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Dilemma converting .indd file to Word

Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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Hello there,

Hoping someone can shed some light on a dilemma I'm having...I am editing a 62 page publication for a client, and working in InDesign CS5. My client has asked for me to send them the document as a Word file so that they can edit. (They do not work in Acrobat Pro). There is body text, as well as many charts and graphs throughout the document.

I attempted to export the file from InDesign to Word (Word version 15.18), but that resulted in a quagmire of odd formatting, so I then used an online InDesign to Word converter I found via Google Docs. That seemed to work, but the client is now saying they are seeing all sorts of odd formatting when they open in Word, and that they are unable to edit. My client consists of about 10 different people who are needing to open and work from the Word file, and all are on different platforms (Mac, Windows, different versions of Word.)

They've asked whether there's a way I can send a version that is "text only" without all the formatting, borders on pages, etc. Does anyone have any insight or recommendations? Is there an ideal way to convert an InDesign file to Word?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you so much,

Tania

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Adobe Community Professional , Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017
Free Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat have annotation tools. You can create a PDF and have the editors use the mark-up/annotation tools to indicate the edits. Here is general info on how to use them:Use annotation and drawing markup tools to add comments in PDFs, Adobe Acrobat DCI'm pretty clear on how I want the tools used: sticky notes for global updates like a margin change, otherwise I limit with to the highlighter, add, delete and the replace text tools. I normally set up a 15-minute session ...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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I would suggest:

  • give them a PDF to mark up with the annotation tools
  • if this is a regular thing, set them up with InCopy ($4.99/month) so that they can edit your files directly.

Personally, I don't take files for layout until they are in final form, and then handle the few remaining edits via mark-up tools in Acrobat/Reader. There is no good way to get back to Word for edits, and then incorporate the edits back in InDesign without wasted time and unnecessary headaches.

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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Thank you very much Barb, I'm just wondering though -- when you refer to annotation tools, are those tools in Word? I rarely work in Word, so am not familiar.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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Free Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat have annotation tools. You can create a PDF and have the editors use the mark-up/annotation tools to indicate the edits. Here is general info on how to use them:

Use annotation and drawing markup tools to add comments in PDFs, Adobe Acrobat DC

I'm pretty clear on how I want the tools used: sticky notes for global updates like a margin change, otherwise I limit with to the highlighter, add, delete and the replace text tools. I normally set up a 15-minute session to review my expectations with a new editor. Left alone I have learned that authors will use a variety of options, and I spend more time trying to match the edit with floating notes, boxes, lines and clouds than is necessary. I just want to enter the edits so that I can go outside and play.

Mark up text with edits, Adobe Acrobat DC

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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Thanks Barb, I'm going to see if they're open to Acrobat DC. I see it seems to be very straightforward and user friendly, so fingers crossed they will agree. I appreciate your help! 🙂

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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OP is using CS5. InCopy is not going be a solution unless everyone moves to Creative Cloud.

What good is a text file going to do here? How would you know where the changes need to be made.

Barb is right. Send a PDF and have them mark it up using the tools there. Unfortunately, it sound like you’re both in for some learning. The commenting tools in Acrobat/Reader are not that complicated. I strongly suggest you start learning about them now.

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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Thank you Bob, I appreciate your insight. Yes there is a bit of a learning curve here for sure. Am going to see if they are open to editing in Acrobat DC. Thanks again!

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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In rare instances, I have exported the text to .rtf for clients to edit & they edit the .rtf in word & place the updated file when they're done with editing. This assumes all of the text is styled properly in InDesign, Definitely not ideal, but in some case it will work.

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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Thank you very much Sandy, I'm hoping they will be open to using Acrobat DC -- if not this may be an option. I appreciate your insight.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2017 Feb 13, 2017

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In rare instances, I have exported the text to .rtf for clients to edit & they edit the .rtf in word & place the updated file when they're done with editing. This assumes all of the text is styled properly in InDesign, Definitely not ideal, but in some case it will work.

I did this kind of thing all the time, when I worked with large translation projects with lots of stakeholders who wanted to be able to edit content at points in the workflow that were, uh, suboptimal from a layout standpoint. You may want to think about products like WordFlow, from Em Software. It works way better than RTF-roundtripping.

There are lots of other ways to allow them to contribute. I think that basically Bob and Barb are correct in firmly suggesting an Acrobat-based review workflow, but there are lots of other options. They all take more time to set up and administer, of course, and if your client wants an editorial workflow that causes you to invest more hours in workflow engineering, then of course they ought to be billed for it.

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Explorer ,
Jul 27, 2021 Jul 27, 2021

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Replying now (2021) in case it can be helpful to other readers in the future.

     One option that has not been mentioned is to use InDesign's ability to link to text documents for the textual content of an InDesign document. If using one Word document, the text within InDesign would need to flow from page to page as one long document. Otherwise, text could be divided into "articles" and set up in different Word documents, each with its own name and link to InDesign. Either way will work.

     For this scenario, ideally, the text would be written in Word from the beginning. Then the text can be placed into InDesign as linked text. Within InDesign, Object Styles, Paragraph Styles and Character Styles should be established to maintain design consistency. Use the "Keep" options to aid pagination and to specify column breaks, etc. Proofing and editing of text can take place in a duplicate Word document that is not linked to InDesign. At any point in time, the duplicate Word document can be "Saved as..." in order to overwrite the linked document. Then, the link can be updated within InDesign and minor adjustments made as needed, in case the new document length changes pagination or has more or fewer headlines, etc.

     If you have crafted the text within InDesign first, then it would be a slightly different process, but could be worthwhile if you expect multiple edits or if you plan to need a similar document in the future. You would start by being certain you have all the object and text styles, etc. set up properly for the existing text. Then export the text to Word to be used for editing and updating. At some point, the Word document will need to be Placed into the InDesign document to establish the link and the text reflowed on the pages to replace the existing text. (This will require either deleting the existing text frames or moving them to the pasteboard before placing the text from the Word document.) Best practice would be to duplicate the working InDesign document to serve as a design reference and as a fail-safe. Once the text is set up as a linked file, updates to the text can be made through Word and updating the link to the document.

 

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