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Importing Word into InDesign, problem with styles

Mar 12, 2012 6:43 AM

OS 10.6, CS5

Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any experience with importing styled Word docs into InDesign?

Editors style their Word documents with some basic styles (Text, References, Headline, etc.) using a Word template that I created. Designers use import options to match the Word styles to the ID styles. This worked fine in Word 2004 and InDesign CS3: Word  "text" style would map on import to the InDesign "text" style, even though they had totally different attributes. Superscripts, italics, etc. would be respected as local overrides in InDesign.

Then we upgraded to CS5. Automatic mapping on import no longer seems to work: After importing text, all the styles in InDesign have local overrides assigned to them that don't make sense (hyphenation exceptions, tab settings). So I'm left with importing the Word styles, using auto-renaming so that InDesign explicitly does NOT match styles. Screen shot 2012-03-12 at 9.26.30 AM.png

Then delete the Word styles one by one from the paragraph style panel, replacing with the desired ID style.

 

This has gone on for several months and we've now upgraded to Office 2011 but that hasn't solved the problem.

With Word 2011 docx files, the import works almost like it did in CS3, the styles almost come in cleanly: If the style in Word has NO local overrides, such as italics or superscripts, the InDesign style is correctly applied. The problem is those local overrides in Word--InDesign not only respects the italic or superscript, it also respects the font attribute. All the Word styles are Times New Roman so all superscripts in InDesign are coming in as superscript + TNR. (see screenshot)Screen shot 2012-03-12 at 9.38.19 AM.png

Are we left with our original work-around? Importing styles then manually deleting and replacing them?

This is frustrating because it used to be smooth and seamless and while some new features of CS5 are great, it's annoying that it's broken this fundamental function!

I've tried saving the Word files as doc or rtf instead of docx but this doesn't make a difference in this problem.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 12, 2012 7:27 AM   in reply to allisonblake

    Could be “based on” issues.

     

     

     

    Do you have any styles based on Basic Character Style? If so, change it to none.

     

     

     

    And make sure you don’t have any character, paragraph or object style chosen when placing.

     

     

     

    Bob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 12, 2012 10:14 AM   in reply to allisonblake

    After importing text, all the styles in InDesign have local overrides assigned to them that don't make sense (hyphenation exceptions, tab settings).

     

    If you are confident that the overrides induced by Word import should not be included in the InDesign styles, then why not simply return to the style-mapping-import workflow? Include a new step: "Clear all overrides after placing Word document."  Or, alternately, I might run a script like  PrepText first, then clear all remaining overrides.

     

    This Word-file-import issue might be new to CS5 for English-language-only users, but I've been clearing all overrides (or, as above all remaining overrides) on Word documents in a wide variety of languages for some years now. I don't understand why

    importing the Word styles, using auto-renaming so that InDesign explicitly does NOT match styles.

    Then delete the Word styles one by one from the paragraph style panel, replacing with the desired ID style.

    is your only option. Sounds like a lot of manual work to me.

     
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    Mar 12, 2012 11:46 AM   in reply to allisonblake

    Sorry, Allison, I should have sworn off posting on the Internet on a day when I've not had any caffiene at all. You made that completely clear in your original post, I just had a momentary lapse of reading comprehension.

     

    Another possiblity for resolving your difficulties: To what extent do you have control over the workstations used by the editors? I've smoothed out some Word-file-import issues in the past by examining the normal.dot of some contributors and found that they've acquired years' worth of cruft, which in some cases (trial installs of translation memory tools, for example) has induced all kinds of style-override nonsense. Clearning 'em out has helped a great deal in a a number of cases.  If your editors are inside your organization, or otherwise willing to submit to delousing of their Word templates, then it might reduce the frequency of spurious overrides being applied in InDesign upon placing your Word files, because you could ensure that the styles that were being altered by simply opening docs in Word and working on them actually had the same definitions in the Word document template as they did in InDesign.

