Is MS Word best way to submit content to a designer?

I am creating (writing content) for a 75+ page website however, I am not a web designer by any means. I’m writing it all in MS Word and putting it in the correct format along with Tables, etc and wondering if MS Word is ok to submit to a web designer when the time comes?

I’ve been told they may copy and paste the content which may make a mess out of the HTML code in the process if doing so. I just don’t want to get too far into writing the content only to find out I should have used another program

Any advice is greatly appreciated!!


The only problem with presenting the content in MS Word is if you picked an absolutely useless designer who attempts to generate the HTML straight from your source instead of extracting all the text and rebuilding the HTML properly.

As long as the designer is going to create the HTML properly and can read the format you provide the content in then what program you created the content in shouldn’t matter.

Best case, I contract with a great developer who manages the project but every project isn’t best case.

I don’t know of many writers who run background checks on the designers their clients hire.

Moreover, there are a lot of “designers” out there who don’t understand the first thing about on-page optimization for visitors or for search engines. Just from experience in these forums I have learned that there are designers who don’t know the difference between a title element and a title attribute.

I choose clients by 1) their willingness to provide the information I need, 2) the specs of the project, 3) their ability to pay my price.

Finally, I find that putting a little extra effort into how I deliver content pleases clients and gives them incentive to return a second and third time.

Unfortunately Alex, in the real world, writers don’t always get to choose the designers who put their content on the web. When a client hires me to write his content, I do my best to make sure that it ends up the same way it starts.

any good designer would know how to clean up MS word text. I think taking the extra step to do a doc in word shows that you are proofing it and making sure the text all makes sense vs. putting it in just a simple text document or rich text doc.

I disagree with some of the above. Submitting the content in a format like Microsoft Word (if they have the product of course) is the best solution. Yes you SHOULD use tables and style as it’s required in the document, the web designer will be able to look at the table you have provided and will be able to replicate it on the web, they will see the color you use and replicate it. The important thing is that you build the content to match what you want it to appear as online (they need to see the content requirements to mark it up correctly), your designer should be well equipped to turn the text into web copy, if they can’t you employed the wrong person. :slight_smile:

Plain text is fine if you don’t care about formatting. If you care about SEO and how readers read on the web, then plain text doesn’t work.

You can create your tables in MS Word and format your content as you would like it to appear on the page. Your designer should know enough NOT to copy/paste from MS Word. If there’s any question about that, you can write a note to that effect.

If you are concerned about the loss of your headings, etc, you can comment in MS Word to show the ‘h1’, ‘h2’, and emphasize how you want your numbered and bulleted lists to appear.

I add notes to every file I deliver that contain information about word count, text links and title attributes (when necessary), and suggestions for the page title element, description, and the keyword phrase I have targeted in the content as well as (if applicable) a list of research sources and/or citations.

I think designers love it as plain as it can be. Notepad perhaps!

You need to draw a clear distinction between content and format. If you’re submitting to a designer who has the format of the website sorted with his customer (which may or may not be you), then Notepad should be fine provided you can be clear what level of headings you’re using where, etc.
Where it starts to get difficult is when you’re using tables as mentioned earlier. They can’t be created and articulated reliably in text files so Word becomes a great way of getting the layout across. Note I said layout, not format.

The best thing to do is to ask your designer - different people do things in different ways, so what works for one designer might not work for another.

The key thing to remember is to make sure you indicate the purpose of each bit of the document. If it’s a top-level heading, or a sub-heading, or a sub-sub-heading, make that clear. Where you have a table, make it clear how the data relates together.

If your designer is half-way competent, it shouldn’t matter what the formatting in your document is like. It’s pretty easy to remove all formatting from a document in most word processing and HTML editors. As long as your intention is clear, it’s up to the designer to turn the text and content into the finished product - the simpler and the less formatting in your document, the easier his job will be.

In my quote, I always list that PDF is the default but I am able to submit content in the format of my client’s choice. Then I list the formats that I am able to use such as Rich Text, MS Word Doc, Open Document Type, Google Doc, Plain Text, HTML.

If they picked a respectable firm, the person designing the site should be competent enough to understand HTML / CSS to make the content appear as required.

As I mentioned, if you picked a business who assigns you someone who can’t even keep to the formatting, you probably picked a bad group to do business with. :slight_smile:

thanks for all your feedback!

So would it be best not to create tables in MS Word and to also not format my titles, headings and sub-headings by centering, making bold, etc?

I have also been showing where to insert links by highlighting words in blue and putting the URL in parenthesis next to it. Is this ok?

I just want to make it easy for the designer and eliminate any confusion. I don’t expect them to have to write any new content

Thanks for any advice

For instance, does it even matter that all the Tables line up correctly in width, etc?


Thanks for the advice! In response to your statement below, I am creating “Tables” for the directories in my website. Such as:

Company Name

I’m putting that in a table where the info is in a box w/ Company Name highlighted, etc

Is this ok? There are many tables needed throughout the site (at least 250) so want to be sure its fine the way I create and then pass them on to the designer

For presenting tabular data (tables) don’t go out your way to add fancy borders or shading, again those styles will (should) have been agreed when going through the design stage. Just make it clear what are the column headings etc, and don’t forget table summaries and captions.

Welcome to Sitepoint!

Supplying text content in a word processor document is fine. MS word is perfectly fine and any designer worth their salt will be aware of the extra bloat and will deal with it accordingly. Besides, the problem only exists if they paste directly into a browser based WYSIWYG editor without cleaning it up first.

For presenting text content your designer should have agreed some things with you when “designing” the site, things like fonts, colours, default sizes for various HTML elements and so on, so all you need to do is provide the text.

For presenting tabular data (tables) don’t go out your way to add fancy borders or shading, again those styles will (should) have been agreed when going through the design stage. Just make it clear what are the column headings etc, and don’t forget table summaries and captions.

Include properly formatted bullet lists as well when required, and don’t embed images in the document, send them separately!