Importing Adobe InDesign files in HTML

I have a heavy word-processing background, and so have been very disappointed at the lack of relevant stacks in RW7 that support a user-friendly or “wysiwyg” approach to this issue. I’ve tried most of them and I find none of them to work intuitively. I can’t even get bullets to work the way I want. First I learned that text formatting does not automatically transfer like it did in RW4, and that I needed to import in plain text and then format, which is really dumb. SO I’m going to try to import InDesign documents already converted to html. I need to know if this strategy will work. Please someone give me a heads up on this before I put a lot of effort into it. Is there anything I should know about this? I don’t see that I have any other other option. Helpful comments will be much appreciated.

Thank you,

How long have you been using RW? (You used RW4?) What version do you have now? You use Stacks?

I find RW to be VERY intuitive and also very good at “wysiwyg” - To have a proper website you really need to build it within RW. Yes, you can paste styled text in some cases but this is not preferable. In concept, your THEME should set your styles (fonts, sizes, etc). It also needs to be responsive. Pasting in html from inDesign is not going to give you proper results.

We need to find out why you feel RW is not working out for you…(btw… my background is in word processing also.)

Rather than jumping all the way to InDesign, if text is the issue, RW already supports Markdown. You can format text with Markdown easily. For formatting that is more complicated, e.g., columns, there are several column-creation Stacks. For more exotic formatting (running page headers, footnotes) you’ll find that the issue isn’t RW but the limitations of html, a digital format, and InDesign, which is primarily a print layout format.

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Exactly. Print isn’t totally dead yet, but it’s going that way, pretty quickly. So, naturally, people who are experts at all forms of print arts and technology need to re-train themselves for digital era.

I myself have a background in printing business. I decided years ago that it’s time to bite the bullet and learn digital publishing. With time, web publishing will catch up with unnecessarily complicated, slow and expensive print technology.

Hi Judy, by working in the way you describe you’re really not using Rapidweaver in the way it was intended to be used. You can probably achieve what you want eventually, but it’s not realistic to expect a web design program to work like a word processor.

WP text is typed and exists on the screen and on the page but doesn’t need to re-size dynamically for smaller screens, and it’s because of this that I suspect you’re never going to get the fine-grained control you’re seeking.

I’m not sure there is a WYSIWYG web builder out there that will deliver this.



It’s unclear to me exactly what are the challenges you face. A link to a relevant website would be helpful.

You are probably already aware of this but each theme has a set of “styles” within it that dictates the CSS for the page/site. Some themes give you great flexibility in determining the styles, some give you no choice. And a small number (Foundry, Foundation, some others) give you just about all the choice you could want. Put differently, by knowing the styles your theme is using for headers, links, and so on there should not be a great need for “formatting” text. If you want the look to be different then change a theme, or theme setting, or use a theme with ultimate flexibility. InDesign also uses the notion of styles so this idea is probably familiar to you.

As for writing the actual text the simplest, cleanest way to do this (especially if your website is text-heavy) is to use markdown as some folks like @mokane99 have already mentioned. You can easily learn markdown in less than an hour. No more problem with lists, or anything else. In this case you may want to write your markdown (again, assuming you have a fair amount of text) in a markdown friendly editor such as Bear Notes, Ulysses, iA Writer, Scrivener, or several other choices (some free, some not). Then copy/paste to RW.

There are also specialized cases. For example, some folks want their lists (or many of their lists) formatted in a very unique way that goes beyond the theme’s CSS. In those cases a stack such as @willwood 's Lister stack is very useful.

But again, I can’t really tell if you have general frustration, are simply unfamiliar with how CSS styling is implemented, have a specific unique need, or just need to adapt to using Markdown, or some combo. That’s where the weblink would be useful.

