Anne-Marie Concepcion has just produced an excellent video on converting files from Word to InDesign on Lynda.com:
Bob Levine has a link for a free intro week on Lynda.com, and hopefully he'll chime in tomorrow morning to tell you what it is.
Hi Steve, thanks. I've been a subscriber of Lynda.com since 2006, and have watched a few of Anne-Marie's courses. They are definitely worth recommending.
We often get word files to be "converted" to Indesign (now CC for us but in Windows). We have a macro running which converts lots of styles to char styles (italic, bold ...) before importing.
We have a template made in CC and afterwards exported it as rtf. We saved that rft as a word-template. This template works fine, but many of the "special feature" of Word cause problems, mainly because either ID doesn't recognize the code, or ID makes something else for it. Clearing this isn't simple, if it's a short story, we convert all the text to a basic para style (no grep styles, no nested styles), getting rid of all the "overrides", and start by manually reformatting.
My advice: if you start from scratch, use ID from the start, maybe some "things" will be more difficult, but as you put it, if you have to start all over again, it didn't help a lot typing the text in "word" first.