by Ilene Strizver
One of the first steps when beginning a new design project is to import text into a document. Although many people still use the old copy and paste method, there is a better way to bring in text, especially if you want to control typographic and formatting details.
Both Adobe® InDesign® and QuarkXPress® have a special feature for importing text that can convert dumb quotes to smart – or typographer’s – quotes. This feature is a real timesaver compared to using the search and replace method, especially when dealing with a lot of text. Both programs also allow you to manage styles (import, remove and, with InDesign, rename), which is particularly useful when importing copy for books and other lengthy, formatted text.
Here’s how the feature works in each application:
- Go to File > Place…
- At the bottom, select Show Import Options, and a dialog box will come up for the document format you are importing (e.g., Microsoft Word® or Excel®).Select desired options.
InDesign has many importing options from which to choose (see illustration).
- Go to File > Import
- At the bottom of the dialog box, select or deselect as desired: Convert Quotes and/or Include Style Sheets.
Convert Quotes also automatically converts double hyphens to em dashes. QuarkXPress does not import Microsoft Word 2008 files that end in .docx, but these can be imported if they are saved as a .doc or an RTF document. Note that earlier versions of QuarkXPress behave slightly differently than the newly-released Version 8, but they can still accomplish the same things.
When using these import methods to convert dumb quotes to smart quotes, remember to check and convert back to primes any inch and foot marks in your text. Neither program is smart enough to recognize and ignore the primes used in measurements. Also check that the apostrophes in contractions, such as the one in the ’70s, are not converted to single open quotes.
Also note that neither InDesign CS3 nor QuarkXPress recognizes Apple® Pages® documents, which end in .pages. The workaround is to convert the document to a Microsoft Word or an RTF format using the File > Export feature in Pages.
- Editor’s Note:Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 4th edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.