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Brian Barker wrote
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

This did help. Thank you. I'd tried a few things before, don't remember what
and nothing helped. It would even export the gray boxes to the pdf. Maybe it
was different vrs of the different programs that have helped at this later
date. BTW Open office does the same thing NOW but on my old computer it
didn't which is what threw me off. 

Anyway, I can live with doing a search/replace. So simple a solution, I
guess I was thinking too complex in my other troubleshooting. Thanks for the

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