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Community Member

Pasting formatted text into Canvas pages

In the last 2-3 weeks, I've seen several instances where formatted text that's been pasted into the RCE (e.g., a page or syllabus description) does funky line wrapping -- specifically wraps in the middle of a word.  Viewing the HTML editor shows nothing amiss.

Instructure support acknowledges that this happens and suggests pasting in *unformatted* text.  That, of course, prevents the problem with wrapping but it also deletes all the nice formatting that we want to keep!

Anyone else experiencing this problem?  It feels to me like it's a recent issue but I'm not quite sure.

And if anyone has any workaround that lets you paste in formatted text (most of our users are trying to do it out of MS Word) but prevents mid-word line wrapping I'd love to hear about it.

12 Replies
Explorer II

Hi  @vkg 

I imagine you've tried this already but does it make any difference which web browser you're using? I usually use Chrome, and I've just managed to paste in some formatted text without any problems. Then I tried it in an old version of Firefox (older than the version currently recommended for use with Canvas). I couldn't reproduce the problem you described with line wrapping but when I pasted my formatted text into the RCE in Firefox it came in as plain text with all my formatting stripped out.

If you've only noticed the problem over the last few weeks then could it be that one of the recent Canavs updates has made your current browser incompatible? Just a thought.


I think I've seen the editor do this sometimes when copying from PDF files... Don't know if that will help you or someone else troubleshoot this, but I figure it doesn't hurt to share.

One of my main responsibilities in my job is to build curriculum into Canvas for our instructors at our Technical College.  Our curriculum is stored in an online database, and we can export it to a PDF file.  When I copy/paste text from the PDF file into Canvas wiki pages (using Mozilla Firefox), it's almost a given that each line of text does not go to the very end (right side) of the RCE.  It stops about mid-way, and I almost always using the Backspace or Delete key on my keyboard to fix the spacing issues.  I've not found a great way to get around this...other than maybe switching to the HTML editor side of the page to paste in the text.  However, as has been mentioned already, I lose paragraphs and text formatting.  :smileycry:

I've had the exact same result when copying and pasting from a PDF into the RCE, so I try to do it as infrequently as possible. Copying and pasting text from MS Word docs can be problematic as well; yes, you might retain formatting, but some of it might be funky. I prefer embedding the doc or setting it to an auto inline preview. ​If I absolutely have to copy and paste from an outside document, I like to use the "Clear Formatting" tool on the RCE menu--without switching views to HTML. I can then use the RCE to reformat as necessary, as I find it results in a cleaner end product.

I try and stay away from pasting text from a Word document into any kind of WYSIWYG webpage editor...period.  The amount of what I will call "junk code" that is brought over from MS Word is horrendous.  Smiley Sad

Community Member

Oh, I agree  @chofer ​.  WE know that.  But it's the end users (i.e., some of our faculty) who will continue to tempt fate by doing it.  For that reason, I'd at the very least like to see some sort of "clean up text" command or "Paste plain text" button built into the RTE.

Community Coach
Community Coach

In our previous LMS, Pearson eCollege's LearningStudio, we had these options for text:


From the left, the buttons are: Cut, Copy Paste, Paste Plain Text, Paste As Html, and Paste from Word.

Community Coach
Community Coach

We had similar options in Angel and I have to admit it was nice and we used it a lot.

We used it a lot.  Almost all of our professors create their Syllabi in Word.  Students like to paste from Word into their discussions. The paste from Word button in Pearson Learning studio worked very well.