I'm a Mac user, and I have no problems copying text from Word to Joplin. Your mileage may vary if you're using Windows, of course... But here is an example from what I see on my Mac.
Note that I'm using macOS Big Sur in Dark Mode, and Joplin with the Nord theme (a dark theme as well). Microsoft Word, therefore, shows the toolbar and menu bar light-on-dark, but the 'main window' is black-on-white; when copying this over to Joplin, obviously the colours get reversed. But that has nothing to do with Joplin — it's just the way my own Mac is configured. If you have everything in Light Mode, you should see exactly the same thing on both Word and Joplin.
Secondly — Markdown has no concept of fonts, so, naturally enough, these are not copied; Joplin is rendering what it got from Word with whatever font has been set by default.
I'm using one standard template that comes with my version of MS Word — no changes, straight from the template (it's called Research Paper and comes with the Microsoft 360 version of Word for the Mac — I have no idea if it's a template that comes with all possible versions of Word, but the point is that it's something quite standard).
Set Word to View > Web Layout. Here is what I get:
Next, enter Joplin, switch to the Rich Text Editor, and copy:
Not too bad, right?
- Images are copied exactly 'as is' (more on that below)
- Heading 1, 2 etc. are preserved
- Lists seem to be preserved if they are 'default' lists (sorry, I didn't experiment with very fancy lists... just the one that comes with this rather simple template) — but see below
- Tables are approximated very reasonably! At least all the rows, columns, headers, and individual cells are all correctly copied and placed in their correct positions; obviously, the formatting is different, because, again, Markdown is not really about design but rather content...
- Quotations/Citations are not automatically converted to Markdown's own quotation format, but, alas, it's a small price to pay...
Sometimes, when copying certain things from web pages to Joplin, things may appear correct on the Rich Text Editor, but they're not correctly converted to Markdown.
However, this is not the case with rich text copied from Word:
This is almost perfect Markdown — well, except for the lists, they don't seem to be 'real' lists but rather paragraphs with bullet points.
Or are they? Let's switch back to the Rich Text Editor:
Everything is still intact! Nothing was lost in the conversion! (Well, almost)
- Notice the nice touch that even shows an appropriate
alt attribute for the image!
- Lists look good enough, but they're not 'real' Markdown lists; however, this should be easy to fix with a very simple search and replace — switching the bullet points for asterisks or hyphens should do the trick, I'm sure.
That's the result of my experiments. Note that I've deliberately used a 'Research Paper' as template since you mentioned using Word for taking notes in an academic environment
I've done a few more tests:
- I've also tried to copy some text from Word for the web to Joplin. The results were unconvincing — at first, it looks exactly like the Word document (as the HTML is correctly pasted), but, once switching to Markdown and back to rich text again, it reverts to pretty much the same format (if not even less) that the native Word app generates.