Importing Microsoft Word Files into InDesign
Importing and styling copy from Word needn’t be hard work or tedious. Here are a few techniques to help you get the most from the software.
Getting the Best Import
The most successful imports from Word maximize compatibility and minimize manual cleanup. To do this it helps to have a full understanding of InDesign’s Microsoft Word Import Options dialog box. First, select Show Import Options in InDesign’s Place dialog while importing a Word or RTF file.
In the Include section, you decide what special Word text you want to import, and then check the appropriate boxes. Note that neither a table of contents nor index will convert as automatically updated InDesign text.
Footnotes and endnotes, however, will be live. They may be renumbered to account for any footnotes in the current document, and they’ll reflect InDesign’s footnote settings rather than Word’s, but footnotes and their references are preserved. Endnotes will be placed at the end of the placed story.
In the Formatting section, you choose how styles and formatting from the Word document are handled in the InDesign document. Your first choice is to start from scratch, importing only text without formatting of any kind, with the Remove Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables radio button option. Once chosen, you can elect to keep formatting (bold, italics, etc.) with the Preserve Local Overrides option. At this point, you can also control how InDesign should handle tables: left as tables unformatted or converted to tabbed text, also unformatted.
Electing to Preserve Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables activates an array of other options. First comes the question of what do with page breaks created in Word. You can choose (No Breaks) which keep them such that, where the story broke pages in Word it will also break in InDesign (Preserve Page Breaks); or convert the page breaks to column breaks (Convert to Column Breaks). The last option is most often useful when taking a single-column Word document and flowing it into a multiple column InDesign layout.
By default text that is bulleted or numbered in Word will be bulleted or numbered in InDesign, using InDesign’s own dynamic bullets and numbers. Checking Convert Bullets and Numbers to Text will instead convert live bullets to standard text bullet characters and live numbers in a list to straight numbers.
Finally, do choose how paragraph and character styles in the Word document come into InDesign. If you select Import Styles Automatically, all in-use text styles will end up in InDesign as paragraph or character styles. If styles of the same name already exist in the InDesign document, you’ll have what’s called style conflicts. These conflicts must be resolved somehow. Your choices, available from the two dropdown menus, are to:
Use InDesign Style Definition, ignoring whatever attributes are present in the Word style definition.
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