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Thank you everyone for your kind and prompt responses. First let me clarify that I’m a visual media artist as well as an author, and for the past decade have more experience working with FinalCutExpress and various Photo apps than text. So it’s not the transition from print to digital that’s the issue. It’s the user-friendliness of the software and the themes. I’m working with Michael David themes (requiring me to learn a bit of coding off the bat :frowning: Naturally, font choices are limited too - I need to use Google fonts. Second, I looked at MarkDown and printed out the manual and it doesn’t look easy either. I had a stroke not long ago and find I’m much less tolerant of learning curves! :slight_smile: I have a good grasp of how stacks work though and like the layering flexibility they provide — it’s the only way I’ve been able to get any text to work at all. Still I had to convert my bulleted lists into jpegs because I can’t figure out the Lister or Paragraph stacks. Familiar with Photoshop I decided to check out Adobe’s Creative Cloud. All except for Dreamweaver (which sucks BIG TIME!) I’m really thrilled about the versatility and flexibility of the Adobe programs. InDesign is hardly used just for print anymore. It has several presets and workspaces for digital and web pages because Adobe recognizes what you’re talking about — more books and magazines are going online and must in order to survive. The app itself allows saving and exporting into multiple file types for this reason:


Similar to the RW inspector, InDesign allows switching back and forth between different elements and workspaces with ease without having to leave the primary layout (same with preview mode) - flexible grid lines that appear and vanish with a click - ability to work with inches and pixels simultaneously — and on and on. Transparency/opacity is a STANDARD feature/tool everywhere without coding! Unnecessary stacks or themes need not apply. To me, this is the ultimate solution. So my question was, am I going to have difficulty getting RW to work with html files from InDesign? Would it be preferable to import them as a different file from the above list that I’m not aware of? So, watcha think?

Hey everyone. I just looked at Greg’s reply again and got worried about the responsive part. So I researched it. In Adobe responsiveness is “fluidity” and there are measures for that. Here is the link to the page that explains how their html pages export into CS6 and CS5.5. Can someone please take a look and see if you think there might be other issues? Thanks!

Why don’t you simply export at HTML and copy/paste into an HTML stack and see what happens. A bit of experimentation (on a new page) doesn’t hurt.

… my guess however is you will run into several problems:

  1. InDesign probably exports CSS as well as HTML. So you either have to know how to integrate their CSS with RW (much harder typically then previous ideas you said would be too difficult for you) or just keep the HTML and lose the CSS. That is you simply use the CSS provided with your theme.
  2. If you are including images of any sort then bringing them into RW will again be more difficult than previous solutions.

I have no doubt that exporting from InDesign and bringing into RW is possible, but it seems you are taking a very difficult path given your self-described limitations. But I could be wrong, or using the exported HTML alone will work fine for your purposes (i.e. without the CSS styles). Try it out and see what happens.


Thanks Matthew, will do!

Judy… perhaps you should try posting specific RW problems/questions to the forums. (Tackle one issue at a time.) Include a url to a page that shows the problem or take screen shots of specific issues you are having within RW. We need to figure out what your issues are with specific stacks. You mention Lister and “Paragraph” stacks. Bulleted lists are really easy and I can’t envision why you would need to use jpgs to get bulleted lists.

For example, what is the exact issue you are having with bullet lists?

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Thanks Greg. I’ll definitely begin. The problem I had with the paragraph stack is there were too many of them. Some are self-explanatory - Drop Capital, AutoScale, etc. But the Sections ones and Paragraph Pro confused me. I downloaded a trial List stack and I couldn’t get it to format the list the way I wanted. For one, I like my lines to be neither single or double-space but 1.5. I will have a few paragraphs, then I want an indented bulleted list. But nothing seemed to justify the list the way I wanted. The bullets would not line up straight - most of the time they would be centered and any left or right justification would not work. While each bullet item could be single-spaced, I’d want to make the space between each bullet item 1.5. It just would not happen. Of course I’m used to just highlighting something, selecting the format button, and it changing. So maybe it’s not knowing exactly where I’m supposed to be making that change – a particular substack, page setting, etc.

