Watch Out for Word’s Based on Styles
Sometimes when you import an MS Word document, the styles just don’t work right. Often you get a plus sign everywhere. There are lots of reasons this may happen. For example, Anne-Marie wrote one post here and I wrote something here. But here’s another pitfall that you should be aware of: InDesign sometimes chokes if Word’s paragraph styles are based on the Normal style, or character styles are based on Underlying Paragraph Properties. Redefining Word’s style definitions before importing the file into InDesign can often help:
- Open the original Word document in Microsoft Word.
- Choose Format > Style, and in the resulting Style dialog box, change the List popup menu to “Styles in Use.”
- Click each style in turn and look at the Description area in the dialog box. If you select a paragraph style and see the phrase “Normal +” in there, or if you select a character style and see “Default Paragraph Font +”, click the Modify button.
- If it’s a paragraph style, the Based On Style popup menu in the Modify Style dialog box will read “Normal.” Change “Normal” to “(no style)” (it’s at the very top of the popup menu). If it’s a character style, the Based On Style popup menu will read “Default Paragraph Font.” Change it to “(underlying properties).”
- When you’ve updated all the style definitions, close the Style dialog box and save the file under a different name.
Now when you place this Word doc into your layout, see if the plus signs go away.