I had content in Word documents that I needed to convert to Asciidoc for our book. Here are the steps I found to work best:

  1. Save Word doc as HTML

  2. Encode as UTF-8

  3. Use pandoc to convert from HTML to AsciiDoc

  4. Use Sublime Text 2 search and replace (using some regular expressions) to strip out crazy things

  5. Use Sublime Text 2 to perform any remaining formatting

Save Word doc as HTML

Open the document in Word, and then save as a web page. Select the "Save only Display Information into HTML" option when saving. Exit from Word (and wave it goodbye as you do!).

Encode as UTF-8

Open the html file in Sublime Text 2. Avert your eyes at the horror that is Word-formatted HTML. Reopen with encoding UTF-8 and save the file:

Sublime Text 2 Reopen with Encoding

If I don’t recode as UTF-8, then the next step will fail with the error:

pandoc: Cannot decode byte '\x6f': Data.Text.Encoding.decodeUtf8: Invalid UTF-8 stream

Use Pandoc to convert from HTML to AsciiDoc

Run pandoc. For example, the following command takes ConventionSheet.htm and converts it to the AsciiDoc file file.asc:

pandoc -f html -t asciidoc -o file.asc ConventionSheet.htm

Use Sublime Text 2 search and replace (using some regular expressions) to strip out crazy things

Weird single quotes need to go:

Sublime Text 2 Replace backtick with single quote

If you had reviewing turned on in Word, then reviewer comments and changes will likely be present in the HTML. Remove these using a search and replace with the following Regex in the search field:

\[line-through\]\*(.+)\*

When matched lines cross line breaks then you can use the single line option (?s) in your regex for search and replace:

(?s)\[line-through\]\*.(.*?)\*

Use Sublime Text 2 to perform any remaining AsciiDoc formatting

Monospace any regex or other special characters (these will cause problems for the AsciiDoc parser) in the document.

Edit the AsciiDoc document as you wish! Note that GitHub now natively displays AsciiDoc files (using AsciiDoctor behind the scenes), just as it does for Markdown.

About the Author

Paul is from Perth, Australia, but chooses to live, work and play with his amazing wife and two children in Denver, Colorado. He co-founded and co-leads DDD Denver. Look for him speaking at local user groups, and at regional and international conferences.

If you are looking for an expert hands-on team coach and design mentor in Domain-Driven Design (DDD), BDD with Cucumber, or lean/agile process Paul is available for consulting and training through his company, Virtual Genius LLC.