Quick Tip: Convert an InDesign File to a Word Document

At some point, we’ve all gotten a request from a client to provide a design in a format they can edit or open in Microsoft Office. Even though your first inclination may be to simply say “no,” as your past frustrations with Word or PowerPoint run through your mind causing an uncontrollable twitch, you might want to acknowledge a legitimate need and give it a try. While we designers have plenty of good reasons to dislike Word as a design solution, clients often need to have a marketing piece in a format they can quickly and easily update. I had this exact situation occur this week. A sales sheet we had delivered as a PDF needed to be converted into something that could be opened in Word so the staff could change the specifics depending on the account.

This is how I was able to accommodate them, and it was surprisingly painless. First, I opened my InDesign file and edited it to put placeholder text where the information would vary. Next, I converted all of the other text and headings to outlines, since they used fonts the client might not have on their computers. Then, I exported it as a PDF/X-1a:2001.

InDesign to PDF

InDesign to Word

Once you’ve converted it to PDF, open that file in Acrobat Pro and select Save as Other => Microsoft Word => Word Document – be sure to select “Retain Page Layout” from the Settings menu in the save dialog:

Export PDF to Word

Export PDF to Word

From there you should have a Word doc that looks just like your InDesign file with editable areas where the client can customize as necessary.

Of course, you’ll always get the best results by creating the document in Word if time and budget allow. If you need someone to help you with that process, contact David at Office Templates. He’s an expert at it.

If you have any other tips for making this process painless, please share them in the comments.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Debbie. I love UX. I'm a full-time developer, designer, and email specialist. read more »


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