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When What You See Isn’t What You Get: Alternatives to Using WordPress’s Visual Editor

Compared with most other WYSIWYG editors, WordPress’s visual interface is smooth and full-featured. However, most WordPress users run into a problem with it at some point or another. Whether your line breaks went AWOL, your paragraph tags disappeared, or your headings came out looking funky, if you’ve had issues you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, pasting directly from Microsoft Word has always created more problems than it solves, with loads of extraneous code hitching a ride with your content and making it look downright weird. While WordPress’s “Paste from Word” tool, included with the visual editor, solves some of these problems, we’ve found that often it still creates text that doesn’t look right. So what’s a blogger to do?

Go Outside WordPress

There are plenty of programs you can use that will work in tandem with WordPress. Some of our favorites include:

CKEditor

This browser-based rich text editor, which is available under a commercial or open source license, looks a lot like the WordPress editor, but with a larger set of features.

TinyMCE

Like CKEditor, this is a browser-based editor that offers more than the standard WordPress tools. Probably the most popular rich text editor for integration with WordPress, it’s entirely open source.

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor

If you know a bit more about code and want to write your HTML independently and/or offline, Coffee Cup is a simple downloadable program that will do the job well. We use it for many of our blog posts.

Microsoft Windows Live Writer

This free application includes a number of helpful features like spell check, easy HTML tables, and a battery of plugins that extend its functionality. It’s a highly-recommended solution for regular bloggers.

Microsoft Word 2010

Surprise! All of that garbage code you get from pasting directly from Word into the WP visual editor isn’t such a problem when you use the blog post template available in 2010. It’s not as elegant and seamless as Live Writer, but it will certainly hold up in a pinch. Here’s a little tutorial from workyouroffice.com.

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