We receive word documents from clients that will sometime contains Embedded Excel Object(sheet) and we need to convert them to word table so that we can then import the documents in InDesign properly.

Importing the document directly in InDesign will unfortunately convert the table to images, but that not a solution because we need to be able to style them, thus why we need to convert them to word table first.

The solution we are currently using is to open the Embedded Excel Object, select its content and paste it over it. I wouldn't be surprise if there would be a simpler way of doing this, so this is why I'm turning to you guys.


I usually copy the table from Embedded Excel Table as Word Table as follow:

  1. Double-click the Embedded Excel Table to edit.
  2. Adjust column width before copying to avoid numbers appears as ####.
  3. Select the table and copy (using Ctrl-C or via menu)
  4. Click outside Embedded Excel Table to end edit mode (in location where you will paste the copied table).
  5. Paste Special (Alt-E-S), select Formatted Text (RTF)

When you open the word document and there is the embedded excel table, you should be able to double click, or in any other way tell the MsOffice that you want to edit that excel object. This should open the table in Excel. From there the quickest way is to export (or Save As) the table as .CSV file. Open that .CSV in a plain text editor (such as freeware notepad++ but notepad will do too, just pay attention to what happens with line wraps). Then copy that .csv text and paste it in word, select the pasted text and convert it to table Table - Convert Text to Table. Apply formatting, if need be. Here it will also help if you have predefined a table format through styles so that you can apply it to the table at once.

That above process can certainly be a bit tedious, but it beats manual editing or images in InDesign and you will be certain you have a simple word table that will not get converted to an image. Text to table has worked since first versions of word; I think it even worked in WordPerfect 5.1 :) - it is such a fundamental feature of document editors that support tables.

The above process can also be automated with VBA but it would require quite a bit of work to make it work universally.

  • Well... if you look at my 3rd paragraph of my question, you will see that we already do something similar and I think it is much faster than what you are proposing. – Eric B. Dec 12 '13 at 20:12
  • That is true, I guess I misread it as I thought it still did not give you the result you wanted. Does it give you a normal word table right away or do you still need to convert text to table and work around line breaks etc.? – r0berts Dec 12 '13 at 20:35

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