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Under pressure; PowerPaste

Ben Long

January 28th, 2021

Written by

Ben Long

Category

Product Management

PowerPaste test document

DOCX (0.0MB)

Not everything is created equal… This year, we’re keen to explore how our TinyMCE plugins and integrations compare alongside other rich text editors. This is a question that often comes up in our testing, and by customers when trying to compare features against other rich text editors. 

As such, we have developed this new, ongoing content series where we test core features, premium features, and even integrations across all the popular editors in the market to see who works best depending on the use case. 

To kick-off this series, we are starting with the ever popular plugin - PowerPaste.

What is PowerPaste?

Tiny’s PowerPaste allows users to paste content from Word, Excel, and loads of popular content tools into other online applications with ease - keeping the original formatting intact, and without breaking the underlying HTML code.

If you’ve ever pasted content between applications, for example, pasting from Word into a content management system, chances are you’ve experienced weird formatting or broken code. Fonts are different, images are missing, or formatting is not the same as the original document. You would also be familiar with the frustration, support tickets, and lost productivity time this causes.

Fixing these errors can eat up hours of developer, and end-user, time trying to get things to work.

PowerPaste focuses on cutting out this cost, and time, for your team. It automatically “cleans” pasted content, fixing these issues. It can also automatically upload images to a server, helping you spend time on more productive tasks.

About the comparison

Our main comparison is between TinyMCE, CKEditor, and Froala. TinyMCE, CKEditor, and Froala are all very similar in terms of what you get straight out of the box, and are the easiest to compare alongside each other. They are all rich text editors with loads of features that are easily added or customized through changes to configuration; and they all claim to provide advanced paste functionality. When it comes to professional development teams selecting an editor to use in their applications, usually these three will be top of the list to compare.

We also had a cursory look at some of the demo editors provided by Quill and Slate; however, these are quite different - Quill comes with basic features out of the box, and Slate is positioned as a framework for developing rich text editors. Both require more hands-on development to provide more advanced features and functionality.

In order to perform our comparison, we first identified a suitable instance of each editor to run our tests against. We found the following three online resources to be helpful for this purpose:

Then we created a sample Word document containing some of the most commonly used formatting features and pasted the content from Word into each of the editors.

NOTE: Our sample document was created with Word 16.45. There may be some discrepancies based on browser/OS used.

TinyMCE vs CKEditor vs Froala

After pasting content from Word into TinyMCE, CKEditor, and Froala, we found that some of the formatting was retained and some was not.

Here’s a summary of the results with more details about each below.

Test type

TinyMCE 5

CKEditor 4

Froala 3

Simple formatting

Continue numbering

Images: Alt text

Images: Resizing

Images: Cropping

Tables

Internal links

Indenting

Borders

Simple formatting

First we carried out some tests using some simple formatting, such as bold, italics, underline, headings, lists, links, emojis, colored fonts and highlighting. All three editors passed these basic tests.

Simple formatting retained by all editors.
Simple formatting retained by all editors.

Continue numbering

Lists are some of the most complicated elements to copy and paste correctly between applications. We tested bulleted lists and numbered lists, both with nested items. We also investigated whether numbering continued in a new list when the user specified to “Continue numbering” from a previous list. Once pasted, Froala does not continue numbering from a previous list, but starts the new list from 1 again.

Continue numbering retained by TinyMCE and CKEditor.
Continue numbering retained by TinyMCE and CKEditor.
Continue numbering not retained by Froala.
Continue numbering not retained by Froala.

Images

Images are probably the most complicated element to paste seamlessly between applications. For images, we wanted to know if alt text, resizing, and cropping would be maintained. We found that CKEditor lost the alt text, and images were imported at their original size. Whereas, although alt text and image size were retained by Froala, any cropping that users did in Word was not carried over.

Cropping retained by TinyMCE.
Cropping retained by TinyMCE.
Cropping not retained by CKEditor and Froala.
Cropping not retained by CKEditor and Froala.

Tables

With tables being the most common way to represent data in a more consumable way, we wanted to test some of the simplest customizations - header row, border color, and merged cells. These were retained in all three editors.

Table header row
Table header row, border color, and merged cells retained by all editors.

Internal links

Internal links are extremely useful for managing your information, especially in large documents where you want to link your readers to other sections in the same document. Internal links were not retained by CKEditor or Froala. However, TinyMCE creates an anchor against the referenced element and links to it correctly.

Indenting

We found that indented text was retained in TinyMCE and Froala, but not CKEditor.

Indenting retained by TinyMCE and Froala.
Indenting retained by TinyMCE and Froala.

 

Indenting not retained by CKEditor.
Indenting not retained by CKEditor.

 

Borders

The use of borders around paragraphs of text is commonly used as a simple way to layout content on a page, for example, to draw attention to tangentially related content like a note or an aside. We found that borders were retained by TinyMCE and Froala, but not CKEditor.

Paragraph border retained by TinyMCE and Froala.
Paragraph border retained by TinyMCE and Froala.

 

Paragraph border not retained by CKEditor.
Paragraph border not retained by CKEditor.

Slate and Quill

Although we were able to find full-featured demos of TinyMCE, CKEditor, and Froala that incorporated advanced paste functionality, these were more difficult to find for other editors or frameworks like Quill and Slate.

Quill comes with basic features out of the box, and Slate is a framework for developing rich text editors. It is typically up to developers to create or integrate more advanced features and functionality themselves.

We did, however, take a cursory look at some of the online demos provided to see how they compared with minimal additional customization:

  • Slate - When pasting content from Word into the Slate rich text demo, it copies across text only; images and all other formatting (e.g., bold, headings, tables, indenting) is not retained.

  • Quill - When pasting content from Word into the Quill interactive playground, basic formatting such as bold, italics, headings, and colors are retained; however, things like list indentation, tables, borders, and images are not carried over.

Try Tiny’s PowerPaste

You can try it out for yourself on our PowerPaste page where you can also find out more about it and run your own pressure test.

If you’ve already integrated TinyMCE as the rich text editor in your application, adding PowerPaste is as simple as adding the word powerpaste to the list of plugins in your TinyMCE configuration; for example:

tinymce.init({
  selector: "textarea",
  plugins: "powerpaste",
});

You’ll also need to make sure you have access to our premium features. PowerPaste is bundled with our Cloud Essential plan starting at $25 per month. Start a free 14 day trial. You can also access TinyMCE PowerPaste for self-hosted solutions through our sales team.

If you’re not already using TinyMCE, consider integrating it with your applications. Get started with our quick start guide.

Or contact us for more assistance or information about PowerPaste or how to get TinyMCE integrated with your applications for the best rich text editing experience around.

PowerPaste test document

DOCX (0.0MB)
CKEditorFroala
byBen Long

Computer scientist, storyteller, teacher, and an advocate of TinyMCE. Reminisces about programming on the MicroBee. Writes picture books for kids. Also the wearer of rad shoes. “Science isn’t finished until you share the story.”

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