Best Practice: Cutting/Pasting Text from External Files in VTA

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Scenario

You have tons of information stored in Microsoft Word of PDF files and you want to copy and paste text from these files to VTA (i.e., Course Descriptions).

Why re-create the wheel or waste time re-typing when it exists?

The problem is that these files have html stored that visually you cannot see on your screen, but when presented online in Learner, is visible to students.

Recently, I got the following email from a longtime VTA user:

Marc:
See screenshot below.  The font for the Objective section is very small, and I tried to make the font bigger, but it wouldn’t change when I looked in Learner…..any suggestions?

I’ve recreated the screenshot below to simulate what she sent.

You can see what the Objectives looked like immediately after copying text from MS Word, pasting it to the VTA Course Objectives field and then viewing it online in Learner.

Objectives as seen in Learner

The Fix (for Previous Copy/Pastes)

If you’re seeing poorly formatted text in Learner because text has already been copy/pasted from MS Word, you can fix that.

First, open the VTA Course record, go to the field with the bad formatted text and click the HTML button on the Text Editor.

Objectives as seen in VTA Backoffice - before

Remove all html code that was also pasted from the Word document so all you see is the text that should appear.

In the screenshot below, everything highlighted in yellow should be removed.

Objectives as seen in VTA Backoffice - HTML view

Once saved, the Objectives will use the standard styles when viewed online in Learner.

Objectives as seen in VTA Learner after fixing the HTML code

The Fix (for Future Copy/Pastes)

If you plan to copy/paste text from MS Word to VTA, to prevent the html from coming over, you can do one of two things:

Copy from Word Objectives as seen in VTA Learner after fixing the HTML code Paste to Notepad Objectives as seen in VTA Learner after fixing the HTML code Copy from Notepad Objectives as seen in VTA Learner after fixing the HTML code Paste to VTA field (non-html view)

This will “wash” the code away.

Copy from Word, Paste to Notepad, Copy from Notepad, Paste to VTA

Copy from Word Objectives as seen in VTA Learner after fixing the HTML code Paste to VTA field (html view)

This will “wash” the code away in half the steps. Just be sure to click the HTML button on the Text Editor before pasting the text.

Copy from Word, Paste to VTA

Format as Needed

You can then use the Text Editor tool to format text and it will be presented in VTA Learner using your style sheet.

More Important Now

VTA 7.0 will be adding the Text Editor to several more fields to help you format text when viewed online.

This will allow you to use the Text Editor in areas you never could before, such as Schedule Class Session Comments, Email Templates and Test Questions as well as all the new data entry forms related to Competencies.

Keep the copy/paste best practice discussed here in mind when taking text from an external file to populate a VTA data field.

Check And don’t forget… Always check your work in Learner!

It’s very easy to copy/paste and accidentally keep code from an external file.

Formatting your message correctly is part of conveying your message.

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Marc Letendre
eLearning professional with over 20 years experience positively impacting corporate productivity through skillful management of staff development programs and implementation of RISC LMS solutions. Marc attained an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Springfield College in 2005 and is reputable for working with groups to identify issues and create tools, processes or training solutions to achieve and exceed measurable objectives.
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