I'm writing a book and it requires an immense amount of footnotes, endnotes and a bibliography. I started in Word, and after 200 references and 300 citations, Word is slow and clunky. I am now switching to Mellel.

My question is what would be a good workflow to bring the Mellel document into InDesign that would make type-setting easy and automated as much as possible. I'm using styles, of course. Should I export to a particular format (RTF?) or is docx better for import into InDesign from a Word Document? It seems counterintuitive (to export to another format first) perhaps it might be better to simply hire a professional typesetter to import the document. I was thinking of saving time and money by paying someone to fine-tune an existing InDesign document that was already imported.

I should mention that I have worked with InDesign designing graphic intensive (minimal text).

  • As long as you’re using styles, any format that supports styles should work. I don’t think I’ve ever imported an RTF document with styles, so I don’t know offhand what the import options look like there, but for Word documents, they’re fairly extensive, allowing you to manually map styles in the imported file to styles in your InDesign document. Doing this consistently means you can then select all text and remove all the many manual overrides that Word creates whether you want it to or not (I don’t know how bad Mellel is at that). May 6, 2022 at 16:56
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    I'm uncertain how many here would have any experience with Mellel. I've never heard of it until your question. (Which, admittedly, may mean very little overall :) )
    – Scott
    May 9, 2022 at 20:15
  • If you use a Mac and are in anyway academically inclined, it is a standard word processor used by Mac Owners in Academia.
    – Danny F
    May 11, 2022 at 7:12

1 Answer 1


I think this would be of some use to people toying with this workflow. I have been using Mellel for a good number of months. It is not like Microsoft Word not that it claims to be, but Microsoft Word sets a very high standard of what should be standard things in the industry. When I converted to rtf from Mellel, the Hebrew words were all reversed, I imagine that is due to it's specific right-to-left implementation. A number of footnote references from bookends were superscripted. That being said, the undo feature in Mellel was severely lacking and often didn't work, certainly undoing formatting changes didn't work. I tried also Scrivener and Nisus briefly but didn't find their support better than Mellel when it came to right-to-left support. Mellel just is not on the same level as Word, and I would say that anyone looking to build their own wordprocessor should at least use Microsoft Word as setting a certain standard of what should be. Basic things like styles, undo, formatting implmementations etc.

I have since switched back to Microsoft Word (360) since this is the best wordprocessor in terms of handling Hebrew (right-to-left functionality) references from Bookends, Styling and Export into InDesign.

  • Note that your Hebrew will likely get reversed again when importing into InDesign unless you’re using the ME version. I got bitten by that once, and since the author stupidly didn’t actually understand the Hebrew he was quoting, neither he nor I noticed it, and it wasn’t until an Israeli friend of mine pointed it out that we realised the book had gone to print with Hebrew citations backwards. Thankfully in my case there were only three or four of them in the whole book, but still. Jun 9, 2022 at 22:44
  • Yes I am aware, and I am using world-ready-composer - so I'm hoping the pain point will be minimized
    – Danny F
    Jun 16, 2022 at 15:01
  • I don’t think world-ready composer makes a difference here – at least I’m fairly sure that’s what I was using as well, and it didn’t work for me. Jun 16, 2022 at 16:39

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