Controlling the formatting of text on your page
Want great looking text on your pages? It's not always as easy as you may think. This page gives some hints and tips to help you take control of your text!
The techniques on this page use the editor's format menu, the remove formatting button and the paste from word and paste as text buttons.
The editor makes it simple to change fonts and alter the size, style and colour of your text. It's easy to be tempted into adding lots of differently formatted text to your pages.
However, most professionally designed sites only use a limited number of variations for their text. For example, they may choose one style for their ordinary text, another style for special text and another for headings. This restrained approach has some benefits:
- it usually looks more professional
- it can make the page clearer to read - a limited number of styles make it easy to see what is a heading, what is a link etc.
- it can make it easier to draw visitors' attention to specific parts of a page. If most of your text is the same, then any text that is formatted differently will stand out (the more text that is the same, the more effective differently formatted text will be).
- it makes it quicker to edit your pages - if you have a standard style for your text, you don't have to keep making decisions about how to format text - you can go straight ahead and apply your standard style leaving you more time to work on other aspects of your page.
Don't underestimate the impact of limiting the number of text styles you use. Of all of the hints on this page, this is the one that is likely to make the biggest difference to the appearance of your site.
Use the format menu
An easy way to limit the variations in your text is to use the editor's format menu (top left of the editor).
This only offers a limited number of choices but these are likely to be sufficient for most sites' needs.
To use the format menu, select some text on your page by dragging your mouse across it and then select the appropriate style from the menu.
We recommend formatting all of your text as 'paragraph' and then using bold or a colour to format any special text for example if you want to highlight a phrase). Use 'heading 2' and 'heading 3' from the style menu for the titles of any sections on your pages.
Remove formatting button
The remove formatting button is incredibly helpful when you have text that is misbehaving.
For example, when you edit your pages, you may find text that is apparently formatted in one style but when you publish the page, it appears differently.
Why does this happen? When you change the formatting of text in the editor, behind the scenes it is creating the appropriate html code for your page. Sometimes, particularly if you make several changes to the same section of text, unnecessary html can build up and cause issues with the formatting of your text.
The solution is to select the text that isn't formatted correctly (anything from a few words to a whole page) by dragging your mouse across it and then click the remove formatting button. This removes any styles that have been applied and leaves just the plain text. You should then be able to format the text without any problems.
(Hint: if using the remove formatting button doesn't solve the problem, you could also try selecting the text and clicking the clean up messy code button.)
Using text from elsewhere
If you copy and paste material from other sources such as Word documents or webpages on other sites, they can contain code that makes your text format incorrectly. Use the paste from word or paste as text buttons to paste the text without this code.
Take a look at our help page about pasting text from Word for more details.