I'm working on an employee orientation book with around 60 pages. It has 5 different chapters with a lot of content. Because this will be a working document where multiple people will work on, editing text in InDesign is a pain.

Now I was wondering what some of the best practices are regarding version control of text between something like Word or Google Docs and InDesign. If I link text the formatting keeps on messing up, but ctrl c + ctrl v'ing all the time is a pain in the ass!

I've searched a long time, but haven't found a helpful solution just yet.


3 Answers 3


I think that the best practice is to never work on not finished word file. If a source file is under constant changes it means that something wrong with the process. That's why we have appendix, updates, erratums.
Having live word file is very risky as you can't have all knowledge what and where have changed and who made those changes. And you are at the end of chain of command so it will be always your fault when something wrong.

From pure HR and process point of view you should make onboarding document once a month (or once a quarter) from a file that should be closed at certain date. So after that there should be new file where changes can be made for the NEXT onboarding book.

  • This is a very good comment, but let me elaborate. I'm talking more about a 'fun' employee handbook with tips and tricks, a word of welcome and some biographies of the people that work here for example. We make a first version of the book and will edit is where we see fit. At the moment we have the original content in a Google Docs, in which we can track changes. I was looking for a way to implement these changes almost automatically. Otherwise it's like you say; changes for the NEXT onboarding book. May 16, 2018 at 8:51
  • @thomasvantil word can track changes. But inDesign can not really do so for the word document. Use a some xml publishing pipeline unless you want to invest in external software.
    – joojaa
    May 16, 2018 at 12:43

InCopy might be an alternative as it allows collaborators to make direct text edits to an InDesign file without affecting the general layout.

There is currently no official integration with Google Docs and syncing Word files is more or less a gamble.


If the workflow is word based, try WordsFlow from EM Software, it's highly efficient to update contents and keep tracks : http://emsoftware.com/products/wordsflow/

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