Well, that was scary. A prof e-mails and says the big survey he’s hoping to administer today on our copy of Checkbox Survey Server 4.6 isn’t working. Well, it’s half working: it comes up on Firefox, but not in IE. The proper response is “Forget IE!” But somewhere, some poor freshman who is already having a hard enough week with his new computer is saying, “Firefox? What’s that?”

So we dig around, trying to find why the survey works perfectly fine in Firefox but shows nothing in IE.

Wait — almost nothing. In IE, I notice that something is loading. The page looks blank, but when I hit Ctrl-A, there’s a little rectangle in the upper left corner that highlights. I copy it, paste it into Notepad+, and presto! out comes the introductory text the prof pasted onto the first page. But that text is tangled in all those damnable XML tags that come with chunks you copy from Word. The prof had copied that text from a Word document and pasted it directly into the new HTML editor in Checkbox. Same problem happens to me when I try to paste Word chunks into the HTML editors on Blogger and WordPress.

Do note the irony here: Firefox was able to render the pasted material just fine. It was Microsoft’s product that could read Microsoft’s own garbage. Grrrr.

Three ways to avoid this problem:

  1. Don’t paste from Word! Enter your text manually in the Checkbox editor.
  2. Paste from Word, but first, switch to the text input option in Checkbox. That’ll strip the tags.
  3. Copy from Word, then paste by hitting the “Paste from Word” button at the upper left of the Checkbox HTML editor.