Question: I periodically copy text from a web page into a document or into an email and many times the formatting of the document I was working on becomes all messed up. Is there a way around this?
Answer: Your problem is caused by unseen formatting instructions that are embedded within the text in the web page. Once you copy the HTML web text (along with its unseen formatting codes) into your existing document a clash of formatting instructions occurs. The easiest way to prevent this is to copy the text from the web page into an ASCII text editor first, and then copy the text from the text editor into your document.
ASCII text editors strip out almost all formatting from a document and only allow standard ASCII characters – letters, numbers, punctuation marks and a specific set of symbols. To make this easier Windows actually contains a text editor named Notepad that works well for this de-formatting function.
You can access Notepad within Windows XP by clicking on Start –> All Programs–> Accessories –> Notepad. You can also bring up Notepad by clicking on Start –> Run — > and entering “Notepad” into the entry box and then clicking “OK”. There are plenty of other ASCII text editors out there if you want one with more bells and whistles than Notepad.