m just looking for a comfortable writing environment and for that Word works out okay. (I’ve recently made the jump to Scrivener, which if you can navigate the well documented learning curve is absolutely the best environment to work in for writers everywhere. When finished, it compiles your work into a Word doc.)
On the other hand, Word’s formatting and styling quirks are a major pain if you try the most direct route of copy and paste to transfer the content into Dreamweaver. One reason is all the overhead metric garbage that comes along for the ride in a typical copy and paste scenario. Here’s how Dreamweaver solves that problem. (Word to InDesign uses an entirely different workflow: copy/paste, drag/drop, place. Lynda.com has a good intro tutorial here.)
Step One: Copy All
First, you’ll want to work in Word’s Normal view, which lets you define Normal as a style that’s most comfortable for your reading and editing preferences than would normally be found on a web page or in a print project. Word’s Page Layout formating has nothing to do with Dreamweaver so it’s easiest to just ignore that viewing option.
When you’re finished writing and/or editing, select and copy all of your Word content. Switch to Dreamweaver. Under Edit, choose Paste Special… which opens up your choices.
Step Two: Paste Special
Select text with structure and you’re done. Paragraphs are properly formated as <p> tags, not end of line soft (aka line breaks) returns, and it won’t suck in Word’s clumsy style tags.
Once placed, further editing can be done using an HTML capable editor like BB Edit (shareware) in a roundtrip preferences configuration, or just edit inside Dreamweaver.