Support » Fixing WordPress » Unable to paste rich text in WP 3.9

  • Hi, My client called me in tears today because she can no longer paste from Word with her formatting. I know doing so is a no-no, but I have not been able to help her to be comfortable writing in WordPress, so she has been pasting to the tinyMCE “W” clipboard to create her posts and preserve her formatting created in Word. Which of course is gone now.

    I thought the Ultimate TinyMCE plugin could be interfering, so I removed it completely and did not see any change in the TinyMCE behavior.

    I was able to reproduce the problem in Firefox, although no errors showed up in the console. When I paste in Safari, both regular links and phone links transfer fine, in Chrome, only the regular links come across, not the phone number links. In all of them it is impossible to change the color of a <hr> without knowing how in html. And of course the font and font size options have been removed with the plugin.

    What can we do to help her without causing her to lose the productivity she has become accustomed to?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 36 total)
  • WordPress 3.9 updated the visual editor (tinyMCE). In practical terms this means the editor no longer supports some previous functionality the visual editor – they were bad from web standards and best practices point of view allowing inline CSS styling. Also old plugins and themes that are not up-to-date code wise may have issues with the new visual editor.

    Now for the good news – the new visual editor supports copy and paste straight from a Word document. No special button needed.

    As to the most fundamental question of how to help your clients move on with the new visual editor: consider writing a plugin that adds in the styles “needed” by your clients. See for how to do this.

    Yes, I understand that it’s the update that changed the TinyMCE and copy/paste functionality in the visual editor. This is the problem – a regular copy/paste from Word is not working in the visual editor. If it were, she would be delighted! In Firefox it pastes plain text only, leaving behind links and styling (in Safari the links do come across, but no styling). If she could copy/paste from other posts into new ones or from Word to WordPress, she would be happy, but I can’t figure out what to do. I’ll look for another plugin to help her with the things the old and now incompatible plugin did for her so comfortably but need help with figuring out why we can only paste plain text in the visual editor.

    [Moderator Note: No bumping, thank you.]

    I am having the similar problem as I write in MS-Word (and have many older MS-Word docs I’d like to upload). I used to paste into WordPress with few problems — even had luck with tables created in Word. Pasting with tinyMCE advanced is OK, but seems there is more cleanup than before. Also basic editing functions like font size are gone. Any plug-ins that can restore some of this functionality?

    I’ve tried the new Table function in WordPress, but it is very limited. I tried TablePress, but find it unwieldy for the types of tables I make.

    When you click on the new “Paste to Word” icon in the editor, a dialog opens and reads as follow: “Paste is now in plain text mode. Contents will now be pasted as plain text until you toggle this option off. If you’re looking to paste rich content from Microsoft Word, try turning this option off. The editor will clean up text pasted from Word automatically”

    Is there really a way to “toggle this option off”? Can’t seem to find it. Thanks for any suggestions.




    What can we do to help her without causing her to lose the productivity she has become accustomed to?

    I haven’t tried it with 3.9, but I’ve heard of Microsoft Word users loving Windows Live Writer—an offline blogging tool you can connect to WordPress—so it might be something worth checking into:

    I have two problems, at least, with 3.9 running 2010. I can’t figure out how to get the rich text paste button back or toggle what is now plain text off to get back to pasting Word, which includes links to other posts.

    Second issue is editing screen. I can no longer scroll in side it without losing a the editing buttons on top. There is also, no way I can find to adjust the size of the text box, and I now have a very large amount of white space – two or more screen’s worth – before I can get to the other posting functions – key word, tags, description, save draft et cetera.

    I have cleared the Firefox cache multiple times re-downloaded 3.9 several times, all to no avail?

    I can confirm that copy/paste from MS Word (2007) no longer works. All/most formatting is lost during paste operation. However, copy/paste from a .doc that has been opened with LibreOffice DOES work, all formatting is retained properly.

    My client happens to use MS Word for publishing some pages. Suggesting the LibreOffice workaround is not a viable solution.

    I have been copying/pasting from Microsoft Word for a long time now, as I use Microsoft Word to edit my blogs. After reading this, I still do not understand why I cannot continue to copy/paste from Microsoft Word as I always have.

    Why suddenly, must I have to find a new way to copy and paste my work. Updates are suppose to be helpful, not a step backwards. This just angers me to no end. Now I suppose I need to take a full course in HTML just so I can post in WordPress. Whose idea was this anyway? Didn’t they have anything better to do with their time than making it more difficult for users?

