InCopy CS Info and Tips

September 14, 2004 - 1:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

I've been working a lot lately — both in-house and through training engagements — with Adobe's editorial workflow solution, InCopy CS, InDesign CS, and the free "Bridge" plugins — new to InCopy CS — that tie them together.

With this set up, editors can "check out" articles from an InDesign publication and copy edit while seeing how their story fits in the actual layout, even if/while the designer has the InDesign file open. (Meaning: If your editors want to edit their stories in InDesign, they don't need to buy InDesign — just InCopy, which is far less expensive, and could even replace MS Word in this workflow.)

Adobe's Bridge plugins allow designers and editors to automatically update each other with changed files, without having to purchase 3rd-party plugins, as was necessary with earlier versions of InCopy. There is no equivalent solution for QuarkXPress, unless you want to spend thousands of dollars (at least) for a QPS set-up.

We set up an InDesign CS/InCopy CS bridge workflow here in our studio with three computers (Macs and PCs) and a quasi-server (a shared external hard drive) and are doing real projects with it. As a result of this ongoing experience, and from teaching it to clients, here are some tips and links for any DesignGeek readers who are either considering, testing, or currently using Adobe's cool "bridge workflow."

Download the Tryout

If you have InDesign CS and want to see how it works, you can download a fully-functional tryout of InCopy CS from Adobe's web site:

InCopy CS Tryout for Macs

InCopy CS Tryout for Windows

You don't have to have a server to use the system, all the files can be kept on your local hard drive if you want. That way you can test it out for yourself, bouncing between InCopy and InDesign.

The default InCopy CS installation installs the Bridge plugins, not just for InCopy, but also for InDesign CS. If you installed InCopy CS first and then installed InDesign CS on the same machine, you'll need to run the InCopy CS installer again and choose a custom installation that only installs the InDesign CS Bridge plugins.

Download the Update

All InCopy CS users, tryout or purchased, should download and install the 3.01 update that was released on August 12, 2004. This is an additional update to the 3.01 update that was released in March 2004 (don't ask me why both have the same number.) It fixes a bunch of minor problems, especially pertaining to server issues. These links appear on the same pages as the above URLs, but here's a direct link anyway:

ICCS 3.01 Update for Macs

ICCS 3.01 Update for Windows

(By the way, there's an August 3.01 update for InDesign CS too … an update to the earlier 3.01 update. Go to Adobe's downloads page at and click on the InDesign link for your platform to get it. Or just choose Help -> Updates in InDesign CS.)

Download the Cheat Sheet

Buried on Adobe's web site is a wonderful PDF document that explains the whole process of using InDesign CS and InCopy CS with the Bridge plug-ins:

The Bridge Workflow in InDesign CS and InCopy CS (888k)

It's fully illustrated and includes step-by-step instructions for setting up a workflow and productivity tips. It also explains how to set it up on a single workstation for testing purposes.

Most Common Error with New Users

If you're in InCopy and you want to edit an article from an InDesign publication in Layout View, do you open the article's InCopy file? No. You open the *InDesign* layout file. From InCopy's File -> Open command. Bizarre, no?

You're not actually opening the InDesign document in InCopy; that would be impossible. You're opening something similar to a snapshot of the InDesign file — when you switch to Layout View you can see all the placed images, graphic elements, text frames, etc., but you can't edit them. The only element you can edit and format is the text in the stories (the stories the designer exported as InCopy stories, that is).

Actually, you could open the standalone InCopy story file and edit it. It's still linked to the layout, when you save your changes and check the file back in, the designer is alerted (via InDesign's Links palette) that the article has been modified and can update the layout with your changes.

But when you open a standalone InCopy file, you can't see a true Layout view. The Layout View tab is still active, but all that's different from Story or Galley View is that you can see the text formatting. No other InDesign document elements are visible.

Save a Version of an InCopy Story

There are a number of InCopy/InDesign workflow solutions from third parties that are more robust and fully-featured than Adobe's free Bridge plugins. One of those features is editorial version tracking and rollbacks. There's no automated way to do that with the Bridge plugins.'

You can devise your own manual system, though. You'll note that InCopy's File menu has a couple tantalizing commands: "Save Story As" and "Save Story Copy." The problem is that if you've opened an InDesign file in InCopy so you can see page elements in Layout View (see preceding section), these commands are grayed out.

If that's your situation, do this. Using the Type tool in any view, click inside the story that you want to save a version of and choose Edit -> Select All. Copy the selected text to the clipboard, then choose File -> New to create a new standalone InCopy document. Paste the story into the new document and save it with a different name. This new story is not linked in any way to the InDesign layout file, but retains all existing information, including style sheets.

When *do* those "Save Story As" and "Save Story Copy" commands become enabled? When you open the standalone InCopy file. Choosing either command creates a copy of the story in its current state that is unlinked to the layout file, leaving the linked story as it was last saved.

Track Changes a la Microsoft Word

Did you know that InCopy has a Track Changes feature similar (but not quite as powerful) to Microsoft Word's? It's turned off by default. To turn it on, choose Track Story Changes from the Changes menu. Now delete a word in a story and see what happens: the word remains, but with a strikethrough line and highlighted in your user color (which you set in Preferences).

When you save the file and the InDesign file is updated with your story edits, the word disappears in InDesign. (It doesn't have a Track Changes feature.)

Nonetheless, it can still work in reverse. If the InDesign user edits a story in InDesign, there's no visual indicator in InDesign of their change; but after they check the story in, their changes are tracked and show up in InCopy (if Track Changes had been turned on when the story was last saved in InCopy). Nifty.

There are a ton of Change tracking features in InCopy; note that not only does it merit its own menu, but there's a Change Info palette available in the Windows menu (you can use it to see time/date stamping of changes) and of course all those icons in the InCopy toolbar for reviewing, accepting and rejecting changes.

For detailed instructions, in InCopy choose Help -> InCopy Help. When the online manual opens in your browser, click the "Writing and Editing Text" link on the left, then the "Tracking and reviewing changes" link on the right.

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