Traditionally, you start from a Word document that gets “placed” in InDesign, and then you start the time consuming process of laying everything out in various styles. However, if you already have a proper digital format such as an epub or clean HTML code, it is simpler and faster to convert the (already marked up) HTML to a Word document with the styles already applied, then import and “map” the styles to a good existing InDesign template such as “Wellred Origins” or “Wellred Chartism”. This is by far the quickest method (as tested on the new Feuerbach book, whose rough draft I put together in a few hours), but it needs to be further tweaked and ideally inspected by an InDesign professional.

Simplified workflow

This assumes the “Origin” InDesign template, used for smaller books. For larger books, use the “Chartism” template. If basing yourself on a HTML file from MIA or, start from 1) If working from a Word file, start from 4)

  1. Copy the HTML code, for example from the source view of the browser, or from the HTML generated from the epub. Omit the head part, CSS, menus, etc., and copy only the relevant content which may be enclosed in a series of div, section or other container tags.
  2. Paste in a plain text document and save as a plain text file with a .html extension.
  3. Open the HTML file with Word or LibreOffice. You get a document with paragraph styles (like headings) and character styles (like bold and italic).
  4. Use the ‘replace’ tool to replace all ‘italics’ with ‘emphasis’. Replace>more>format>italic (for top) and emphasis > replace all (for bottom)
  5. Set the chapter title as ‘Title’; set the first paragraph after each title, block quote and sub-heading as ‘No spacing’; set every block quote to ‘Quote’; set every normal paragraph as ‘normal’. [clarify this step, don’t think it is needed when starting from HTML, which already incorporates the blockquotes and no-indents after every heading, so would cut out a lot of the manual work if this can be ‘mapped’ properly]
  6. Set language to English (UK) and do a basic proofreading based on the Word spell checker. If working from American spelling: use the “Make British spelling” plain text file [add link to separate document] to do a find and replace. [we could possibly automate this with a Word macro or similar script]
  7. Open the appropriate InDesign template (Origins or Chartism)
  8. Import the Word file to InDesign via file>place…>your document (with options for preserving styles and formatting and importing styles automatically). You get a document with paragraph styles and character styles.
  9. Edit the styles accordingly and map them with the ones already available in the Wellred template. Main styles are: No spacing → no indent / Normal → Body text / Quote → Indented quote first / Subtitle → Sub-heading in the ‘headings’ section. This should result in a basic layout in accordance with the Wellred template, with 70% of the work now done [could be very wrong here! Am not familiar with the finishing touches in InDesign and what is involved].
  10. Assign the appropriate Master A & B pages. Use B to get the chapter titles. …
  11. Footnotes?
  12. [add further steps needed]
  13. Export to PDF file to be sent to printer