Every graphic designer eventually finds themselves facing this client request. You’ve designed a newsletter layout in Adobe InDesign. The client loves it, but they want a template in Microsoft Word they can edit themselves.


Creativetechs happens to be located in Seattle, just across the lake from the Redmond campus of Microsoft. Needless to say, we get this question a LOT from various graphic designers in our area. There isn’t a perfect solution, but here is a technique that does a surprisingly good job.


Conversion Trick: InDesign-to-PDF, then PDF-to-Word.


Save your InDesign file as a PDF. Then use a utility to convert that PDF to a Word document (this technique also works with QuarkXPress layouts). While there are many PDF-to-Word converters, here is a service (still in beta) that does a remarkably good job maintaining the layout and editability of the resulting Word files:


Link: Online PDF-to-Word Converter (beta)


You’ll have to clean up the resulting Word file, but I’ve been playing with this tool, and it does a surprisingly good job maintaining multi-column layouts, and other tricky elements. For cleanest results, simplify your InDesign layout as much as possible before converting.


Source: This tip inspired by a recent write-up of the PDF-to-Word service on the Lifehacker blog. If you find this tip useful, check out a related tip from four years ago: Create Letterhead Templates in MS Word. That topic remains one of our highest traffic tips over the years.


Credit: The layout used to illustrate this tip comes from