As the project champion for my community college’s Open Learning Lab, I help literally hundreds of students, faculty, and other academics get started with their own WordPress sites.
I often encounter people who prefer to write in Microsoft Word rather than the default WordPress post editor.
They’re comfortable with Word. They know Word.
They assume they need to write first in Word and then copy-and-paste into WordPress.
I used to think the same thing but I just discovered there’s an easier way to move Word into WordPress.
MS Word offers a way to write and post directly to a WordPress blog/site without using copy-and-paste.
While the method has been around for a long time apparently–it’s possible in Word 10, Word 13, and Word 16.
I’ve only just discovered it. It’s easy and it works well.
In many ways, it’s easier than copy-and-pasting content. In my explanation here, I’ll use Word 16 as an example. The others are similar but might appear slightly different.
Steps to Blog From Word to WordPress
Create the Document
The first step is to create a new Word document by using the “Blog Post” template.
From the Word File menu > New, you’ll be prompted to select either a blank document or a template.
You want to use “Blog Post” template. If you don’t see it displayed right away, try searching for it.
When the template opens with you’ll see that the normal Word menus and the “ribbon” have changed.
Basically the menus and buttons have been slimmed down to only what’s relevant to creating a post for your blog.
Here’s a partial screen shot of the slimmed down interface.
Writing Your Post
There are only three menus listed on the tool bar: File, Blog Post, and Insert.
The file menu is the standard Word file menu you can use to save a local copy, save as, print, etc.
The second menu/ribbon is labeled Blog Post and is shown in the screen shot above.
Except for the first five buttons on the left, the buttons available here correspond very closely to what you can do in the WordPress editor.
You can bold, italicize, change alignment, indent/outdent, change text color, change font size, and select paragraph/headings 1-6, etc.
I’ll get to those first five buttons in a moment when we want to actually publish.
To write your post, start typing. The first line has a horizontal rule below it and says “[Enter Post Title Here].”
Replace that text field with your title for your post. This corresponds exactly to the WordPress title box.
Immediately below the horizontal rule is a line that identifies the blog account you have connected to Word.
If you haven’t connected it yet, it will only say “Account.” We’ll connect to your blog when we publish.
On the next line, you start typing and writing your post. Style it using the buttons just as would in the WordPress visual editor.
In WordPress we’re accustomed to using the “Add Media” button to insert graphics and other media.
The Word equivalent is the Insert menu. You also use the Insert menu to insert hyperlinks.
In many ways, the Word Insert menu offers capabilities beyond the normal WordPress Media Library since you can take advantage of Word’s regular insert features to not only insert pictures, but also shapes, SmartArt, screenshots, WordArt, symbols, and even Wikipedia quotes.
Connecting and Publishing Your Post
Once you’re finished and you think your post is ready to publish, you will need to connect Word to your WordPress site.
This need only be done the first time and you can have Word remember your connection.
Now we’re ready for those first five buttons on the left in the Blog Post menu, as shown here.
To connect Word to your site, you’ll need to select the Manage Accounts button. A dialog box opens listing all the sites you’ve connected to Word.
Of course since this is the first one, the list is blank. Select New, and another dialog box opens as shown below.
In this last dialog box, there’s a drop down menu to select your blog provider. Select WordPress. This is true for both WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress sites.
On this next dialog box, the New WordPress Account box, you need to enter three things:
- Blog post URL
- Your user name for your WordPress site
- Your WordPress password
You have the option to have Word remember your settings so you can skip this step in future posts. You also have some options for how pictures get handled.
The default is to upload pictures to your WordPress Media library. If you have an alternative server for images, you can configure Word to upload your images to that server and insert image-from-URL into WordPress.
Tip: The blog post URL is the address for your WordPress Site xmlrpc interface. It is typically of the form:
http(s):// <your blog URL> /xmlrpc.php
This entry is very picky, especially regarding whether you are using http or https. (you are using https, right?)
Select OK. Select Close. And you’re ready to publish.
Once you have your site(s) entered and connected to Word, you can publish any post simply by selecting the Publish button.
If you have multiple sites connected, the Publish button becomes a drop-down menu listing your sites.
When you select Publish, the entire post gets uploaded including the graphics and media in just one step.
Pros & Cons of Using Word to Post to WordPress
Using Word has several advantages over using the default WordPress editor.
First, you can work offline. It also becomes easier to collaborate on a post or document with others in the draft phase–simply keep the Word draft copy in a sharable or cloud location and share the document with others.
This way you can collaborate with others without having to add them as a user in your WordPress site. You can also get all those great additional graphics insertions such as WordArt, symbols, etc.
The downside of using Word is that while it is easy and the resulting post will look the same in WordPress as it did Word, there might be some additional messiness in the HTML.
Word, of course, is notorious for creating very poor HTML code from Word documents. This method isn’t as bad as saving to HTML from Word, but it’s not as clean as the native WordPress editor might create.
If it’s critical for your posts to have very clean, neat HTML code, you probably should use the WordPress editor.
The other potential downside is that it depends on the xmlrpc interface in WordPress. Xmlrpc has been around a long time and has its own share of criticism.
The WordPress API is beginning to displace much of what xmlrpc did before and some developers are calling for xmlrpc to be removed.
If that happens, then this trick won’t work. We’ll need someone to write an API interface.
By the way, xmlrpc doesn’t work with Google Docs. If you want to connect Google Docs to your WordPress blog and publish directly, you’ll have to use the WordPress Jetpack plugin.
Give it a shot and tell us what you think.