General Question

flo's avatar

When do you not get the exact copy of a copy and pasted item? See detail?

Asked by flo (11824points) June 6th, 2010

It happens too often that I copy and paste something to show someone something, and to save something and the copy and paste is different from the original.
-there is single space when there should not be.
-things are on the left side when they should be on the right, etc.
-the size of words are changed, and on and on…
Other people have the same problem. I don’t know if it happens with whichever browser, operating system, etc. I know it happens with different websites. So what is the cause but more importantly, what is the solution?

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11 Answers

eden2eve's avatar

When you copy text from some web pages, you are also copying their formatting, which produces the unwelcome problems you’ve listed.

There are several solutions to your problem. You can get a couple of different programs which will strip the formatting, but for me an easy solution, assuming you are using Microsoft Word, is just to copy the text and paste it into a Word document. Highlight the text and press Ctrl + Spacebar. This will automatically convert what’s highlighted to plain text formatting.

This doesn’t remove the >> characters that you sometimes get from email, or the hard line breaks, but you can eliminate those by using the “Find” and “Replace” functions in Word. If you don’t know how to do that, and you want to know, let me know and I’ll elaborate. I actually have made a macro that does it for me.

anartist's avatar

Make sure you “select all” otherwise you may miss spacing and formatting. Make sure you have the font used installed on your machine. Make sure you paste it into something that can accept the formatting if you want to preserve it. MS Word usually will do a pretty good job. Or you might try OpenOffice [free].

Mac or PC?

flo's avatar

@eden2eve Thank you. ’ are also copying their formatting, which produces the unwelcome problems you’ve listed.’ I am trying have it exactly the way the original is though.

flo's avatar

@anartist Thank you. It is PC. I will see if it doesn’t happen when I do ‘selected all’. I have no idea what ‘Make sure you have the font used installed on your machine.’ it sounds complicated.

anartist's avatar

Hope you are copying something with no unusual fonts. You are copying text off an HTML [ordinary] web page or off a PDF [which opens in adobe reader]???

Most likely the font won’t be the problem for HTML unless you have fewer than the average installed. PDF it could be, but not likely. If you have what came with your windows and Office suite you probably have what you need.

flo's avatar

@anartist Isn’t there any answer to my question that is suitable to people who don’t know from computers? Something that doesn’t need downloading, installing, something that doesn’t require using the same computer, etc?

anartist's avatar

Are you trying to get something to look just like a web page or to be readable or what?
Just to look like what you are looking at all you have to do is press 2 keys ‘ALT’ ‘PrinntScreen’ or usually ‘PRNT SCRN’—alt is in lower left print screen in upper right.
[make sure your cursor is not on the taskbar when you do alt prntscrn or all you will get is a picture of the taskbar.] This is called a screen capture or screen grab and is very easy.

Then open word and hit ‘paste’ and there it is. crop it in word if you want

of it is a wevbsite and you want it to act like a website and look like the website you are on, just save the website to your computer. Or another idea:
Go to the web page you want to copy and go to the file menu and select “print” then instead of selecting your printer, select adobe pdf and you will have a copy of your webpage.

Thesde are 3 different easy ways depending on what you want.

Printing the screen to adobe pdf is your best bet.
Try em all, see what works for you.

anartist's avatar

forgot—You have to save the pdf file after you select ‘print’ then ‘adobe pdf’ from the dropdown. just name it and save it where you want. to open it just click on it.

flo's avatar

@anartist thank you I will try them.

flo's avatar

For everyone who needs as simple a solution as possible:

When you want to copy and paste the exact format – in wordpad
click ‘edit’
click ‘paste special’

I just got it from friend who also didn`t know (not a computer person) found it somewhere. She will let me know the link

flo's avatar

I appreciate @eden2eve and @anartist but you are too knowledgeable for some of us.

The last step:
-Click “Unformatted Text”, then OK
It may not be exact but it is better)

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