This tutorial will show you how to copy and paste the contents of your entire WordPress blog/website into Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or basically any program.
Because for some reason you want a copy of it all in a different word processing program, like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Open Office. Once the content is in this other program, you can:
- keep a local backup (on your personal computer with Microsoft Word or Open Office)
- keep a backup in the cloud (with Google Docs, Evernote or Dropbox)
- print a physical copy of your blog to share with people who just can’t stand reading on a screen
- use the copy for revising and editing your blog’s content
- paste the content into Calibre to make an eBook
- if you’re going to be shutting down your website, the new document you’re pasting it’s content into might be the only thing that will remains of it!
There are probably plenty of other use-cases (comment if you can think of others!)
Why not just copy each blog post and paste it individually? You can try it, but once you get started you’ll notice a few problems…
- Copying more then a dozen becomes very time consuming.
- Some content makes more sense in a blog post than in print. Like embedded YouTube videos: they’re great in an interactive web page, but are useless and eat up ink when printed. Hyperlinks are also good on a screen, but not on a printed page. You’ll want to fix each of these.
- You’ll need to be careful you only copy the relevant content— include the title, features image, maybe categories and posts and other metadata, but exclude content from plugins like the in-page advertisements, related posts, and click-to-tweets.
- What if you only want posts in certain category, or by a certain user, etc? You’ll need to be diligent getting just the correct ones.
- You can’t just open up a blog post and copy the entire page, as you’ll be getting a ton of extra, duplicate content like the site header, menus, sidebar, footers, etc. Copying the content from the WordPress editor won’t work very well if you have shortcodes or other content that needs to be rendered for viewing. So your only option is to manually select the exact content you want from each post on the front end.
- Lastly, there’s the problem that content formatted to look good in WordPress probably won’t get formatted so good in another program. It would be great if some software just automatically converted it for you.
The Blog to HTML plugin is purpose-built for making a single HTML file from your blog posts. It strips away tons of the stuff that only makes sense when viewed online— like the site’s header, menus, widget area, footer, etc. It also strips the site’s style and design, just leaving your blog posts’ content.
It can also filter the posts by category, so you don’t have to do the entire blog at once.
One interesting feature is that, for each post, it moves all the images to the end of the post. This is especially useful for avoiding all the white space you would otherwise find when images are too big to fit on the end of pages and instead get bumped to the next page.
- Install and activate the plugin from WordPress.org
- Go to Settings > Blog to HTML Info/Usage
- Select the categories you’d like I include, or leave blank to include all posts
- Click “Create / Send HTML File” and save the file somewhere you’ll remember
- Open the file (it should default to using your default browser)
- Copy the entire page (Control + C on Windows, Apple + C on Mac)
Congratulations! You’ve saved yourself several hours of copying and pasting. And overall, I think you end up with really clean content: no headers, footers, menus, etc.
Drawbacks of Blog to HTML
You might not like that images get moved to the end of posts. I bet if you asked the developer nicely, they would make this optional.
Featured images aren’t included.
Some of my blog posts had embedded YouTube videos, and when I pasted into Open Office it replaces them with some type of error area (the rest of the content was fine.)
As with manually copy-and-pasting, lots of the formatting and style is lost. That’s good if it were a background color or something that only made sense on a webpage, but too bad if it’s columns or an image gallery.
Overall this approach saves you a ton of time copy and pasting posts individually, but you’ll probably need to fix a few errors and adjust the content manually.
Print My Blog can also be used for copying your entire blog’s contents, among other uses. I think it has a number of advantages over Blog to HTML (I would hope so, as I created it😉!)
Print My Blog has had more development and user feedback, so has a lot more options —and it’s still being improved. Version 2.3 adds the option to export to HTML for one-click copy-and-pasting of an entire blog. You can also choose specific categories, tags, custom taxonomies, author, date range, or instead do pages.
The content from each post is quite customizable too: optionally include post title, featured image, URL, post ID, post content, categories and tags, author, and even comments. Hyperlinks can be replaced with the URLs in parenthesis, and images can be removed or resized. (And if there’s anything else you’d like, you can request it.) Like Blog to HTML, stuff like site header, menus, sidebars, etc aren’t included
- Install and activate the plugin from WordPress.org
- Upon activation, you are taken to a welcome screen (provided you weren’t bulk activating multiple plugins). Click “visit the Print Now page”
- You are now on the Print Setup page. Select “HTML” as the format.
- Click “Prepare Print-Page” (you could also explore all the options by clicking “Show options”)
- Once it’s all done preparing your content, click “Copy to Clipboard” to copy it
The WordPress plugin Print My Blog lets you copy and paste your entire blog (or filter by date, author, category, etc) with just a few clicks. It can handle doing
Print My Blog can take a few more seconds to prepare your content than Blog to HTML (although still hours less than manual.) Instead of loading all the content immediately, it loads it a few posts at a time so it won’t overwhelm the server.
Print My Blog also won’t work with older browsers like Internet Explorer.
Like all other options, once you paste the content into the other program (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Open Office etc) you’ll lose a lot of the formatting and style. This means images may suddenly show their true (sometimes enormous) size, the font will be different, and things will generally look messy.
Lastly, like all the other copy-and-paste options, you now have two copies of your content. If you find a typo, you’ll need to remember to fix it in both your WordPress blog and the program you pasted the content into. Maintaining two copies of your content can become a real headache long term.
Some people are set in their ways: Microsoft Word is what you write in, then export to your blog and whatever else. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
- Write in Microsoft Word
- Copy and paste into blog
- Fix formatting in blog
- Make modifications in Microsoft Word
- Copy and paste, again, into blog
- Fix formatting again
- If you ever want to make a PDF or to print, do it from Microsoft Word
I would suggest, using Print My Blog, an alternative:
- Write in WordPress
- Modify in WordPress
- Nuts to Microsoft Word
- If you ever want to make a PDF, make an eBook, or to print, use Print My Blog
Notice that if you keep your content in WordPress you actually don’t need to do any copy-and-pasting.
Microsoft Word imposes formatting your content as you write it (ie, choose your font size, font style, tab sizes, etc) whereas writing in WordPress is focused on the content— just write, and when you want to focus on styling, customize your theme. WordPress separates content from design because the content should work in many different formats: reading from your computer, tablet, phone, mobile app, RSS reader, email body, screen reader, PDF, eBook and print. The design will vary depending on the medium being used to view it.
WordPress by itself already handles displaying your content on differently sized devices, Print My Blog just makes it work better with print, PDF and eBook.
Print My Blog’s options to remove links, resize images, automatically convert YouTube videos to screenshots and URLs, can automate making your content ready for the format you choose to export it to.
If there is something it doesn’t handle properly for you, you can make blocks only display in print or other only on the screen. You can also just ask the developer for help, it’s under heavy development so your feature requests have a good chance of making it into the next version.
The point is: if you’re writing a blog, a book, or both: just do it in WordPress and skip Microsoft Word and other holdover word processors from a bygone era.
So, I think the best way to copy-and-paste your WordPress content into another program like Microsoft Word is using either the Blog to HTML or Print My Blog plugins…
But, no matter what, the program you’re pasting into probably won’t format it as well as WordPress did, so my top recommendation is to just keep your content in WordPress and use Print My Blog or a similar plugin to export it when needed.
I’d love to hear the insights and experiences from others. What would you like to paste your WordPress content into and why? Are there problems with my instructions? Or thoughts on avoiding Microsoft Word entirely and just writing right in WordPress?
And feel free to share with a friend who might benefit from this.