When Word files are imported into InDesign templates, users have the option to "Use InDesign style definitions" when style names conflict, or match. This option should format styled text based on the InDesign style definition, keeping only "local overrides" such as italic or bold face markup.

Sometimes, however, the Word style definitions take precedence regardless of whether "Use InDesign style definitions" is selected. According to the Adobe user forums, this is a common problem amongst Word-to-InDesign users. The Word Import function seems to work well in versions of InDesign released prior to CS4. When users import Word documents into more recent versions of InDesign, a great deal of Word formatting - beyond bold and italic face markup - is preserved as "local overrides" in the InDesign file.

This is particularly problematic for Word character styles that are "based on underlying properties," such as the author list, citation, and bibliographic reference character styles used in eXtyles; however, this has also been a problem for some Word paragraph styles, such as headings.

When Word documents are converted to RTF during the import process, Word errs on the side of redundancy in defining the formatting. For example, when the “au_surname” character style is converted to RTF, Word defines the underlying formatting from the author paragraph style as part of the au_surname character style, even if it's not explicitly defined at that level. This can result in an underlying property (like font name) being pulled into InDesign as an (unwanted) override to a character style.

Users can remove local overrides from the InDesign-styled text with the press of a button. This does remove the unwanted overrides and correctly apply the InDesign style, but local overrides that should be preserved (like bold, italic, or superscript) are also removed.

The Support Team has come up with a couple of workflow suggestions:

  • Import RTF files instead of Word DOC or DOCX. By converting your Word documents to RTF before you import them into InDesign, the character and paragraph styles are more explicitly defined in the file without the extraneous Word document information. When the RTF file is imported into InDesign, the paragraph and character styles are converted to InDesign styles with far fewer unwanted overrides.
  • Restructure your Word template. By explicitly defining all attributes in the character styles and unlinking them from “base” styles, a restructured eXtyles template can help prevent inappropriate local overrides during the Word import process. If your organization is interested in this option, please contact eXtyles Support at eXtyles-support@inera.com.
  • Try Typefi. Typefi maps your eXtyles-exported XML to the correct InDesign styles without introducing any local overrides. Learn more about Typefi's publishing workflow solutions at Typefi.com.