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non-joiners, word, not word, indesign and Farsi

Ever had to typset some Farsi from a word document only to find that the non-joiners and other characters get stripped?

This might help if you, like me are trying to get a Farsi document written in microsoft word on the PC into Indesign on the mac and don’t have Microsoft office.

Firstly, the .docx will open in TextEdit, Pages, Libre Office, Google docs and can be ‘placed’ in Indesign directly.

Of these Libre Office is the only one where the non-joiner appears to be preserved. Copying and pasting from Libre Office into Indesign however has the same effect of using one of the other options – the non-joiner is lost. But… through the magic of search and replace you can swap the non-joiner used in the word document with one that Indesign (and all the other programs) like and save it in the docx format to boot. Doing this is a little fiddly – you need to copy and paste the offending and working characters into the search and replace box, which spend most of their lives being entirely invisible.

Why and what is causing this incompatibility I don’t know nor have time to find out. But as a note-to-self-for-others, this is a solution.