You’re not a coder – we get it. But sometimes you need to make some quick changes to your website and your developer isn’t around. In this post we’re going to talk about why you should never use Microsoft Word to work on your websites files. At the end we’ll present two alternatives.

Word uses its own special format for how it displays text. This format, or “character encoding” is different from the standard types of character encoding you find on the web. When you copy and paste material from a Word document directly into your website files, you’ll copy that special formatting right along with it. This can result in some unusual behavior, such as ““” and “— being displayed instead of quotation marks.

If you’re running into this problem, you can fix it by opening up your website files in a plain text editor and replacing the special characters with what you really want. And, of course, if you use a plain text editor in the first place, you won’t ever run into this problem! Here are my two favorite free text editors:

Notepad++ for Windows
TextWrangler for Mac OS X

By Sharon Campbell