Text Editing Efficiencies – Part 1

Normally when I’m teaching the InCopy workflow to a new group of users, I focus on the overall workflow as well has the features and functionality that InCopy provides to make the job of design and editorial easier. I assume that the users are already efficient computer users and breeze over a lot of the more mundane details of editing text. After all, most of the users have been doing this for years if not decades.

During a recent engagement I was observing a group of users putting the InCopy workflow into practice, this included designers, editors, writers, and others. What I noticed during my observation was how much time everyone was spending using the mouse to meticulously select text that needed to be modified in their documents. The process went something like this. Grab the mouse, move it to the correct location on the screen, click and drag to select text, delete or edit the text, rinse and repeat. Now I understand fully that everyone works in their own way and has a certain way of doing things, but I couldn’t help but to think that with a little knowledge, and new techniques, that their efficiency could be improved significantly. When it comes to editing text in either InDesign or InCopy, there’s no better way than the keyboard. I thought I’d share some of my favorite methods for navigating through text.

Navigating using the Keyboard

Let’s start with the basics, insert your cursor somewhere within some text. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate left to right one character at a time and up and down one line at a time. This shortcut can be somewhat limiting because you can only move a small amount of space at a time. To speed things up, add the Command key (Mac) or the Control key (Windows) to those same arrow keys. This multiplies the amount of space that you can navigate considerably. Using the Cmd/Ctrl key in conjunction with the left and right arrow keys navigates through text one word at a time and using the up and down arrow keys navigates one paragraph at a time. Finally, using the Cmd/Ctrl key in conjunction with the home and end buttons on your keyboard will navigate to the beginning and end of a story respectively. If you’re working on a smaller sized keyboard without home and end keys, you can still achieve this result by combining the Cmd/Ctrl key with the fn (function) key along with the left arrow (home> and the right arrow (end) on the keyboard. This shortcut will take miles off of your mouse each year!

There’s more to show, but I figured that for this post, I’d focus on the navigational aspects of working with text using a keyboard in InDesign and InCopy. I’ve added a table of the keyboard shortcuts discussed in this post below for easy access later on. Practice these shortcuts until next week and then we’ll discuss how to efficiently select text in the same way using InDesign and InCopy.

Description Mac Shortcut Windows Shortcut
Navigate one character left Left Arrow Left Arrow
Navigate one character right Right Arrow Right Arrow
Navigate one line up Up Arrow Up Arrow
Navigate one line down Down Arrow Down Arrow
Navigate one word left Cmd + Left Arrow Ctrl + Left Arrow
Navigate one character right Cmd + Right Arrow Ctrl + Right Arrow
Navigate one paragraph up Cmd + Up Arrow Ctrl + Up Arrow
Navigate one paragraph down Cmd + Down Arrow Ctrl + Down Arrow
Navigate to beginning of story Cmd + Home Ctrl + Home
Navigate to beginning of story (min keyboard) fn + Cmd + Left Arrow fn + Ctrl + Left Arrow
Navigate to end of story Cmd + End Ctrl + End
Navigate to end of story (min keyboard) fn + Cmd + Right Arrow fn + Ctrl + Right Arrow

Sharing Stories Between Multiple InDesign Documents

Sometimes, despite how much you think you know about a product, you fall flat on your face. This happened to me recently while I was helping out on the Adobe forums and someone asked if it was possible to share an InCopy story between more than one InDesign document, but have different styles applied in each InDesign document. I replied matter-of-factly that this was not possible and that when you would make edits to one story, it would update the styles in the InCopy story therefore updating both InDesign documents. Boy was I wrong! Happily I might add! You can read the post here, and I’d like to thank Anne-Marie Concepcion for setting things straight.

How it works

The trick to making this work, is to define paragraph styles in each InDesign document with the same name but different definitions. Then make sure that the style is applied to the text in the linked InCopy story in each InDesign document. Now, whenever the text is edited in either of the InDesign documents or in the InCopy story, the story can be updated in both InDesign documents but the formatting retained.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 7.52.26 AMDual Story Screen Shot

You can open either of the InDesign documents in InCopy to make edits or you can edit the assignments if that is part of your workflow or you can edit the story directly. If you open the story directly in InCopy, the appearance of the text will reflect the InDesign document where the story was last updated. It doesn’t really matter however, as the appearance in each respective InDesign document will be honored, retaining the formatting of the text.

Reap the Rewards!

This functionality can have a big impact in certain workflow solutions. Having text common to more than one document or project is something that is commonplace in many workflows. The ability to link a story to more than one InDesign document with independent formatting can save time and limit errors.

Drag and Drop Text Editing

When it comes to drag and drop text editing in InCopy, users fall on opposite sides of the love/hate spectrum. People who love it, say that it’s a life-saver and they can’t live without it. People who hate it, can’t stand it and want to know how to turn it off. Let’s put the debate aside, and discuss the features that it provides and you can decide for yourself how useful it can be in your own workflow.

Enabling Drag and Drop Text Editing

By default drag and drop text editing is enabled in Galley and Story view, it is not however enabled in Layout view. To access the preference, choose Incopy > Preferences > Type (Mac) or Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows). At the bottom of the dialog box, you’ll see the Drag and Drop Text Editing section with two checkboxes for enabling or disabling drag and drop text editing in Layout View and Galley/Story View.

