WordsFlow Troubleshooting: Document No Longer Linked

My favourite plugin in the whole wide world is WordsFlow. If you have text-edit-happy clients, this will save you the pain and suffering of changing a comma to a period and back again… repeatedly. Instead, they get to do all that themselves and you get to focus on what you do best – designing! Its honestly the best thing ever. No more duplicated work – I love efficiency!

If you’re not a WordsFlow user and curious how it works, I’ve written up a post on my WordsFlow Workflow. But now, the purpose of this post – troubleshooting!

The Problem

Screen shot of a linked text frame with WordsFlow icon with a red line over itNow, I had been working away on a 104 page guide book when all of a sudden I noticed my Word document was no longer linked to my InDesign file and there was a red line over the WordsFlow icon on each text frame. I consulted the WordsFlow User Guide, shut down my Word and InDesign programs and re-opened them. I restarted my computer too, but still the program persisted. The Word and InDesign’s file locations and names have not changed, nor has the version of software being used.

Of course, things like this happen when I’m working late at night. I took it as a sign to go home, shooting off an email to WordFlow’s Em Software Customer Support before I clocked out. When I returned the following morning, there was an email from Customer Support waiting for me! Here is what they wrote:

The Solution

  1. Make a backup copy of the InDesign doc, just in case. Update to the latest release of WordsFlow.
  2. Then, save the InDesign document as IDML, then open and save the IDML document as a new .indd document. This can clean up a lot of corruption.
  3. Then, un-link the link, using the command in the Links panel. Then:
  4. With the Type Tool in the story, Select All and cut the contents of the story. Paste it into a temporary frame on the pasteboard, or even into a new document for safe keeping.
  5. Use WordsFlow to Place the version of the Word document that was used for the previous update. This re-creates the link.
  6. Select All and paste the original story back, overwriting the just-placed document, to restore the InDesign document to the most recent state.

And guess what? It worked! I am a very happy customer.


Author: nchitty

Inclusive designer based out of Toronto.

2 thoughts on “WordsFlow Troubleshooting: Document No Longer Linked”

  1. OMG … I caught your tweet and followed the link, enjoying every word, I mean you hardly ever see someone write about Wordsflow right? And it wasn’t till near the end that i saw you learned about it via my InDesign and Word video on lynda.com! So cool.

    I thought your post was excellent. I do have a couple questions/comments.

    First question: In your Client Instructions, you say “When text edits are made, please complete them within the Word document, then send the revised document back to me.” Shouldn’t you also caution them not to change the filename? Which as a client/writer I’d want to do, v2, v3 etc. Or are you fixing any modified filenames on your end, before you “replace the old Word doc with the new Word doc” to update the link?

    BTW yes, this works GREAT w/Dropbox, Google Drive, or any cloud service that syncs to local folder on the hard drive that can be shared w/someone else. That’s what we do here. No need to send Word files back and forth. (Though I work more often w/Docsflow, the Google Docs plug in from the same company. In that case you sync directly to the cloud file, very cool.)

    Second question, why do you need to go to the Word document to make text changes (“ If I need to make any text changes, such as remove a forced break for example, I go to the Word document to make that change, then re-sync the document in my Links panel in InDesign.”). Wordsflow Pro (maybe you don’t have Pro?) lets you “push” your changes back to the Word document, from a command in the Links panel menu. Or another option, you can just leave your text changes as they are in InDesign, they’ll be retained even after a new version of the Word file comes in and you update the link.

    So happy to have found another designer using Wordsflow!

    1. Thanks Anne-Marie. This is very good advice and insight. Good to know about shared file locations and the benefits of upgrading to the Pro version thats great! You have a good point about the file name there – I usually just fix the file name when that happens. One less thing to do, eh?

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