Importing Word files

You can import a Microsoft Word XP or Microsoft Word 2003 file into Designer. The Word file can be a document (DOC), a template (DOT), or a rich text format (RTF) file.

Word objects, including paragraphs, tables, images, line art, form fields, headers, and footers, are converted into Designer XML objects, and all rich text formatting is preserved.

Note: If the Word file contains contiguous underlined tab characters (where underscore is used as the tab character), Designer attempts to convert the information into a text field.

Designer displays the file import options each time you import a Word file.

  1. Select File > Open.

  2. From the Files Of Type list, select Microsoft Word Document (DOC, DOT, RTF).

  3. Navigate to the file that you want to open, select the file, and click Open.

  4. In the File Import Options dialog box, type a password if it is needed to open or unprotect the file.

  5. To substitute any missing fonts and suppress all font substitution error messages, select Ignore Missing Fonts.

  6. To convert and embed any images into the form design, select Convert Images.

  7. Select a logging option from the Generate Log File list.

  8. Click OK.

Note: Because Designer accesses the Windows clipboard to convert data, the clipboard cannot be accessed by other applications while Designer is importing a Word file.

How Designer converts Word objects and settings

When Designer converts a Word file, it preserves the layout. However, you may need to do some manual repositioning of objects afterward to make the form look as good as possible.

This table identifies the key objects in a Word file and indicates how Designer treats them when they are imported.



Not Converted

File properties

Built-in and custom properties are converted to form properties.



Content (for example, text), including rich text formatting

Font effects such as underline, strikethrough, superscript, and subscript

Borders and shading applied to paragraphs


Color underline is converted to black underline.

All Caps font effect

Font color of list numbers if it is different from the text color

Shading for Empty paragraphs

Borders applied to text


Tables are converted to subforms that position content, and table cells are converted to child subforms.

Some border styles are not supported.


Text boxes


Lines, rectangles, and circles are rasterized.

Auto shapes

OLE objects


ActiveX® controls are converted to images.

Arrowheads are converted to straight lines.

Drawn objects are converted to images.

Line slope

Drawing Shape Rotation other than multiples of 90 are not supported.

Blank lines in frames

ActiveX control functionality

Inline shapes

Images and OLE objects are treated like characters and are positioned as if they were a character in a line of text.

ActiveX controls are converted to images.

ActiveX control functionality

Form Fields

Checkbox fields are converted to check boxes. The default state is carried over.

Drop-down fields are converted to drop-down lists. All list items are carried over.

Text input fields are converted to text fields and the default value is retained.

HelpText and StatusText contents are converted to tooltips.

Formatting of Textinput values

Web Tools objects

Headers and Footers

If all headers and footers are the same, they are created on the master page and are positioned according to the Word document’s header and footer layout settings.

If any headers and footers are different, they are created on individual pages.

Embedded field codes such as date and time

Page Setup settings

The Margins settings are used to specify the layout of the default subform for the page.

Multiple pages are converted to single individual pages.

The Paper Size and Orientation settings determine the basic page layout properties.

Gutter settings


Any scripting associated with a form field is converted into comments in the Designer XML source code.


Page borders

If specified, this attribute is converted to a border on the master page.


Line numbers


Not converted



Not converted

Web page attributes


Not converted

About reducing Word conversion problems

Microsoft Word XP or Microsoft Word 2003 must be installed on the same computer as Designer.

If you are importing a Word XP file that is configured to be sent as an email message, ensure you have installed Word XP Service Pack 1. Otherwise, Word XP will crash after the import process has completed.

To obtain the best results, the input file should contain no more than ten pages.

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