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ICML files

ICML files are essentially XML files, usualy managed by InCopy, Adobe’s own word processor, which can be easily imported into Adobe InDesign.

Importing ICML to InDesign

An ICML file can be imported into InDesign with File>Place

The present paragraph styles and chapter styles that were present in the manuscript which gave origin to the ICML are kept and included in the HTML file.

bold; italic; blockquotes; footnotes; headers; paragraphs; tables; lists.

Images are given an empty placeholder.

Updating content

If the ICML remains linked to the inDesign project, changes performed in manuscript, once converted to the ICML, will be integrated into the inDesign project.

inDesign Styles

See more in

Importing styles from another inDesign project

To import character and paragraph styles from another inDesign project:

  • Choose Load All Text Styles from the Paragraph Styles panel menu
    • InDesign displays the Open a File dialog box.
  • Locate and select the InDesign project file containing the styles you want and click the Open button.
    • InDesign copies the character styles from that publication into the current document.


Importing/Exporting styles

According to course Exporting InDesign styles for CSS and HTML "InDesign writes and creates the CSS for you. This is not an option that I really recommend because InDesign, great as it is, does not write very good CSS. It tries to write CSS that is a very, very close match in appearance to your print layout and that's not necessarily Web-friendly."

Besides the design spaces - the page and the screen have different properties and behaviors.

Conversions to ICML

Pandoc can convert HTML and Markdown markups into ICML, since the file format is is essentially XML markup.

Example command:

pandoc -s -f markdown -t icml -o my.icml

-s option, which stands for “standalone”, produces output with an appropriate header and footer;

-f option, which stands for “from”, is followed by the source format;

-t option, which stands for “to”, is followed by the output format;

-o option, which stands for “output”;; is the markdown source filename.



Scribus is an Open Source desktop publishing (DTP) application is designed for layout, typesetting. It is an open source alternative to inDesign. ( More on Open Source, graphic design practice, and education on this interview by Femke Snelting )

Instead of importing ICML Scribus allows HTML content to be imported

The main rule for the HTML is that it must have a body

A list of HTML tags supported by Scribus can be found in

In order to import an HTML files into Scribus, as structured content you need to use the Insert->Insert Text Frame tool.

With that tool you can select the space which the text will occupy on page.

And inside that space right click the mouse, selecting "Get Text" option, which will allowing to import the HTML file.

Scribus styles

HTML tags, are recognized by Scribus, which can the stylized with Scribus.

Edit-> Styles...

Select the specific tag you'd like to edit and choose the option Edit.