Importing Word Documents into PageMaker
by Gordon Woolf, Carol Majors, and Peter C.S. Adams
I am working with Word 2000 documents that I will be putting into PM 6.5 soon. I have heard that there is, as yet, no filter or converter for Word 2000. These documents are highly formatted already using styles. Are you telling me that I must convert to text and do all of the formatting over again in PageMaker?
Word 2000 doesn't need to be converted to anything to import into PM the Word97/98 filters work, though there are some new features of Word2000 which won't carry over. We've found no extra problems with 2000 than we found with previous versions (which I suppose isn't really saying a lot).
In theory, Word 97, 98, 2000, and 2001 files have interchangeable file formats: Word 97 on a PC should be able to open a Word 2001 file made on a Mac just fine. In case you can't "see" the file when you choose "Place" from the file menu, you have several options:
- You may be missing the appropriate import filter. They can be found on your PageMaker CD, or you can download them from Adobe.
- Open the file in Word and save it in an earlier version of Word (Word 5.1, e.g.), or you can save them as RTF (Rich Text Format). You may well have to tweak the styles once you've imported the files, but that's normal.
- Open the file in a Word Viewer application
And getting rid of Word's fast save will also help: To turn off fast saves, on the Tools menu, click Options, then click the Save tab and then clear the "Allow fast saves" check box. It is probably worth a memo to anyone who supplies you with Word files. However, make sure you've got Word's fast-save and auto-backup functions turned off as they wreak havoc on everything.
However, as Madelaine and others have said, the key is a little bit of preparation in PM beforehand. It is, for example, a good idea to create a Normal style in PM with no file open, so the persistent Normal style of Word won't cause any trouble and you no longer have to remember to create that style in new templates.
Carol's idea of placing Word files into a temporary new PM file and cleaning them up there before copying them across to your working file also seems worthy of a place in our FAQ. I've also noticed the difference in capitalisation within Styles as seeming to be enough to lead to corruption.
Add tips to "Read tags" to prevent style import: RTF may not solve the problem because it also includes the Word styles, which show up in the Styles box with the little disc icons. Those are what cause the corruption problems. Bill Smith's suggestion to import text with the "read tags" box checked seems to solve this. It will retain the style sheet's formatting, but not the style sheet. If you must bite the bullet and import the formatted Word files, I'd suggest you try Bill's method.
Whichever style of importing you use (downsave to word 5 or 98, rtf, etc) another good way of getting around style sheet problems and being able to use the styles in the docs, is to create a Pagemaker template used exclusively for "cleaning up" the text files. This way you can tag and tweak as needed and delete any imported styles that are confusing, duplicated or "normal". We convert all files to Word 5 thru Maclink converters, do first cleanup in there and then bring them into a pagemaker template for exact styling. Then we place those stories into the PM design template and tag away. Save these and then import the text into your "good" template.
I was in 3rd proofs a few years ago when the client gave me a new file to replace some front matter. I gave into the tempatation to import it directly into a new edit window in PM and do some styling and copy/pasting ... suddenly I was gifted with duplicate style names that could not be deleted, Bad Record Indexes, the whole creeping corruption problem. Killed the entire chapter. This is why you are hearing the warning about direct import of Word FIles. It happens.
The method we use allows us to work with the styles already in the word documents, but strips out much of the information that can cause problems. Some people prefer to strip it out by going straight to text and restyling it. But it is very important, as others have pointed to recently, to make sure that EVERY carriage return is tag-styled by something you have set-up in your style sheet to avoid those later issues of "ghost fonts" in the document when you are trying to S4SP or the issue of spontanteous odd line-spacing, that sort of thing.
When you work with Word, you will notice that their default stylesheet names and PM's may differ by capitalization only. I've wondered if this is one of the problems in style sheet corruption. But certainly you will want the files you import and the template you bring them into to have this issue resolved when you start working with these docs. This is one reason we have preferred to use the PM intermediate for styling.
Check out the list's troubleshooting page, which has a list of things to prevent mishaps when working with PageMaker and Word.
The list FAQ has a tremendous amount of information on dealing with Word.
The list Archives can be searched for more information on Word and PageMaker.
Download the Word Import Filter from Adobe.
Download the free Word Viewer application from Microsoft or the shareware icView.
MacLink Plus (Mac) and Conversions Plus (Windows) can recognize many "unopenable" files and convert them into a format you can use.