A method and system is provided that processes the content of a document separately from information used to describe the structure of the content in the document. Content can be text, alphanumeric data, or any other information contained in a document. Initially, the method provides a content entity capable of storing and manipulating the content stored in a storage area. The manipulation of content in the storage area includes inserting content in the content entity identified by a start position and a stop position, removing content from the content entity, and retrieving content from the storage area. A separate document entity is provided that uses element entities to represent the structure of the text without the content. The document entity is used to retrieve information from the element entities and determine the location of content in the content entity. The information retrieved from the element entities is used to manipulate the content stored in the storage area associated with the content entity.