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Amount of content that can be copied into answers
Answer ID 2182   |   Last Review Date 12/17/2018

Is there a limitation to the amount of information (characters) I can copy into an answer?


Answer content


The Question and Answer fields in an answer record is a longblob field, which for practical purposes is unrestricted. Longblob fields allow up to 4 gigabytes of data. However, this only takes into account the type of database field which addresses the number of characters allowed in the field. This does not take into account the HTML editor (if enabled), the number of keywords indexed, or the process of saving and editing answers.

Usually when you copy content -- especially from Microsoft applications -- there is considerable extraneous HTML code that is copied as well to format the content. For example, it is not uncommon for 6,000 characters of content to generate 40,000+ characters of code that get copied in to the content field of the answer -- due to all of the extra HTML code.  To avoid this, right click and choose copy as text.

You can see how much extra code is being copied in by checking the source code for the answer. To do this, click the Source tab when editing the answer. 

Usability Considerations

When adding content to answers, it is important to consider the usability for the end-user who will be viewing and reading the answer. If there is too much information contained within a single answer, it can actually be more difficult for end-users to use your site, because they end up having to sift through considerable content to get to the information that is most useful to them.

Instead of copying the entire contents of a document or file into an answer, consider the options below with regard to your end-users and how they can access information.

Option 1: If possible break the overall comprehensive content into smaller sections of content and publish several answers with each answer containing a major section of the overall content.

Option 2: Instead of copying the contents of a file into an answer, place the file on a server along with the other pages of your Web site so that you can link to the file from the answer. That way, your users can open the data in another window if they wish.

Another option is to attach the file to the answer. This allows you to keep the content of the answer relatively short and still allow access to the full document.

Note: You can configure the answer type of a specific answer to be either URL or File Attachment so that when the Summary link is clicked from the Answer List page, the document or file opens directly from the Summary link.

Indexing Considerations

When an answer is saved, the number of words and phrases that are indexed for that answer is limited to 750 words and phrases.

As a result, long answers frequently do not have the entire content indexed so that end-users who perform a search may not see the answer returned in the search results.

For more information on indexing, refer to Answer ID 1914: Indexing keywords and phrases for answers