8 Replies Latest reply on Mar 5, 2013 10:57 PM by Vamitul

    Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign

    vinothr82

      I have been looking into the plausibility of importing a MS word document, wherein the document is of single page with headers, footers, and a 2-column text.

      The import should work in a way that the 2-col should appear in two different text frames and the preserve the (2-column) layout also in InDesign after the import.

       

      On importing the document I found, surprisingly, that the headers aren't included, though I have checked with all the available options in the import dialog.

       

      So my requirement is as follows:

      1. Import 2-column word doc as such in InDesign

      2. Import headers also

       

      Any suggestions or help in the form of script would be appreciated.

       

      Thanks,

      Vinoth

        • 1. Re: Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign
          Vamitul Level 4

          there is no easy way of importing headers from word, as indesign does not support a headers feature similar to msWord. You can fake it a bit by first converting the word headers to text, and creating a good indesign template, using variables. The same goes for columns. Ultimatly it depends a lot on what are you trying to achieve. How many of those 1 page documents do you have?

          • 2. Re: Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign
            vinothr82 Level 1

            Yes, I am aware that the headers and footers of a doc aren't imported in InDesign.

            Can you explain what you mean by "fake it a bit by converting the word headers to text and creating indd template"?

            I just have a word document and InDesign to work with. Assume that I do not have any word processing application.

             

            To my knowledge, there are two options either through COM to talk with MS Word or by understanding the binary structure of the doc file.

            Kindly throw some light on the solution you purpose. It shall be really helpful.

             

            Regards,

            Vinoth

            • 3. Re: Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign
              Vamitul Level 4

              Assume that I do not have any word processing application.

              without doing any "preprocessing" of the source document you are out of luck.

              Here is my workflow for a somewhat similar situation:

              We have a word macro (MS Word supports visual basic as a scripting enviroment) that works on all documents in the selected folder.

              This macro does the following (more or less):

              First it "reads" the headers and footers of the document and inserts them as the first/second paragraph of the document like this:

              <hAnchor>This text will be the header</hAnchor>

              <fAnchor>This text will be the footer</fAnchor>

               

              Second it looks for where the columns break and inserts this: <colBreak/>

               

              Then I import the documents into a Indesign template that has

              1) defined "Running Header" variables using Paragraph Styles (http://help.adobe.com/en_US/indesign/cs/using/WSa285fff53dea4f8617383751001ea8cb3f-7111a.h tml#WSCF210E77-5E6E-4a70-90BB-AA5D1A1F183Ba)

              2) A two column layout, with the frames threaded, as needed.

               

              I run a script that converts the <hAnchor> and <fAnchor> to a anchored frame positioned way outside of the page and applies the correct paragraph styles taht where defined in the text variables. It also looks for <colBreak/> and replaces it with a column break.

               

              That is about it.

              Like i said it's quite some work before you get stared, so if you only have a handfull of documents, and it's a one-time only thing, it's easier to just do them by hand. If not, and you need more help with the indesign part, contact me in private and i'll see what i can do. Not sure about the Word part, as automating Word is another collegue's domain, and she's not very keen on sharing.

              • 4. Re: Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign
                Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                You should not expect to reuse Word formats and/or layout in InDesign in any way.

                Word is good for text input but not for layouting. Do all layout and format things in InDesign without any relation to your original Word document.

                You have to set up a new INDD and make different decissions:

                1. Set up an empty indd
                2. Set up at least one master
                3. Define an object style for two columns
                4. Define paragraph styles
                5. On the master make textframes with text variables which will be used fr your headers/footers

                 

                Then I import the documents into a Indesign template that has

                1) defined "Running Header" variables using Paragraph Styles (http://help.adobe.com/en_US/indesign/cs/using/WSa285fff53dea4f86173837 51001ea8cb3f-7111a.html#WSCF210E77-5E6E-4a70-90BB-AA5D1A1F183Ba)

                2) A two column layout, with the frames threaded, as needed.

                 

                I run a script that converts the <hAnchor> and <fAnchor> to a anchored frame positioned way outside of the page and applies the correct paragraph styles taht where defined in the text variables. It also looks for <colBreak/> and replaces it with a column break.

                Sorry, I would not recommend to word with several text threads to make a multi column layout. That was done up to InDesign CS4, but since CS5 you should use only a single text frame with multiple columns, otherwise you could not use the the span column feature which gives you the oportunity to span text ovr serveral columns.

                • 5. Re: Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign
                  Vamitul Level 4

                  Willi, in theory i agree with you, however:

                   

                  You don't always have the luxury of doing all the layouting in Indesign. My case a few weeks back: 1250 word documents form various clients, 4 pages each, mostly the same structure, to be converted to leaflets. Deadline: 2 days.

