I have a MS Word document that has a lot of text and some words are in italic style. When I paste the text from this document to InDesign layout, I apply regular body text paragraph style to it and then I need to clear overrides, but when I do that, the parts that were italic in original document now becomes regular. I would be very pleased if someone could tell how to fix this, so after applying regular text paragraph style I will not need to go trough all text to search which texts should be italic and this could work automatically. Thanks!

2 Answers 2


Importing text from MS Word is hell. I have no fail proof technique, but there are some tricks. Here is method for preserving italic text:

  • Avoid pasting the text. Instead, when in a text frame, press Ctrl+D/Cmd+D or use File > Place... to place the text.

  • Choose your file, make sure Show Import Options is checked and click Open. (.doc files work better than .docx in my experience.)

  • Make sure to choose Remove Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables, check Preserve Local Overrides and click OK:

    import options

  • Create a Character Style for the italic text where you choose the Font Style you want.

  • Now use Ctrl+F/Cmd+F to enter Find/Change. We need to apply the Character Style you just created to every occurrence of italic text.

  • First enter Find Format by double-clicking or clicking the tiny magnifying glass. Set Basic Character Formats > Font Style to Italic (luckily MS Word normally just use the plain Italic style).

  • Then enter Change Format and set Style Options > Character Style to the style you just created (here I call it "My italic style") and click Change All.

    enter image description here

  • Now you can select the entire text, right click and select Clear All Overrides. This will reset the styling to match your Paragraph Style, but all the occurrences of the italic Character Style will be preserved, even if you later change the Paragraph Style.

You can use the same method to preserve other styles.


I don't think copy-paste is the best way to do that if you want to keep some text styles.

Importing the Word file to Indesign, there's an option that preserve the text styles.

enter image description here

Once imported all the word styles are on the Indesign file and you can delete/replace/change without forcing them.


On the sample gif, the blue text has a Normal paragraph style with many different character options. There's another paragraph style called Mine with just a change of color and font. When changing the paragraph style, the character options are the same.

gif Anyway, this kind of job always need a check and it depends about how the doc file is made.

If you are forced to clear overrides, you should make a character style to all the italic words and apply to them. If you clear overrides to paragraph styles, the character styles remain without changes.

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