How to Convert From InDesign to Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting an InDesign file to a Word document is not a direct one-step process but can be achieved by exporting the InDesign file to PDF, then using a PDF to Word converter. This method allows for the retention of layout and design elements when moving content from InDesign, a publishing software, to Word, a word processing software.

After completing the conversion, you will have a Word document that should closely resemble your original InDesign layout. However, some reformatting may be necessary to ensure the Word document maintains the integrity of the design.


In the world of graphic design and layout, Adobe InDesign is a powerhouse, offering users an incredible range of tools for creating sophisticated print and digital media. However, there are times when you need to take your polished InDesign creation and convert it into a more universally accessible format, like a Microsoft Word document. Why would you want to do that? Well, Word documents are easier to edit, they can be opened on computers that don’t have InDesign installed, and they’re more user-friendly for clients or colleagues who want to make quick text edits themselves.

Knowing how to convert an InDesign file to Word is a handy skill for any designer or content creator. It opens up your work for collaboration and makes it easier to share drafts with clients who prefer to work in Word. Plus, it’s a great way to create editable templates from your InDesign layouts. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a curious novice, this guide will help you bridge the gap between these two different, yet equally important, pieces of software.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Convert From InDesign to Word

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. We want to convert an InDesign file into a Word document while keeping as much of the original design intact as possible. Here’s how:

Step 1: Export InDesign File to PDF

Open your InDesign file and go to ‘File’, then select ‘Export’.

Exporting your InDesign file to a PDF is the first crucial step. This process essentially ‘flattens’ the file, preserving your layout and design elements as they appear in InDesign. When exporting, make sure to select the ‘High-Quality Print’ preset to ensure the best possible fidelity in the conversion.

Step 2: Use a PDF to Word Converter

Choose an online converter or software to convert your PDF to a Word document.

There are numerous PDF to Word converters available online, many of which are free to use. These tools can vary in quality, so it might be worth trying a few to find one that offers the best results. Once you’ve selected your converter, upload your PDF, and convert it to a .docx file.

Step 3: Open and Review Your Word Document

After the conversion, open the Word document to check the layout and formatting.

Once you’ve converted your PDF to Word, it’s time to review the document. Check for any significant layout changes, font substitutions, or formatting issues. You may need to do some manual reformatting to get everything looking just right.


Widespread AccessibilityWord documents are widely accessible and can be opened and edited on almost any device without needing specialized software like InDesign.
Easier CollaborationWord’s track changes and commenting features make it easier for multiple people to collaborate on a document.
Template CreationConverting InDesign files to Word allows for the creation of templates that are more easily editable by those not familiar with InDesign.


Potential Layout ChangesConverting to Word may result in layout changes that require additional tweaking and formatting.
Font IssuesThe conversion process might substitute fonts if the original fonts used in InDesign are not installed on the computer opening the Word file.
Limited Design CapabilitiesWord has less sophisticated design tools compared to InDesign, which may limit the complexity of layouts that can be effectively converted.

Additional Information

When converting from InDesign to Word, it’s important to remember that Word is not a design program. While InDesign files are structured to handle complex layouts and designs, Word is inherently simpler and may not support some of the more intricate elements of your InDesign file. It’s always a good idea to keep the original InDesign file as a backup, just in case you need to make significant changes or if the Word document doesn’t meet your needs.

Another tip is to keep your InDesign layout as simple as possible if you know you’ll be converting it to Word. This can help minimize the amount of reformatting you’ll need to do after the conversion. Additionally, consider outlining your text in InDesign before exporting to PDF. This converts your text into vector shapes, which can help preserve the appearance of your fonts during the conversion process.

Lastly, while there are many free PDF to Word converters available, investing in a paid option or software might yield better results, especially for files with complex layouts or a large number of pages.


  1. Export InDesign file to PDF
  2. Use a PDF to Word converter
  3. Open and review the Word document

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the converted Word document looks different from my InDesign file?

You may need to manually adjust the formatting and layout in Word to more closely match your original design.

Can I convert an InDesign file directly to Word without using PDF?

No, there is no direct way to convert an InDesign file to Word. The process requires exporting to PDF first.

Will my fonts transfer over when I convert from InDesign to Word?

Not always. If the fonts used in your InDesign file aren’t installed on the computer opening the Word file, Word may substitute them with different fonts.

What’s the best PDF to Word converter to use?

It depends on your specific needs, but options like Adobe Acrobat or online services like Smallpdf tend to be reliable.

Can I edit the Word document after converting it?

Yes, the whole point of converting to Word is to create an editable document.


Converting from InDesign to Word is like translating a language; you aim to maintain as much of the original meaning while adapting it to a new format. Though it might seem daunting at first, with a little patience and some tweaking, you can successfully bridge the gap between these two software powerhouses.

Remember, the key is to use a high-quality PDF export and a reliable PDF to Word converter. Keep your designs simple if you anticipate a conversion, and be prepared to make some manual adjustments once you’re in Word. With these tips in mind, you’ll be a conversion pro in no time!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy