Ideas for Arc XP

Clean Up Formatting from Pasted Google Docs Text

Many of my reporters and editors work in Google Docs and transfer only finished copy into Ellipsis.  As a newsroom manager, we have tried to discourage this practice, but it's hard to force people to stop using a tool that is free and ubiquitous.  

When users copy and paste text from Google Docs into Ellipsis, it comes over all in bold and with some other extraneous formatting.  Please enable formatting cleanup from Google Docs into Ellipsis, the same way you already do for pasting from other sources.  

  • Jessica Parks
  • Apr 10 2019
  • Future consideration
Categories User Workflow
  • May 20, 2019

    Admin response

    Changed title from "Support pasting from Google Docs" to be more specific: "Clean Up Formatting from Pasted Google Docs Text"

  • Attach files
  • Edgar García commented
    11 Mar 06:49pm

    We started noticing a more problematic behavior when pasting from Google Docs.

    Pasting from Google Docs is including invisible characters, specifically LS or PS which breaks UTF formatting, making JSON invalid and then resulting in an Internal Server Error page.

    Bing this an invisible character is difficult for our editors to correctly identify the problem.

    At least invisible characters should be a priority on this matter.

  • Jessica Parks commented
    11 Jun, 2021 01:23pm

    Thanks Julie. I also want to point out, this is the No. 5 most requested idea on this entire portal, and it's been sitting idle for over 2 years.

  • Julie Westfall commented
    11 Jun, 2021 01:11pm

    Having worked in many different types of story editors for news orgs, Composer is the first I've seen that doesn't have a. Multiple types of text stripping abilities b. the ability to view and edit text in HTML to troubleshoot issues.

    Respectfully, Arc is not serving its Composer users by denying them what is basic functionality in most other story editors, and it's another way that Arc is limiting its customers ability to develop against Composer.

  • Amandine BASCOUL ROMEU commented
    19 Feb, 2021 11:35am

    Hi all,

    Any update on this issue / IDEA would be appreciated. We encounter some wierd beahavior on front due to the import of these "ghost tags" after copy/paste from other editing tools (mainly Google Docs but not only ; Word, Open Office tools etc.). We notice on front some repetitions of H2 or full paragraphs and the workaround is not easy => need to find the breakpoint and erase all editing cut and paste in a text tool and them come back again to edit the article. Any update welcome!

  • Kayla Lockwood commented
    16 Jul, 2020 08:08pm

    I wanted to chime in here that we are also seeing issues with copy and pasting from other sources, both Microsoft Word and Google Docs- though we'd be satisfied with just Google Docs if necessary. We just had an error today on an embargoed piece that had an ellipsis in one of the image captions that caused the page to break when it went live because it was read as the wrong character. There was no way for us to know that ahead of time.

    We only found out after researching and finding out that it was read as a single character here as seen in the screenshot. The page functioned properly again after the removal of the ellipsis.

  • Admin
    Lawrence Tsai commented
    3 Jan, 2020 10:02pm

    So to summarize, the requirement is to have consistent preservation of formatting in all cases (operating system and/or source). This is a rather large lift. Root cause is that Google Drive has relatively unpredictable formatting for copied content.

    There is a lot of votes on this. Is it possible to get additional confirmations or feedback from other voters that this is indeed the desired requirement? Thanks!

  • Emily Babay commented
    2 Jan, 2020 11:35pm

    Providing some answers to the questions Lawrence asked... We (Philadelphia Inquirer) are using a mix of Mac and PCs. PC users are reporting that all text from Google Docs is copied over as bold. For Mac users, formatting like subheads, links, and lists copy over, but all of the text is regular text -- deliberate bold/italics formatting do not copy over.

    1. Not sure there is extraneous formatting to note, just the bold for PC users.

    2. We want the same behavior from both Word and Google Docs. Copying from the body of an email seems to preserve formatting, and we want this to continue. In short, we'd like the same behavior -- preserved formatting, without extra bolding -- regardless of where the text is copied from.

    3. We'd want formatting (bold/italics, linked text, lists, subheads) preserved in all cases, as the default. Rather than unformatted, or a mix of some formatting stripped and some not.

  • Admin
    Lawrence Tsai commented
    31 Dec, 2019 10:06pm

    Hello! We are noticing different behavior for copying and pasting from Windows and Mac Google Doc. Currently, copying and pasting from Windows Google Doc will not strip the bold formatting, but copying and pasting from Macs will. So can I assume you are using Windows? Also, we are seeing that copying over from Word (rich text format) also leads to the formatting sticking.

    Lastly, a couple of questions for the group, which will help us scope the work:

    1. Can you elaborate on: "with some other extraneous formatting." What specific extraneous formatting are you seeing also carry over to Composer from Google Docs?

    2. Do you want the same behavior when using Word? Or is Google Doc the only tool your users copy and paste from

    3. Is a clean/unformatted copy and paste what is always needed? Or are there circumstances you want the formatting to carry over


  • Mike Orren commented
    10 Apr, 2019 09:28pm

    How is this not already a feature? I thought it was...

  • Richard Lane commented
    10 Apr, 2019 07:39pm

    This is an absolute must!!