Author: Gabe Sumner, Product Manager, Sitefinity CMS

As a member of the Sitefinity team, Rich Text (WYSIWYG) web editors are literally the core of my world. These tools are the pipe through which most web content flows. They allow people—who know nothing about the HTML—to create HTML. However, the sad truth is that most WYSIWYG editors are worse than awful. In fact, I heard one CMS analyst refer to them as the “Achilles’ heel of CMS.” Frequently buggy, they’re renowned for allowing atrocious HTML to spill into the website.

Dirty content with embedded styling in MS Word

Telerik’s very first product (RadEditor) was a WYSIWYG editor. Over many years, we accumulated innumerable use cases and developed high level expertise in this precise area. One of our specialties is producing clean copy & paste from Microsoft Word. We see this scenario over & over again: content authors create content in Word, then paste it into Sitefinity , complete with all that nasty embedded in-line styling. This embedded styling often conflicts with the design of the website, and can make quite a mess of things if not handled properly.

Copy & Paste from MS Word is a Huge Problem

We know this is a pain point for customers, so we addressed it. In Sitefinity Web CMS, when you paste content from Word, it is automatically cleansed of embedded styling, while preserving standard HTML (H1, H2, P, OL, etc.). We regularly demo this feature for customers evaluating Sitefinity; and it garners a great reaction.

On one such occasion, I was unexpectedly tested:

“We’ve seen this demo before...but we’re an academic institution and we often have problems with pasting special characters. Can you show us pasting an italicized pi symbol?”

“Also, can you do it from a Mac?”

Uh... I’ve encountered a lot of questions about our WYSIWYG editor, but this one was new to me. I honestly had no idea whether RadEditor/Sitefinity would correctly encode a pasted pi symbol from a Mac.  So, in front of a live audience, I took out my MacBook Air, and gave it a try. Below is the resulting HTML:

HTML from copy & pasted MS Word Pi

We passed the test and I could breathe again. Full credit to the RadEditor team on this one. A correctly encoded italicized pi doesn’t drop from the sky. It comes from encountering thousands of customer use cases over many, many years. In my view, the purpose of the RichText editor is not merely to enable non-technical contributors to create HTML content, it’s also to protect the underlying integrity of the website. These capabilities are built into RadEditor, and you can test them for yourself in Sitefinity CMS.


About the Author

Gabe Sumner

(@gabesumner) is a Product Marketing Manager at Telerik. He lives in Mountain View, CA and loves to talk with customers to absorb their perspectives and feedback. At Telerik he works to create alignment between customer challenges, product features, company values and external messaging. 

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