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Cross references corrupted after placing Word document into an InDesign document

Aug 3, 2012 6:52 AM

Tags: #microsoft_word #cross_references #file>place

I am placing a word document which contains cross references to headers and captions/figures within the document. They seem to be fine and function correctly in the Word document, however, after I place this word doc into my InDesign doc, I take a look at the cross references panel and notice that the cross references have been corrupted. It is wrapping the wrong portions of text from the cross reference destinations. See screenshot for a visual of how the cross references are malformed. For example the 7th cross reference in the list should say Framework Details, not "Framework Detai


InDesign Cross References Panel - showing malformed bits of text


Another visual of this issue can be seen if I view the text frame in Story Editor view, see below. You can see that the cross reference source tags (blue arrow like symbols) are wrapped around the wrong portions of text. The blue tags shoud be wrapped around Framework Details and 52


InDesign Story Editor




You can see below as to why I think the cross references are fine in the Word doc, you can see the same cross reference I used in the example above in the word doc and it is wrapping the correct portion of text:


Word - showing cross reference is formed corerctly


Why is this not being maintained after placing this file into InDesign?


Also I am not performing any cross reference updates after I import, this problem occurs immediately after the place of the doc.


Why would InDesign be having difficulty in importing these cross references? I have set up a simple test Word document with cross references to headers and figures in and they have imported fine. What could be wrong with this other particular word doc that would be causing this "corruption" of cross references? This is not only causing my cross references to break visually and lack the update capability but also I cannot export the InDesign doc to an ePub as it keeps crashing. I believe from my reading on the web that if there is only one broken cross reference source i.e. the cross reference destination that it is trying to link to is missing, then the export to epub will fail. So this is causing a massive headache for me at the minute.


Is there anything I could be looking at in the Word doc to try and figure out why the porblem is occuring in the first place?


If anyone has any tips or a possible solution to this I would really appreciate it. Even better if someone knows the reason why this is happening I can tackle it from the source and prevent it happening time and time again.


Thanks, Dave

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2012 7:41 AM   in reply to davehaigh

    What version of ID, and what format are you saving in Word?

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    Aug 3, 2012 7:50 AM   in reply to davehaigh

    Try saving as .doc and see if it makes a difference.

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    Aug 3, 2012 8:31 AM   in reply to davehaigh

    I've never tried palcing a Word file with cross-refs, so I'm a bit beyond my comfort level. Word Import can be very flakey, though.


    Presumably you don't have un-accepted tracked changes? Those cause huge headaches. Sometimes RTF works when the native Word formats fail, but I don't recall that RTF supports cross-refs so that may not help. Can you backsave to Word 2000 .doc?


    Jongware may drop by with some other ideas. I suspect he would suggest that if you have CS3 or CS4 you place the file in that version, then export as tagged text and import that into CS5.

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    Aug 3, 2012 12:03 PM   in reply to davehaigh

    Tracking changes is an option in Word that allows various users to make changes which can then be accepted or rejected by a responsible party.  Should be in the Tools menu in Word.

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    Aug 6, 2012 4:30 AM   in reply to davehaigh

    I'm still hoping Jongware will pop in. He has a lot more experience with this kind of problem.

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    Aug 6, 2012 4:56 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Only bad experiences, Peter ...


    I've seen this character shifting before on numerous occasions, both with cross references and with hyperlinks. (It's especially funny with hyperlinks, 'cause you can see that the outline box shifts one character at a time per each next link...)


    The thing is it's not just limited to hyperlinks and cross refs. Dave's screenshot doesn't show bold, italics, or other local formatting, but it's a fair bet these are off by a couple of characters as well.


    Dave's experiment of making a "minimal" Word document to confirm it's a persistent bug didn't work. I found the same thing: either a document comes in fine, or everything is foo-bar right from the start. There must be some internal Word code that InDesign forgets to count as 'a character position'. Without delving into the Word file with some very advanced tools, it's anyone's guess what code that would be.


    I can only offer the one solution that works for me: in Word, remove all hyperlinks (which is what Word uses for internal links as well as for external ones) and convert all cross-references to text. Then, if the file finally imports fine, re-build them in InDesign. It's a cumbersome workaround, but slightly better (only just) than checking each reference, delete, rebuild, check next -- etc. (And with that the chance that your other text attributes are also off.)

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    Aug 6, 2012 6:09 AM   in reply to davehaigh

    davehaigh wrote:


    Have you any other theories or tests I could try?


    No, my single theory is the "some Word code that's not counted in InDesign" one, based solely on my observations of the shifting stuff.


    Maybe you could repeat your experiments with saving your doc as RTF ("Rich Text Format"), which, despite its history and name, is just a plain Word document (read: "All Crap Included™") but written out in human readable form. So if you can locate a paragraph in which your cross-reference is okay, and one where it is not, there logically must be something in between that InDesign ignores but Word does not.


    Note that most likely, even if you find the problem, you cannot "do" anything about it. The only thing you can do with this information, is pass it on to Adobe in a Bug Report. But don't hold your breath; I have reported this, and similar issues, for several different versions of ID, and It Only Got Worse with every new release.

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