Join Michael Murphy for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing Word files with or without styles, part of InDesign Styles in Depth.
Most of the text we work with isn't generated directly in InDesign; it comes from text files, RTF files, and more often than not, Microsoft Word. Let's take a look at the ways you can exercise some measure of control over how the text formatting and styles from Word are imported into your InDesign files. There are a couple of ways to quickly get text from Word into InDesign. One is to go into the Word file, copy it and paste it right in. Doing that brings in no formatting whatsoever by default in InDesign, it just strips everything away and you get plain text.
The other option is to drag and drop from the finder or Windows Explorer and that brings in all of the formatting in the Word file whether you want it or not. The only way to establish some kind of middle ground and a happy medium that gives you some measure of control over how the text and styles from Word find their way into your InDesign document is to use the Place command. Before I place my first Word file, I am going to go over here and click and hold on the Paragraph styles panel and drag it out onto the page, click here to open it up, and I am going to do the same for Character Styles, click and drag it out, open it up and I am going to stack these two panels together.
So you can see that we are in a document in your Exercise files folder that actually has a number of styles in it, and I want to see what goes on in these panels, as I'm bringing in my Word text. To place my text, I will go to File > Place, navigate to my desktop to the exercise files folder Chapter_04 > 04-01 and I want to choose this health_article.doc file. Before I click Open, I want to make sure that I turn on Show Import Options by checking this box here. Now I will click Open and this opens the Microsoft Word Import options dialog, InDesign knows a lot about the word format, so there are a lot of things that you can choose to bring in or not bring in from Word via this dialog.
These are the InDesign default settings; they bring in a number of things like table of contents, text, footnotes and endnotes, and any number of other things. You have a few options as far as formatting goes, one is to remove styles and formatting from text and tables; that gets rid of absolutely everything that's been done in that Word doc and basically just brings in plain text. You can check Preserve Local Overrides, if you want to preserve things like bolds and italics, but bear in mind that any local override that was made in Word, a color change, a size change, a typeface change, every one of those is considered a local override and you are going to get those as well as your bold and italics.
The next option is to choose Preserve Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables with that selected you have a number of options of what you can elect to keep or discard from Word. One that I always make sure I set is to eliminate page breaks, Word page breaks in InDesign page breaks really do not translate. So I am going to choose No Breaks. I am going to turnoff Import Inline graphics, because I'm more than likely going to be placing different graphics than the ones that most people would place in Word. Once you have elected to Preserve Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables, you have two more choices about precisely how to do that.
One is to import styles automatically, that brings in all of the Word styles. And then there are additional options for how InDesign handles style conflicts. A style conflict would be a style and word having the same name as a style in InDesign. And from this menu you choose which one wins, by and large InDesign formatting always wins. So I keep these to use InDesign style definition. The last option is Customize Style Import and by checking this you activate the Style Mapping button, when I click that, I get a Style Mapping dialog.
And in this dialog, I get to pick style- by-style from my Microsoft Word styles on the left and my InDesign styles on the right, which Word style translates to which InDesign style. Many of the Word files that you import will probably look similar to this, just about everything in the document was styled with normal, everything else is a local override, you might have a heading 1 or 2, but you are not going to have a lot to work with in most circumstances. So I can at least assume that normal in Word was used on most of the body copy.
So at a minimum I can map that normal style to the body style that I have in my in InDesign document. And this other style List Paragraph is at least a bulleted or numbered list I happen to know it's a numbered lists, so I am going to associate that with my Body Numbered List Style. Click OK, and now I will click OK to place this Word file, I get a loaded text cursor and I'll just click and drag to place that on the page. Let me zoom in, I will hit the Z key, drag a marquee over that, and let's see what we've got.
This text here is actually using my body style, this text was using the normal style in Word, but now it's using my body style. It has overrides on it, but that's to be expected, that always happens with incoming Word text. And I can always clear those overrides out, there's always going to be some measure of cleanup once you import a Word file. But at least I've got my body copy assigned to the majority of the text. I've managed to hang onto my bolds and italics and my numbered list. Here in the Character styles panel, there is one little thing I just want to point out and that's this Style group folder that gets added every time you bring in a Word list.
And it has a character style and here called Word Imported List Style 1. There could be several reason here numbered style 2, 3, 4 and so on. And this little icon next to it is a clear indication that this is something that came in from Word, this always appears when you import a list from Word, regardless of what import method use. At this point it's all about cleanup and applying those additional styles that didn't get added when I imported the file. The import process from Word to InDesign is always going to be a matter of trade-offs, but by using the Word Import Options dialog, you can make choices about which trade-offs best suit your formatting and styling needs.
- Setting up a style-centric workspace
- Creating relationships between paragraph styles
- Using Quick Apply to apply styles
- Using GREP styles to automate text formatting
- Connecting paragraphs with Keep Options
- Creating, applying, and modifying object styles
- Maintaining links between styled tables and external data
- Applying styles with Find/Change
- Working with text variables
- Resolving missing font problems in styles
- Mapping Word styles to InDesign styles
- Export tagging styles for EPUB, HTML, and PDF