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Using Word templates

From: Creating Long Documents with InDesign

Video: Using Word templates

Microsoft Word is an application that some InDesign users love to hate. There are good alternatives to Word, like InCopy for example, but there's no getting around Word in some long document workflows. Word has been around for a long time. It's ubiquitous, it's laden with features and idiosyncrasies, and it does not always play well with InDesign. Sometimes painstakingly crafted Word files fail to import into InDesign or the import works, but it produces strange or usable results, and so some users get frustrated and strip out all the formatting the Word user put into the file, and pretty much start from scratch.

Using Word templates

Microsoft Word is an application that some InDesign users love to hate. There are good alternatives to Word, like InCopy for example, but there's no getting around Word in some long document workflows. Word has been around for a long time. It's ubiquitous, it's laden with features and idiosyncrasies, and it does not always play well with InDesign. Sometimes painstakingly crafted Word files fail to import into InDesign or the import works, but it produces strange or usable results, and so some users get frustrated and strip out all the formatting the Word user put into the file, and pretty much start from scratch.

Well, that is a valid approach, but another potentially more efficient way is to create a simple RTF document that will serve as a stable, clean template for writers. The idea is to setup and test this file so that when it comes back to you with real content in it, you'll have a minimum of headaches and work to do. So here I have my InDesign file created for my template and I've added some placeholder text with style examples for my Word users to use. Things like the chapter title and body text, some of the subheads and run-ins, and some instructions for where they're supposed to be used.

Then with my cursor in this text frame, I will choose File > Export > Rich Text Format, and I will just call this WordTemplate. I will switch over to Microsoft Word and open it. And you can see this is a really simplified example, things like lists and bullets, nested styles, GREP styles, all that fancy stuff isn't going to come across, and that actually raises an important point; that you should make your writing template as uncomplicated as possible. And while it can be tempting to try and fuss and try to get it just right, I would suggest that in most cases you don't spend a lot of time trying to tweak anything in Word to resemble an InDesign document too closely.

You may end up spending a lot of time making something and it's just too hard for your Word users to use. You are just never going to get a perfect simulation of your InDesign layout in Word. If this is really a requirement, you should be using InCopy and not Word in your workflow. In fact, matching the styling of the InDesign document may just get in your author's way, so strip the styles down, make them very readable and easy to use, and it'll increase the likelihood that they actually will be used. All right, so now in Word as the writer, I'll just edit some of the text, like I will add a chapter title here, and I could go on, go through this document and add text and style it, but I actually have another document that's sort of in a finished state.

So I will choose that, and say, this is the finished state that my writer delivered to me. I'll close that and switch back to InDesign, delete my placeholder text, and I will press Command + D or Ctrl + D to bring up the Place dialog box. I'll navigate to that finished RTF file and in the Place dialog box I am going to hold down the Shift key while I click Open, to bring up my RTF Import Options and the important thing in here is that I have Preserved Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables selected.

Now you might think, okay, I can just select Import Styles Automatically and that should work to keep all my formatting. After all this RTF file started out its life in InDesign, you would think the styles would roundtrip. But actually, let's just click OK and see what happens when I try to do that. So I will click in my document to place it, and while the formatting looks okay. If I go over to my Paragraph Styles panel and scroll down, I can see that a whole bunch of styles have been added here by the presence of this disk icon, and if I select my text, I can see that it's actually styled with the styles, and not in my styles that I wanted, the ones up here, in the Style groups.

This is a little idiosyncrasy of InDesign; it doesn't recognize its own style groups when you import RTF back in. So you need to setup a custom style mapping in that Import dialog box. So let's undo to get rid of this text and the bogus styles, and we'll try to place again. So I will press Command + D or Ctrl + D, select my RTF, hold down the shift key and click Open, and this time in the dialog box, we are going to click on Customize Style Import > Style Mapping. And here I can setup Custom Mapping for each and every paragraph style.

So for BodyText, I can match it over to BodyText, BodyFirst can go to BodyFirst, and so on. And this would take a long time to setup all these style mappings. so actually I am going to cancel out of here and go to the presets where I've setup a custom preset called CheeseBook that has all the mappings that I need. To save a preset, setup the mappings and then click on Save Preset over here. I am going click OK and place my text and now it looks like it's formatted okay, and I select it, and I can see that really is using the correct paragraph style, and no other styles have been added to my Styles panel.

