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See the topic on my site about Importing Word Documents. There are ways to minimise the impact but you will not get completely clean code.
Unless the SMEs are making mass changes, you might find it quicker in the end to drop their content into Notepad to remove the formatting and then paste into RH.
Sorry but Word was designed primarily as an HTML editor.
Thanks. I did check out your site before I posted, and it had a nice section that explained the treatment of html. I just thought that there was some type of save/export mechanism for excluding word styles. (I could just go with MS Word docs for import from the SMEs - RoboHelp seems to have no problem applying my css upon import.) This will just make the editing of existing topics a bit messy.
Have you ensured that the style names in the Word files and the RH projects are absolutely identical, case and all? That is, redpara and RedPara will not be properly interpreted as the same.
However, as you seem to have already discovered, importing the Word file into RH is much preferred to using Word's Save As functionality.