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At 10:50 20/02/2014 -0800, Shawn Yve wrote:
Background info: I'm a moderator for a writers workshop forum and we turn our lessons into a PDF at the end of a workshop.

When I copy/paste from chrome into writer I end up with small gray boxes (one space height/width) scattered through my document.

The most obvious possibility is that these are non-breaking spaces. You will know that HTML requires browsers to conflate consecutive whitespace characters into a single space. Where necessary, this can be prevented by the use of the HTML non-breaking space character,  . In addition (and as its name suggests), the character can be used to prevent consecutive words splitting across a line break.

The same concept exists in word processors (see Insert | Formatting Mark > | Non-breaking space) and the Paste function is giving you like for like - honouring the HTML source code and not just the appearance of the web page in your browser.

To get rid of them I must either delete each one or paste to textpad and then back which of course loses all formatting.

In fact, you don't need to get rid of them. If you want to preserve the spacing that they represent, ignore them and proceed. They will show up - well, *not* show up, in fact! - just as spaces would in your final PDF document. (There is one difference: non-breaking spaces do not expand as do ordinary ones in Justified text.) If you do wish to remove or replace them (with the consequent change to the document formatting), you can search for them in the normal way. Select one of the characters before you open the Find & Replace dialogue and you will find it helpfully inserted for you in the "Search for" box. If you just find the grey appearance troublesome, you could replace them with ordinary spaces - but proper document formatting might be better.

I've also tried firefox and copy/pasting from other forums/pages. I've even opened an emailed doc where the sender copied from a browser and the boxes still show up.

As you will now understand, this is because the web pages and word processor documents contain such special characters and the Paste function is honouring them faithfully.

I hope someone can help as I'm stumped and will have to return to open office as this is a time sink. :(

Surely OpenOffice behaves identically in this respect? Or have I misunderstood the whole problem?

I trust this helps.

Brian Barker

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