     

    I am uncertain, but I suspect that both the Word file format and the Word import filter in ID's Place tool are moving targets for developers on both sides. When I have some spare time I will do some test imports to see if I can find something worth a bug report, but to be honest, CS3 Word placing was never as seamless for me as it was for you. Zero of my contributors are working in English, so I've always had the create-charstyles-and-clear-the-rest-of-the-overrides step in my workflow, because even in the days of "seamless" CS3 import there would still be a lot of divergence induced by the fact that e.g. a Korean font would be named Gulim on one computer and 굴림 on the other computer. That still counts as an override, of course. So, welcome to my world, I guess.

     
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    Mar 12, 2012 11:50 AM   in reply to allisonblake

    Also, given that he's posted in this thread, I'm surprised that Bob hasn't already suggested InCopy to you. My exposure to it has been minimal, because I work for a nonprofit, and most of my contributors are independent contractors (meaning that it would be both too expensive and impracticable), but in the cases where I have used it, it's been pretty ideal for circumstances such as you describe.

     
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    Mar 12, 2012 12:07 PM   in reply to Joel Cherney

    I’ve kind of given up on that…Every time I recommend it all I get is the same negative attitude and frankly I’m tired of wasting my time.

     

     

     

    I’ve come to the conclusion that anyone interested in improving this kind of workflow would already be using it.

     

     

     

    Bob

     
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    Mar 12, 2012 12:21 PM   in reply to allisonblake

    Well, there you go, Bob - someone interested in improving this kind of workflow, who is already using it.

     

    Likewise, Allison, your workflow sounds like the monolingual, not-nonprofit, InCopy-using counterpart to what we do here, and you're already using all of the tricks that I use, and some that I can't. I don't see any profit in changing where you involve InCopy, either. Unfortunately there is no universally-recognized emoticon for "world-weary shrug + wan smile" or I'd use it here.

     
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    Mar 12, 2012 12:53 PM   in reply to allisonblake

    Okay…since you’re already using it, I would strongly encourage you to encourage the writers to adopt it.

     

     

     

    That way all the styles would be built in and the InDesign user would only have to place the file. Voila, no clean up, no mess.

     

     

     

    Bob

     
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    Mar 15, 2012 1:30 PM   in reply to allisonblake

    I should have been able to tell you about most of those things, but it's so long since I fixed the style-Based-On stuff in our .dot files that I forgot clean about it. Fortunately you don't have a significant percentage of contributors who have right-to-left keyboards turned on in Windows, or you'd have potentially unresolvable conflicts between alignment in text style and direction of text flow.

     

    Nice to know about the numbered list thing, though - I'd just been including "Convert all auto-bullets and auto-numbering to text before exporting RTF" in our workflow, I didn't know that automation in numbered lists could be preserved in any way. Thanks for posting that!

     
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    May 16, 2012 1:48 PM   in reply to allisonblake

    allisonblake:

    I had the same problem, so I looked up this forum. After reading your post, then Bob's, I found that Bob is right when he says:

    "Do you have any styles based on Basic Character Style? If so, change it to none. And make sure you don’t have any character, paragraph or object style chosen when placing."

     

    He is talking about CHARACTER Style in the first question. Alison, you answered :

    "Thanks, but unfortunately that isn't the problem. All styles are based on either No Paragraph Style, or on one of the other styles (Text Bullet is based on Text, for instance)."  YOU are referring to the Paragraph Style here, not the CHARACTER style palette that Bob is. Click on your text that is not abiding by your paragraph style, open your CHARACTER style palette and see what it says. Mine was highlighted with the wrong  CHARACTER style which was making my text italic, even though the character component in my paragraphc style was NOT defined as italic. Once I switched the CHARACTER style to "none", everything straightened out. So the Character Styles trump the Paragraph Styles, it seems to me and you better have them both open if you are importing text from Word.

     

    Thanks, Bob.

     

    Message was edited by: edevineone

     
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    Jun 19, 2013 1:23 AM   in reply to allisonblake

    FYI, this page is probably the most valuable page I've ever found on this site. The secret? You guys (and gals) are knowledgeable. You listen carefully to what's being said so you don't offer solutions she's already tried or that aren't relevant. You give detailed answers that don't leave the person wondering how to implement them. And you're relaxed, friendly and playful, too. What beauty and value that brings to a discussion like this.  Way to go!

     
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