Exporting and Importing HTML with InDesign
InDesign has long offered the ability to export HTML. These days they call the feature File > Export for > Dreamweaver. I’m not sure whether this naming is supposed to imply that the HTML you get out of InDesign will definitely need to be tweaked by an HTML editor (it will!) or out of some bizarre misguided belief that InDesign users might have forgotten the name of Adobe’s HTML editor (we haven’t). Obviously, the stuff that comes out is HTML, not “dreamweaver code” so you can use virtually any HTML editor, not just Adobe’s.
There are also other ways to get HTML out of InDesign. For example:
- Anne-Marie wrote a post a few years ago about how to use InDesign’s XML tags to export HTML
- She followed up with an article about exporting images for HTML (and why you might or might not want to)
- Fritz offered an interesting workflow: InDesign to Fireworks!
- Here’s the answer to one question that we hear a lot: how to export InDesign layouts for HTML email. (I didn’t say it was the answer you wanted to hear!)
However, these days I’m hearing that a number of users need to go the other way: Importing HTML into InDesign. For example, perhaps your content is on a Web site first, and then you need to put it into a print or PDF layout. InDesign won’t help you much here.
If you need to import HTML, it’s usually best to use some intermediary to convert it. For example, you can save the HTML to disk, open it in MS Word, export it as docx or RTF, and then place that in InDesign. It’s not a fun or quick process, but you can sometimes get it to work. Ultimately, many people give up and just use the old copy-and-paste.
There are also some Web to InDesign options starting to play out, including Russell Viers’ Atomic News tools and a number of larger-scale systems, such as ones by Woodwing.
Question for You:
So… What do you need? Are you wanting to import HTML or export it? Have you been using InDesign’s HTML export tools (or the XML workaround)? Does it work for you, and if not, why not? What are your “pain points” and what could be done to make it better? Can we come up with some ideas to throw at Adobe to make this whole cross-media thing better, easier, faster, stronger, cooler?
Let me know in the comments, below!