                   

                  About the span columns: At least in CS 5 is very buggy. The "keep" options do not work, if you have footnotes you are in for a lot of pain, and they 'eat up' a ton of computing resources. In most cases i fell that "the old way" of doing this is better.

                  • 6. Re: Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign
                    Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                    Vamitul wrote:

                     

                    Willi, in theory i agree with you, however:

                     

                    You don't always have the luxury of doing all the layouting in Indesign. My case a few weeks back: 1250 word documents form various clients, 4 pages each, mostly the same structure, to be converted to leaflets. Deadline: 2 days.

                     

                    About the span columns: At least in CS 5 is very buggy. The "keep" options do not work, if you have footnotes you are in for a lot of pain, and they 'eat up' a ton of computing resources. In most cases i fell that "the old way" of doing this is better.

                    Sorry, I disagree:

                    1. Formatting has to be done completely in InDesign. If you need to to 1250 docx than it is urgent that you set up properly 1 indt! Even if they have mostly the same structure. Then it is simple to convert it into indd. (I have done it several 1000 times in different languages German/English/Spanish/Italien, and here is Word painful.)
                    2. The span feature has been improved in CS6, also the problem with the footnotes has been resolved.
                    3. Everyone who works with InDesign should know that he cannot honor word formatting in any way because this will cause problems.
                    • 7. Re: Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign
                      [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                      Vamitul wrote:

                      You don't always have the luxury of doing all the layouting in Indesign. My case a few weeks back: 1250 word documents form various clients, 4 pages each, mostly the same structure, to be converted to leaflets. Deadline: 2 days.

                       

                      Willi suggested Part I for this: an indt template. I raise with a script: open the template, import the Word file, creating as many pages as necessary, do some basic clean-up of styles and fonts (*), then save; and do so on every file in a certain folder. Wrote this a while ago, working nicely so far (except for the irritating random crash problem that every version of ID has on importing Word files, including CS6).

                      By way of encore, on saving as .indd my script truncates the original Word file name to 5 characters, and sorts and then adds them to new a Book document with the name of the parent folder.

                       

                      Oh alright then, even so 1250 documents in 2 days is still a lot. Did you make that deadline?

                       

                      (*) It always amazes me what rubbish writers are able to concoct in Word. By default, I replace all standard MS fonts with Times NR (Calibri, Cambria, Arial, Symbol, MS Mincho) -- so then only a dozen non-standard fonts are "in use", usually for hard returns, spaces, and every now and then the occasional Really Weird Font because the author couldn't be bothered to locate the "ë" glyph and so downloaded a Cyrillic font to use its "ё" (U+0451).

                      • 8. Re: Importing 2-column word doc in InDesign
                        Vamitul Level 4

                        hey Jongware

                        yep, i made the deadline with time to spare. but what i described as my "workflow" is quite a simplification of what i do. The template part is a no-brainer, and maybe i didn't underlined that step properly in my post. I also use tons of automation both on the word side and on indesign (in general most of my time 'working' with indesign is spent running this and that script).

                        On thing i am lucky is that most of my clients actually work very well in MS Word, using styles for formatting etc.

                        The automation tools my colleagues did for word are also amazing, as they convert almost any kind of formatting to a system of xml-like tags (for example, tables formatting tags contains everything from the width of the stroke to background color cell alignment etc etc). I know it would be better to use Indesign Tagged Text (and we are planning to switch to it, or to idml when there is time for that), but the system grew in time, from a simple system used to 'mark' simple formatting like bold/italics etc.

                        When I import a preprocessed document in Indesign i usually import it using the "remove styles and formatting" option (this also takes care of the "irritating random crash problem that every version of ID has on importing Word files", except when working with really large tables - i still can't believe word has better support for tables and footnotes than Indesign-), then run a script that handles most/all formatting.

                        For the metric ton of leaflets i had to do, i used a similar (but a bit more complex) system to what you suggested: created the template, used a excel file as a database for: location of the source (word) documents; location of assets (images/logos - in word they are low-res versions); client name; client address (had to add this things to the metadata of the final PDF's); name of the file, made a script to create all the documents, export them as PDF's, and my colleagues made another little program to send all the PDF's - in the hotfolder - by e-mail, to it's intended client (using the said-before metadata).

                        So the most work involved in that project was making the automations, then wait around, drink a ton of coffee, until everything was finished. I only had to intervene manually in about 20 or 30 leaflets to fix problems like properly breaking a title or moving a bit some image.