Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Round-tripping to InDesign RTF to clean up unnecessary information, part of Using Word and InDesign Together.
There are a couple times when saving your word doc as a rtf file makes a lot of sense, and one of them is when it just starts acting weird. Even Microsoft recommends that if the file starts acting a little bizarrely in Word, you can do File > Save as in Word, and save it as a RTF file that's Rich Text Format. You're going to lose a lot of the extras that are in Word, but it does retain the formatting and all the text. Then you can always update the text, I'll call this wordfile.rtf. And then you would open that RTF again, right in Word, and then save it as a Doc file.
But I've actually found that that doesn't really do much good, because Word RTF files are just as full of crud as a Word Doc or DocX file. Instead, I found that it's much better to place the Word file into InDesign, export out as RTF from InDesign, and then use that RTF as the clean version. Let me show you how we would do that. And here is an example of how I would actually use this in production, not just because the Word file is damage, but because it actually does a fantastic job of cleaning out the unused styles.
Now, you may remember in a previous video, I talked about one of the best practices workflows is to map your Word styles to your InDesign styles. Here we're going to bring them into this history of San Francisco document that has a waiting text frame. Don't worry about the missing images, we're not really concerned about images here. And here in InDesign, we have a bunch of paragraph and a few character styles. The idea is that we would want to place that Word file into InDesign and map there styles to the InDesign style. So, I have here in this RTF folder a doc file called RTF-before. And we're going to turn on Show Import Options, turn off Replace Selected Item. The problem with mapping, this happens to me about 80% of the time with Word docs, is that if you give it a shot, turn on Preserve Styles and Formatting, customize style import, and click Style Mapping, look at all these styles! Look at all these! Now I know that my Word document does not use all those styles.
I'm going to click Cancel here. I did not say Import Unused Styles. Honest to Pete's, I do not know why that happens. But here is the fix. Create a new temporary InDesign document. You're not going to save this, so, don't worry about any settings. Place that same file, so, this is RTF-before. You want to place it with all the styles. You don't want to customize style import. Just preserve the styles. You don't need the flow the thing, you just want to create one frame then click inside that story and export it. So, go to File > Export and Export as an RTF out of InDesign.
InDesign does a far better job than Word does for some reason. We'll call this, from Indesign RTF. Now, let's go back to our original document, and I'm going to choose File > Place, and go to the desktop. From InDesign.rtf show the import options. We're going to go down here to customize style import. Huh! Check that out. These are the styles that are actually being used in that Word doc. Now, it's much easier for me to map Heading 1, 2, Title and Normal to body and so on, a lot faster.
What you see here, what this process of exporting from InDesign to RTF did, is it cleaned out a lot of the unnecessary information inside the Word file. And even if I wasn't planning on doing any kind of style mapping, if a Word doc is giving me trouble, I will often bring it through this process. So, you clean it up and have a healthier Word file to use in other documents.
- Understanding the differences between InDesign and Word styles
- Identifying which formatting attributes transfer and which don't
- Controlling text formatting when cutting and pasting
- Placing Word files in InDesign with the Import Options dialog box
- Linking to Word files for automatic updating
- Working with footnotes, hyperlinks, and tracked changes
- Learning best practices for fixing text formatting
- Extracting embedded images and converting Word art
- Converting local formatting to character styles with free scripts
- Round-tripping to InDesign RTF to clear out file corruption
- Syncing Google Docs with InDesign via DocsFlow
- Converting Word docs to InCopy for fast and accurate formatting