Re: question about highlighting text.

Luke Davis


I did some testing based on your message.

First, when trying to describe a problem, or demonstrate how you tested, it's always good to have a baseline from which to work. So, here is the document I used.
In order to render it, paste the following single line into the address bar of your web browser of choice.

data:text/html,<p>Paragraph 1.</p><p>Paragraph 2. This second paragraph, contains <b>bold</b>, as well as <u>underlined text</u>. Not to mention some <i>italics</i>.</p><p>Paragraph 3. This one has a built in<br />line break.</p>

That contains three paragraphs. One very short. One with a long sentence that visually might span two lines. The second also contains some formatting. The third contains a sentence with an intentional line break.

Okay, so on to some testing.

Copy from browse mode, via select all (Control+A) or shift+arrows:

Pasting into notepad, results in text, with line breaks at the end of each of four lines, one of which being longish in context, although it could be of arbitrary length and would still appear the same:
Paragraph 1.
Paragraph 2. This second paragraph, contains bold, as well as underlined text. Not to mention some italics.
Paragraph 3. This one has a built in
line break.

In text, that is considered four paragraphs, though there are no blank lines between them. I imagine the sighted would find this hard to read.

When pasting into Word 2019, the result has five lines, but four paragraphs. It pastes with my default font and size, so that the word "italics." appears on its own line, even though it is part of the second paragraph.
That can be demonstrated by character by character navigation, or by having Word right align that paragraph, and then checking what text got right aligned.

The single (in HTML) paragraph with the line break, results in two paragraphs in Word, because of the hard newline at the end.
Word's concept of a paragraph does not include hard returns, so this results in two paragraphs.

But, and I think this really needs to be understood well, my paragraphs in word are set to 1.1 line separations. NVDA+F says "line spacing 1.1 lines". It could just as easily say "double", in which case there would be a blank line after each actual line, even though there is no extra blank line in the text. There is no way for you to determine that through arrow key navigation, it is strictly a virtual line width, that is applied stylistically to the output.

Next up, Pressing NVDA+F2, then Control+A, in browse mode, as Brian suggested:

The only way that works, is if you also press bypass (NVDA+F2), before pressing Control+C to copy. Otherwise NVDA will say "No selection".
Personally I find it quicker to just hit focus mode, control+a, control+c, browse mode, because it can all be done with one hand and minimal movement (using the edge of my hand to press control); but to each his own.

Copying in one of those two ways, and then pasting into notepad, gets you:
Paragraph 1.

Paragraph 2. This second paragraph, contains bold, as well as underlined text. Not to mention some italics.

Paragraph 3. This one has a built in
line break.

I.E. six lines, with a blank between the paragraphs. Probably easier to read if you're using the ASCII version. But otherwise no real difference.

Pasting that into word, however, is very different from a font prospective, but no different from a paragraph formatting prospective.

On the font side, you get whatever the web font was if Word can do it, and what it calls "web style".
The paragraphs are still the same paragraphs, but now the bold, underlining, etc., is correctly rendered.

The line spacing, however, is set to single, instead of my normal 1.1, or my old normal of double (2 lines). So in that way, the copying from focus mode is actually worse. Though that doesn't really matter if you're going to select all in the word document, and change the font; or if you are going to change the paragraph spacing for the entire document.

But in no case does Word put a screen reader visible blank line between each paragraph, as the focus mode copy does in Notepad. That probably does make it easier for the sighted to read things in Notepad form, but it is rare in daily life to run into text formatted or shown that way (I.E. without any kind of presentational styling).

So Gene, I have to say that your original concern about pasting from browse mode copy, seems to be busted. Although the old known truth about the loss of font styling information when copied that way, is still true.


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