Donna B. writes:
I’ve found that quite often when I “cut and paste” from a document on my Mac to say, a job-posting site, there always seem to be weird characters in the “target” document.
What am I doing wrong?
Cheryl Colan responds:
This is not a Mac-specific problem. It tends to happen when pasting text from a word-processing application into a HTML document. Microsoft Word is especially notorious for this problem, but other applications are guilty as well.
You aren’t doing anything wrong. What’s happening is that you’re composing text in a program designed for output to a printer. Certain characters, such as apostrophes, curly quotes, dashes and alternate letter forms, and special formatting like bold, italic, or colored text are specially coded by your word processor so that your printer represents them properly. This printer encoding travels with your copy/pasted text. But these special printer characters have no direct web translation, so when they are published in HTML format, they look like gibberish.
The easiest way to deal with the problem is to cut and paste into a “dumber” text editing application before pasting into a target document destined for the web. On your Mac, the TextEdit application is the way to go, but with one caveat. You need to set up TextEdit to work in Plain text mode, not Rich text mode. Here’s how:
When you relaunch TextEdit, new documents will open in Plain text mode.
Now just copy and paste from whatever application you use to prepare your document into a blank TextEdit document. TextEdit’s Plain text mode should strip out any odd print characters that have been slipping into your HTML. Give it a once over to make sure all your characters appear the way you expect. Then you can reselect your text and paste it into your web document.
You could also try copy/pasting into Postable instead of using TextEdit.
If you want to get really geeky, you can also hand-code any of the characters that are giving you trouble. Just look up the problematic character in this handy chart: http://www.natural-innovations.com/wa/doc-charset.html. Replace the character with the HTML equivalent listed in the Entity column.