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Best Practice: Importing Content from Word, PDF and Google Documents

Written by Kristina Bethea
Customer Success Engineer at MindTouch
This page applies to:MindTouch Responsive

MindTouch is used to create documentation for various use cases, and that means that content to be imported into Mindtouch often comes from various sources. A main concern with importing content is how to get non-MindTouch articles into MindTouch, whether from your corporate site, your local files, or wherever your content may live. The MindTouch editor not only performs common word processor-like functions but also ensures that content copied over adheres to internet standards with regard to HTML and CSS.

Importing from Word   

If you have content pre-written in Microsoft Word and simply copy and paste your content from Word into MindTouch, your content may lose its formatting because Word uses proprietary HTML that does not conform to internet standards.

Best Practice: To ensure your content displays correctly across multiple browsers and operating systems as it adheres to uniform standards, use the Paste from Word function in the MindTouch editor. 

There are a few things to consider when pasting content into a MindTouch article:

  • ​MindTouch will not import formatting styles such as color, custom fonts, tables, etc. The formatting will get stripped and will be applied as plain text.
  • MindTouch will retain content that is bold or italicized
  • When copying from Word, paste the content via the Paste from Word or Paste as plain text functions in the MindTouch editor. 


Importing from PDFs

It is crucial to import your PDF content into MindTouch articles to allow your users to organically search (via Google Search for example) and quickly find the content that now lives hidden in your PDFs. Break your PDF content into microcontent for a truly user-friendly experience. And if you still need to preserve a PDF in its entirety, MindTouch allows you to incorporate PDFs on a page as well.

Best Practice: Extract the most valued content from your PDF and create an article from it. The more information you have in the body of the page, the more effectively the article(s) will appear in the search results, thus allowing your users quick and reliable access to your content. 

Consider the following when copying content from a PDF:

  • When copying content from a PDF, highlight and copy the content you would like to import. Paste the content into a MindTouch article via the Paste from Word option in the MindTouch editor as this will preserve most of its formatting elements.
  • If you want to make a PDF available to your users, attach a PDF to the body of the article or place a downloadable PDF directly onto the page (but remember that your users can always create PDFs from any MindTouch article via the PDF icon). 


Importing from Google Docs

If your content lives in a Google Doc, copy the content from the Google Doc and use the Paste as plain text button in the MindTouch editor to import content over to MindTouch.

Consider the following when copying content from a Google Doc:

  • The colors and fonts will not import over and will have to be applied manually.
  • Any bold text in the Google Doc will not import over
  • The bullet points (if any) will retain.                         

Importing tables

Below is an example of a table that was created in Word with added color and a different font style other than the default. 

So how do you get this table to appear the same in your MindTouch articles? When copying and pasting tables, the table structure (cells, columns) will retain, but formatting styles will get stripped out. Follow these steps to import your table into the default MindTouch format:

  1. Copy the table from Word (Cmd + C or Ctrl + C)
  2. Paste the table  (Ctrl + V or Cmd + V), or use the Paste from Word option through the editor.
  3. When clicking Save, your table will look like the table below:


From here, you can manually change the table features through the MindTouch editor to match the original image from Word, though the recommended approach to styling tables would be to utilize CSS.

Best Practice: Target the table elements and save your code in the custom CSS fields in your MindTouch control panel. This way, you will be able to control the table site-wide. ​Convert tables created in Word from pixels to percentages (%) in MindTouch Responsive. If you are using height and width within CSS other than the standard elements of the table in the editor, you will need to manually remove those elements in MindTouch Responsive. 

important note  Avoid re-sizing tables in MindTouch Responsive, as values will be converted to static pixel values and tables will lose their responsiveness.

Importing images

Copied images from Word do not directly paste over into MindTouch. Why?

Simply put, because the image does not yet exist in MindTouch. MindTouch needs to have the image uploaded before it can be embedded in the body of the page. You will have to either save the image on your desktop and use the drag and drop method, or grab the file extension of the image and attach it to the page.

The same functionality as with tables applies to the image's height and width. Custom elements will also need to be manually removed in Responsive.

important note  Avoid re-sizing images in MindTouch Responsive, as values will be converted to static pixel values, and images will lose their responsiveness.

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