But the acid test is how does this work in the real world? If you can arrange a little check in with the folks using your writing template in Word, have them try it out and give you some feedback, including a file that you placed back into InDesign like this and see the results, even if it's not complete. A simple email exchange, a phone call or an Acrobat Connect Session, could save you hours of work and aggravation, and you're also making the point to the author that it's worth his or her time to apply those styles, and that doing so will really help get the project done. It won't work in every situation, but it doesn't hurt to reach out and try to communicate so that everyone can understand the workflow.

In this video, we saw how to get a simple Word authoring template out of your InDesign layout template, and the key word there is simple, simple document structure, simple styling, and simple instructions. Strive to make the most easy-to-use template, create presets for importing back into your layouts and you just might avoid most of Words' quirks that have been upsetting InDesign users for years.

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This video is part of

Image for Creating Long Documents with InDesign
Creating Long Documents with InDesign

59 video lessons · 15772 viewers

Mike Rankin
Author

 
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  1. 10m 48s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. Using the exercise files and scripts
      1m 51s
    3. Long-document workflow overview
      4m 20s
    4. Analyzing the planned output
      3m 43s
  2. 34m 7s
    1. Using master pages
      9m 34s
    2. Using layers
      7m 23s
    3. Using text variables
      6m 42s
    4. Using section markers
      5m 44s
    5. Synchronizing text
      4m 44s
  3. 26m 16s
    1. Using InDesign templates
      7m 10s
    2. Setting up preferences
      3m 27s
    3. Using Word templates
      5m 50s
    4. InCopy workflows
      5m 17s
    5. Creating a production manual
      4m 32s
  4. 40m 2s
    1. Using Based On styles
      6m 14s
    2. Using nested styles
      5m 56s
    3. Using Next Style
      3m 39s
    4. Using GREP styles
      6m 17s
    5. Using object styles
      2m 48s
    6. Using table and cell styles
      5m 8s
    7. Using swatches
      5m 33s
    8. Using Quick Apply
      4m 27s
  5. 37m 57s
    1. Placing text
      4m 57s
    2. Placing images
      3m 41s
    3. Creating metadata captions
      4m 3s
    4. Using Mini Bridge
      4m 38s
    5. Using libraries and snippets
      6m 4s
    6. Using GREP Find/Change
      5m 5s
    7. Find/Change tips
      5m 21s
    8. Using Layout Adjustment
      4m 8s
  6. 15m 53s
    1. Using Notes
      4m 7s
    2. Tracking changes
      4m 36s
    3. Using CS Review
      7m 10s
  7. 34m 43s
    1. Creating tables of contents
      7m 9s
    2. Alternative uses for the TOC feature
      4m 9s
    3. Creating cross-references
      6m 8s
    4. Creating footnotes
      6m 31s
    5. Importing footnotes
      6m 47s
    6. Creating endnotes
      3m 59s
  8. 33m 50s
    1. Scoping out the index
      2m 19s
    2. Creating index topics and references
      9m 29s
    3. Creating index cross-references
      3m 1s
    4. Creating index references with Find/Change
      3m 31s
    5. Generating an index
      3m 35s
    6. Preserving formatting in an index
      5m 13s
    7. Using third-party indexing tools
      6m 42s
  9. 26m 44s
    1. Using InDesign book files
      4m 37s
    2. Numbering book documents
      5m 46s
    3. Synchronizing book documents
      7m 5s
    4. Preflighting book documents
      3m 49s
    5. Outputting book documents
      5m 27s
  10. 12m 54s
    1. Using conditional text
      5m 1s
    2. Using Smart Text Reflow
      4m 3s
    3. Using object styles for customization
      3m 50s
  11. 25m 17s
    1. Preflighting documents
      6m 56s
    2. Exporting to print PDF
      5m 26s
    3. Exporting to interactive PDF
      5m 36s
    4. Archiving a project
      7m 19s
  12. 48s
    1. Goodbye
      48s

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