In a nutshell, eliminate the manual hunt and peck method.
Find > Format > Character = Italic
Replace > Style = Ital
That's one way. I rather prefer the "run the Visual Basic script that creates character styles in Word to replace the local formatting, then place the Word doc instead of copying and pasting, and have the Word character style map onto one already present in InDesign" method. Pretty sure that Anne-Marie covers that, to be honest.
It's a question of optimal workflow, and my inclination is to perform hygiene outside of InDesign because I'd rather not trust the Word filter to catch every bit of MS funkiness. But at least trusting the Word import filter is safer than trusting the clipboard.
I use Preptext script to catch all imported text
It's a huge timesaver!
I import all the text as raw with copy and paste - I don't use the InDesign Word Importer dialog boxes anymore.
Once I have all the text in I can start applying the styles. But only after running PrepText
I've used PrepText in some cases, but I like to have more control over the construction of the character styles. I'm sure that if I had the JS chops of Theun then I'd make my own PrepTextForComplexScripts.js but it was easier to just record some actions in Word and duct-tape some VB together.
It adds the basic styling of text as character styles.
To be honest, I wish InDesign added the character style.
And CTRL B applied the style rather then the Font version of Bold.
Same for italic etc.
I wish InDesign was more intelligent in dealing with word file or pasted text.
Thanks for your quick response, Daniel, but this doesn't work. InDesign isn't going to find Word-formatted italics; it only gives the option of finding the character style "italics" that I created and apply after finding the highlighted Word character style of italics that was pasted from the clipboard.