Another thing is there seems to be a lack of uniformity among RW7 developers. They all have their own ways of doing things. Some give a little instruction, some give none at all. Some have video tutorials, then others have written - and not at all clear. For instance, in Michael David’s Capture theme tutorial, there were a lot of bugs and missing info I had to point out to them. That’s another thing. Some expect you to know code - some don’t. I’ve gone from tears to pulling out my hair many times! Now I’ll admit, the more I do, the better I get. It’s just that I have 5 websites to modify all by myself (on a fixed income - cannot afford to hire anyone) and that’s not what I do. I’m a videographer, composer, photographer, and writer and need to get back to doing more of those things. But my original websites are outdated and I have to redo them and that’s all there is to it. Sales of my photo products are handled at FineArtAmerica so I don’t need ecommerce with any of these sites (thank goodness!) I just need good showcasing. I don’t know why RW4 was so much easier than RW7. It’s the price of progress I guess. So I’ll take any help I can get on anything of these items. I haven’t given up. Even if it’s just pointing me to a video tutorial I haven’t discovered yet. And yes, I went through the basic RW7 tutorials. But like I said, stroke hit me hard in memory and problem-solving areas. Sometimes I need to do something more than once to get it. I know I can learn this stuff. I just think it should be easier or more uniform at least!
Thanks so much Greg.

Hopefully @1611mac can help you more. I’m up to my eyeballs in work. But based on what you describe you are actively working against how themes are set up. One of the key things themes do is pre-define the CSS your site uses. And CSS is essentially your “layout”. So when you want to do very specific different layouts from your theme you are working “against” the theme. This is a bit of an overstatement, but you essentially have to provide an over-ride to the theme’s CSS. And that, most of the time, does require some coding knowledge.

It may be most helpful to provide a link to a list you want to use. Repeat the portion above that describes how you want it formatted. I know you have the Lister stack. So tomorrow morning I may be able to set up Lister in a way the accomplishes what you want for lists.

… but keep in mind that web design is not at all like word processing. (Okay, it’s a tiny bit like word processing, but only enough to confuse you.)

Provide the info, I can set up in Lister, send/share a screenshot and you can do the same on your end. Deal?

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Happy to help here… Perhaps we could just do some very simple stuff to begin with… Perhaps some simple text blocks in a one column stack and one of the text blocks setup as a list? (Using the default Off-Road theme as I don’t have any Michael David themes)

(Note: Sometimes people think I’m “talking down” to them but I assure you… I’m simply trying to get a base of understanding of what’s not working for you and simple is better to start with. Also know that I’m not an expert. I’m just someone willing to help.)

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Thanks so much for offering your valuable time Mathew. Actually, I got the list I wanted and with a transparent background (making it a .png file) with Adobe InDesign. But now I have a new problem. I need to republish a legal memorandum from my previous site. It’s saved as a pdf and an htm doc. I’d prefer to publish the htm doc because it’s got a short table of contents at the top with hyperlinks to different parts of the memorandum. Footnotes are hyperlinked too. I tried importing it into the html stack and it would not take it. Of course this is a very old file that I made on a PC in FrontPage back in 2005. But I thought html was html. I’d hate to have to redo it with hyperlinks and all. Also, the links to the other pages on the previous site are also showing up in a sidebar that I need to eliminate. Is there any way I can do that and get this old htm file to work on a stacks page? I’d be happy to attach or send the doc.

Hi Greg. Thanks so much! I finally got a workable list, but now I have a new problem. (See my reply to Mathew.) Please feel free to provide additional input! Thanks so much again – I’ll definitely take you up on your willingness to help as I cross those bridges! :smiley:

Judy… are you checking your site on small devices such as phones? I just can’t imagine a scenario where you’d have to have a bullet list made as a transparent image…

Could you post a link to your site?

Hi Greg,

It’s transparent because the rest of the text is – all on a scrolling overlay – over a high res photo - it’s really pretty! I don’t have a link because it’s no up yet. If there is another way I could send a copy, I’d be happy to. And yes – it’s a responsive site.


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