    Moderator kmessinger


    Copy/paste from Word 2010 works fine for me.

    @fidlerten Can you post Word text you are having a problem with at

    And for all
    Have you tried:

    • flushing any caching plugins you might be running, as well as server and/or browser caches.
    • deactivating all plugins (yes, all) to see if this resolves the problem. If this works, re-activate the plugins one by one until you find the problematic plugin(s). If you can’t get into your admin dashboard, try resetting the plugins folder by FTP or PhpMyAdmin (read ”How to deactivate all plugins when you can’t log in to wp-admin” if you need help). Sometimes, an apparently inactive plugin can still cause problems. Also remember to deactivate any plugins in the mu-plugins folder. The easiest way is to rename that folder to mu-plugins-old
    • switching to the Twenty Fourteen theme to rule out any theme-specific problems. If you can’t log in to change themes, you can remove the theme folders via FTP so the only one is twentyfourteen. That will force your site to use it.
    • manually upgrading. When all else fails, download a fresh copy of the file (top right on this page) to your computer, and use that to copy up. You may need to delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders on your server. Read the Manual Update directions first.

    I am one of those who writes in word and then imports as well, and have been using the paste from word function in tinyMCE advanced for a number of years.

    The 3.9 paste from word functionality does seem to work, to a degree. So far, I haven’t dived too deeply into the functions check, but it does seem to do lists and italics, and put in links, but it leaves off the paragraph tags in the html. Without knowing all the inner workings of WordPress, I am not sure if that is a problem. It seems to display correctly when published (the para tags show up in the source code). If it renders properly, I am happy, but I am not sure if this will create an unforeseen problem (i.e. with excerpts, lists, etc.) I just write a lot and cringe at the though of having to go manually enter loads of <p> tags.

    It also replaces straight quotes with the codes for curly quotes.

    So, my questions…
    1) Is what I am observing the expected behavior, or is this something unique to my configuration?
    2) If it is not unique to me, is it considered a problem? And if os, is there a fix on the way or a recommended workaround?

    Jeff H


    You are having much better luck than me, so whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. If I paste from Word into WordPress 3.9, I lose pretty much all formatting. I especially miss the ability to paste tables from Word and have not found a good replacement. I’ve tried the TablePress plugin a bit, but so far don’t find it that useful for my type of content. BTW, what version of Word are you using?

    A few people on the this forum suggested pasting into WindowsLive, which then posts to WordPress once you configure WindowsLive. This works well for most formatting, but not for tables.

    Apparently the programmers who do WordPress development do not like the code that comes along with MS Word copy/pasting. For non-technical guys like me, however, composing in Word and then pasting into WordPress was a breeze and never caused any problems on my site, which is pretty complex with lots of plugs-ins and customization (done by someone way more web savvy than I).

    FYI. After a bit more digging around, this appears to be an issue with the core TinyMCE module and not WP 3.9. I have tried the TinyMCE online demo and all styling from Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 copy/paste is stripped. Copy/paste from LibreOffice works just fine.

    I also found that the WP core team is aware of this issue and solutions are being pursued.

    Copying and pasting from MS Word worked fine until I updated to WP 3.9. Is there any way I can go back to the previous version? (I installed TinyMCE to try and solve the problem, but it doesn’t change the font, despite its claim.)

    I’m inclined to say to the WP team “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”! Can we get an answer from them on this thread?

    This is a giant cock up, and is causing me no end of grief – lost productivity with multiple steps just to get links into posts. Hooey. And the WordPress true believers – keep saying that this was a wonderful UPGRADE. It is a complete setback. Anybody home at WP? They have certainly been non-responsive thus far

    Hi, in my theme I could enable the wpautop function. This solved the problem of pasting rich text for my site.

    Here’s another new problem with pasting rich text. Client reports that now when pasting from Word, single word paragraphs are deleted altogether (this is a fiction author), words are randomly deleted, spaces between words are deleted. Often they don’t survive the paste.

    I replicated the single-word paragraph deletion on a test blog set to the 2014 theme running no plugins.

    Mysteriously, leaving the punctuation off keeps this from happening.

    I have always gotten the feeling that the otherwise wonderful support folks here don’t take Word-related problems very seriously. Many of us have clients who compose in Word and count on the paste function working reliably. Yes, they could compose in WP directly but, no, that just ain’t gonna happen.

    This client has been doing her blog this way since 2008 and this is the first time we’ve had problems with text getting deleted altogether.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 36 total)
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