Sep 222011

InDesign has some extremely powerful text editing tools however it’s more likely that you will be creating and importing text from Microsoft Word. One of InDesign’s less well-known features is the Word Import Filter, designed to help you work more efficiently in a Word based workflow.

The filter is only accessible when you import a text file. In the Import dialogue box, make sure to check the Show Import Options check box.

screenshot of indesign text import dialogue box

InDesign text import dialogue box

InDesign will display the following dialogue box.

screenshot of InDesign Word import options dialogue box

InDesign Word import options dialogue box

The first few options are self-explanatory. You can select various Word attributes to import into your InDesign document. Note the check box Use Typographer’s Quotes, this maps incoming quotation marks to correct, ‘typographer’s quotes’ i.e. straight commas are mapped to opening and closing quotes ).

The Formatting panel allows you to choose whether or not to import Word style formatting. InDesign imports Word formatting by default hence any Word styles (such as Normal) will be appended to the document’s Paragraph styles pane.

If you do not want the Word formatting, check the Remove Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables radio button and all text will revert the default face with no styling, unless you choose the Preserve Local Overrides check box. Tables can also be reverted to plain  or tabbed text.

If  choose Preserve Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables, you have a number of further choices. Firstly you can decide what happens to Word breaks; preserving, converting them to InDesign column breaks or discarding them altogether.

Four check boxes allow further customisation.

Import Inline Graphics brings in images and illustrations that have been copied and pasted into the Word file.

Import Unused Styles brings in all the Word styles, whether they are used or not.

Track Changes allows Word track changes markups to be imported. These cabn be viewed in the InDesign Story Editor.

Convert Bullets & Numbers To Text converts Word formatted bullets and numbered lists to editable characters. Note that the numbered lists will no longer update automatically and should be replaced by InDesign’s numbered list feature if this is desired.

Incoming style names conflicting with any existing in the document  can be managed using the dropdown menu. My preference is always to override with the InDesign style.

Perhaps the most powerful features of this filter is contained in the last radio button, Customise Style Import.

detail of import options dialogue box

Customise Style Import

Clicking the Style Mapping button displays the following dialogue box:

Screenshot of style mapping dialogue box

Style mapping dialogue box

The box will display a list of all incoming Paragraph and Word styles. By selecting the drop-down to the right of each style name, you can tell InDesign which style to use instead of the Word one. You can map as many styles as you need. This is an incredibly fast and powerful way of converting text into your preferred styles.

Once you have completed mapping styles,  you can return to the Import Options dialogue box where you may wish to save your choices by using the Save Preset button.

screenshot of import options save preset box

Import options save preset box

Enhanced by ZemantaLike saving a workspace or a page set-up, this option will save you time in future use of the feature.
When yo click the OK button, InDesign will import the text implementing the adjustments you have specified. Note that style mapping may require further attention. Although InDesign will do it’s best to map all styles as requested, some conflicts caused by inconsistencies in the Word document can mean that your paragraph styles will display modification alerts. You should review these and clear any lingering overrides as soon as possible.
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