How to Convert a Word Document to InDesign

By Chad Davis

You can easily import text from the documents you've created in Microsoft Word 2013 directly into Adobe InDesign CC using the import feature known as "Place." Instead of reformatting your text and applying font styles in InDesign, you can preserve these options when importing your Word document. Note that while InDesign can import your text, formatting and styles from the original Word document, it cannot convert bulleted and numbered list styles.

Document Setup

Before importing your text, prepare an InDesign document to match the Word document's page settings. When you create a new InDesign document, select "Letter" from the "Page Size" drop-down in the Page group to align the document with the default size for Word documents -- 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Enter the number of pages for the document into the "Number of Pages" field. Alternatively, click "File" and then "Document Setup" to adjust document settings. Click the "OK" button to apply the settings.

Place a Word Document

While most file types are handled as graphics in InDesign, importing a Word document or a Rich Text File enables you to retain the formatting, styles and links of your original document. Click "File" and then "Place…" or press "Ctrl-D" and then select the Word document you want to import. Click "Open" and then click at the top of the document to place the file. If the document has multiple pages, hold "Shift" when clicking the document. Adjust the size of the text frame as needed.

Microsoft Word Import Options

You can use the Microsoft Word Import Options dialog to preserve formatting, styles and track changes from your original document. In the Place dialog, select the Word document, check the "Show Import Options" box and then click "Open." Uncheck the "Track Changes" check box in the Formatting group if you don't want InDesign to import comments and tracking from your Word document. Click the "Remove Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables" option to remove formatting and styles. Click "OK" and then click on the document to place the text. Hold "Shift" while clicking to import multiple pages.

File-Handling Links

If you want InDesign to automatically update your document when editing the original, you must first enable file-handling links in the InDesign preferences. Click "Edit," select "Preferences" and then choose "File Handling…." Check the "Create Links When Placing Text and Spreadsheet Files" box in the Links group and then click the "OK" button. Save changes to the Word document to update the text when the InDesign document is open. To enable links for all new InDesign documents, close all open projects before proceeding.