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InDesign to Excel - Export & Import Utility

Nov 21, 2012 7:48 AM

Tags: #export #excel|indesign #excel_conversion



My wife is a freelance designer  & im a software developer. We worked together on one of her freelance assignments which involved transcreation of indesign document in variuous languages.


I wrote software which would export all the text content from indesign idml file to excel sheet. Any one can edit these excel sheets & software will be able to merge it back and create new idml file from it. Basically its easier to export and import text back in to idml files.


Heres use case : Take idml file , export all text content to excel sheet with just click of a button and send it to translators/proofreaders/editors. When they are done with it - simply merge it back in to original idml file within seconds (without graphic designer spending time on copy-n-pasting in to indesign file)


I think this can reduce indesign text copy-n-paste job time by 90%


I would like to know is there any market for such utility & would it make any sense to develop it any furthur.



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 12:54 PM   in reply to mpunaskar

    The export out of InDesign is interesting but would only really be useful if the multiple variances of text was an after-thought. If you knew in advance you were going to do this, you would set the file and work flow up diffently. As for the import, InDesign's built-in Data Merge does this.


    Someone with more knowledge on this might add to this but I believe InCopy is a close equivalent to what you have been doing.

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    Nov 21, 2012 1:33 PM   in reply to mpunaskar

    I don't mean to discourage you, but there is actually already a large and robust market for such tools. See SDL Trados, Kilgray memoQ, et cetera. I think that Rorohiko's StoryTweaker is the closest match to what you've done. I know few translators who prefer working in Excel over other applications - in fact I have a folder full of VBAs to move multilingual content out of Excel into Word and back, simply because the text-editing tools in Excel are pretty abysmally bad, at least from the perspectives of the translators I have asked about the matter.


    Besides, if you wanted to work in a tabular format, you'd already be using an app like Trados or SDLX or something like that.

    (without graphic designer spending time on copy-n-pasting in to indesign file)


    Actually, over the last fifteen years I've spent as a DTP wonk in the translation industry, I've found that graphic designers are pretty universally bad at this task. Each language has its own typographical conventions, and the graphic designers that recognize this fact are unfortunately quite rare. Furthermore, you only have to do one control-c alt-tab control-v job before you realize that there must be a better way to do it.


    Sorry to rain on your parade, but you're kind of reinventing the wheel here. That being said, the firms that have a lock on the Compuer-Aided Translation tools (CATs) or Translation Environment Tools (TEnTs) tend to have fairly high prices, even on their introductory toolsets. There may be some slack points in that market that I don't see. I'd suggest asking someplace else, like ProZ or Translator's Cafe, or places where InDesign expertise is less common.

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    Apr 9, 2013 9:08 PM   in reply to mpunaskar

    Would you be willing to share this with me?

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 25, 2013 2:20 AM   in reply to mpunaskar

    I'd highly interested in that solution, specifically for the XLS export (conversion of textual content into a database). Would you be willing to share it?

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