Pasting and placing MS Word text, graphics and clip arts in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

MS Word is probably most popular text editor in the World. You can take advantage of its predefined styles, charts, clip arts and place them in Adobe applications. In this tutorial I will give you some examples on how to do that and explain why.

So lets start with Photoshop. To copy and paste text from Word to Photoshop, first select text in Word, copy it then start Photoshop, select Horizontal Type Tool, draw text box and paste either on right click (Control/Cmd + click) or from Edit > Paste. If you have single line of text then just click anywhere to display insert blinking insertion point and paste from Edit > Paste. When pasting with insertion point or text box drawn text will lose all formatting applied in Word and will be formatted with settings chosen at Options Bar, Character and Paragraph panels in Photoshop. This is important step before pasting because if text is pasted without insertion point or text box then you will have JPEG image pasted without ability to change and format text.
Paste text from MS Word in Adobe Photoshop
Paste text from MS Word in Adobe Photoshop

You can also copy and paste charts and clip arts by simple copying them and pasting but keep in mid that pasted graphics and charts will be pasted as JPEG’s with white background. Exactly same thing will happen and with formatted text.
Paste clipart from MS Word in Adobe Photoshop
Paste clipart from MS Word in Adobe Photoshop

What I recommend you is to save formatted text, chart or clip art as PDF from word then Place it in Photoshop either from File > Place or from Mini Bridge or Adobe Bridge. When Placing PDF’s text will keep formatting, charts and graphic will have transparent background and what is best in my opinion you can change everything. When placing PDF in Photoshop it will be placed as Smart Object. By default Smart Objects with PDF data opens in Illustrator if you have it on your machine installed. In Illustrator you can do what ever you want, for example recolor artwork.

I won't discuss Illustrator capabilities in this tutorial because it will be too long tutorial with too much information’s. But what if you do not have Illustrator and text or chart need changes? Save As PDF from Word with changes then use Replace Contents in Photoshop. Right click on layer at LAYERS panel or go to Layer > Smart Object > Replace Contents… then navigate to file you want to replace with and click Place.
Use Replace Content command in Adobe Photoshop
Use Replace Contents command in Adobe Photoshop

Replace Contents command in Adobe Photoshop
Smart Object with replaced content

In Illustrator you can Place only text from MS Word saved as. docx or rtf. In InDesign you can Place and graphics and charts saved as .rtf from MS Word but I will recommend you to Save As PDF anything you want to place in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Copy–Paste can be used only in Illustrator for graphics, InDesign will display anything you have pasted but if you take a look at Links panel there will be nothing if only graphic is pasted what means placed graphic does not exist, in other words it will not appear in Print or PDF document (text will be always pasted regularly). To control how text will be pasted go to Edit > Preferences > Clipboard Handling and choose option for Pasting Text and Tables from Other Applications.
Adobe InDesign Preferences dialog
Adobe InDesign Clipboard Handling in Preferences dialog

When pasting in Illustrator from Word, you can work with text and images (charts, graphics). Images and text will be embedded.
Images and text embedded in Adobe Illustrator
Images and text embedded in Adobe Illustrator

When placing PDF in Illustrator turn on Link in Place dialog so you will be able to update any changes.
Turn on Link in Adobe Illustrator Place dialog
Turn on Link in Adobe Illustrator Place dialog

When you make any changes in MS Word first save as PDF, then replace PDF that is placed in Illustrator with new one. Go to Links panel ( Window > Links) in Illustrator and Update Link or use Relink if document is not updated to basically Replace Contents with new one.
Links panel in Adobe Illustrator
Links panel in Adobe Illustrator

When working with PDF in InDesign it will be placed as object so you can not make any changes in InDesign but you ca Update Link or Replace placed content. If you have replaced original MS Word PDF with new one (resaved over existing) click on Update Link or Relink to replace current PDF with new one (first click on file name to select it on Links panel).
When text formatting in question you can Place them in InDesign and Illustrator through Place command. When Placing in InDesign choose Show Import Options and choose what formatting you want to keep.
Turn on Show Import Options in Adobe InDesign
Turn on Show Import Options in Adobe InDesign

Illustrator will show you Microsoft Word Options dialog where you can choose to include or to remove Text Formatting.

Photoshop / Placing files
Illustrator / Importing artwork files
InDesign / Importing files from other applications

Products used in this tutorial: Adobe Photoshop CS5, Adobe Illustrator CS5, Adobe InDesign CS5.


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