Drag and Drop Text Preference

How it Works

To use drag and drop text editing, highlight a word in your document and release the mouse button. Now when you hover over the selected text, your cursor changes to an arrow/type cursor. Simply drag the highlighted text to a new area and release the mouse to move the text to the new location.


I can see how this could be a bit dangerous if you work quickly in InCopy, because if you are unaware of the feature, it’s pretty easy to inadvertently drag text to a new location. Once you understand how drag and drop text editing works though, you might find it to be a very efficient way to tweak text in your document. Want a quick way to copy highlighted text? Begin dragging and add the option key (Mac) or alt key (Windows) and release the mouse to find a quickly created copy of the highlighted text!

Enable Drag and Drop text editing in InCopy and give it a whirl. I think you’ll find that it’s a very useful feature that can make your editing life easier. If not, now you know where to go to turn it off.

Join Us at PePcon This Year!

Every year, some of the best and brightest in the print and e-publishing industries gather together at a single location and teach, share, interact, and debate about what’s going on in the industry. Speakers and attendees from all over the world come to learn new features, new techniques, and new ways of doing things! Last year’s event in Chicago was a huge success and this year it’s coming to Philly! PePcon 2015 is located at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown right in the heart of Philadelphia.

Why Attend?

As an InCopy user, why should you attend PePcon? Because there is going to be like-minded people there to learn from and discuss challenges and solutions to your most vexing problems. People with whom you can discuss workflow questions, techniques, and much more will be in attendance. Of course there is also an InCopy session this year by world renowned speaker Russell Viers titled “Streamlining Design/Editorial Workflows: Word, InCopy, GoogleDocs, and more!” that is bound to be informative to all who attend. If you haven’t heard Russell speak before, you’re missing out and if you have, you’ll definitely want to attend his session. Check out the PePcon speakers page for a list of all of the speakers that will be attending and the sessions that they’ll be presenting.

I’d Love to See You There!

Oh, and did I mention that I’ll be there? I’ll be presenting a session titled “CSS/HTML for Designers.” It’s a pre-conference session geared towards (but not limited to) designers who are trying to get a handle on CSS and HTML. It’s really for anyone who needs to deal with web content even in a small way who is trying to wrap their heads around CSS and HTML. You know nothing about CSS and HTML? You’re the perfect attendee for this session. Check out my speaker page and follow me on twitter to get periodic updates and fun tips.

More than anything, I’d love to meet you! This is a great place to meet InCopySecrets fans and put faces to names. It’s great knowing you all virtually but it would be even better to meet you in person! For a limited time, you can get a $50 discount on your PePcon registration by entering the code below.

use code SPK63W

I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you as I can at PePcon 2015 in Philly this year. If you go, please hunt me down and introduce yourself! As much as there is to learn at PePcon, there’s also plenty of time to socialize and have fun! I look forward to meeting you!

What Version of InCopy Should I be Using?

One of the more common InCopy questions that I get asked is “What version of InCopy should I be using?” The answer honestly, depends on the version of InDesign that is being used in your workflow.

Keep the Versions Consistent

It’s important to understand that with each release of InDesign, there are new features added to the program. In order for InCopy to work with these features, there is almost always a new version of InCopy released as well. These InCopy releases include the features added to InDesign to make the two programs compatible. This is why it’s important to keep the versions of InDesign and InCopy consistent for all users in the workflow. Although mixing versions of InDesign and Incopy could potentially work, you’re playing with fire by doing so especially in a production environment.

Usually But Not Always

There’s always exceptions to the rule right? Recently, Anne-Marie Concepcion brought to my attention that the latest versions of InDesign and InCopy 2014 are in fact not the same version. It seems that as of this writing, InDesign CC 2014 is at version 10.2 and InCopy CC 2014 is at version 10.0. The good news is that although the version are not the same, they do play well together.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.24.18 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.24.39 AM

Be Aware of this Glitch

Here’s a little glitch that you need to be aware of. If you open an InDesign CC file and save it as an InDesign CC 2014 file, InCopy can open it but you might get an error message about a missing plug-in. The good news is that dismissing this error message allows you to continue working as usual. It seems that InDesign CC 2014 files that are converted from InDesign CC causes this problem. If you create a file directly from InDesign CC 2014, the message no longer appears. If you encounter this problem, a simple solution is to export the InDesign file as an IDML file (InDesign Markup) and then open it and save it back to an InDesign file. After doing this, the problem will no longer occur.

Latest Update

If you do encounter this problem, I encourage you to run the latest Creative Cloud update for InDesign and InCopy. As quickly as this problem popped up, it went away just as quickly. With the latest versions of InDesign ( and InCopy ( this problem appears to be fixed, and although the versions are still not exactly the same, they play together just fine.

This is an excellent example of keeping your software up-to-date and the benefits of the Creative Cloud.

Text Cleanup in InCopy using GREP

This past week I was talking with a group of editors who were lamenting about the amount of time that they spend each day cleaning up text from Word content that they place into InCopy. Specifically they were talking about numbered items in the Word document. This piqued my curiosity because I know full well that numbered and bulleted lists in Microsoft Word are handled quite well by InCopy and get converted to native numbered and bulleted lists when imported. Upon further explanation, it turns out in their case, that the numbering applied in Word was done manually instead of using the numbered list feature built into Word.

This actually explained quite a bit. What was happening was that when they imported the manually numbered items into InCopy and applied the numbering paragraph style to the text, they ended up with double numbers. One number generated automatically and one number that was manually typed. Let it be said, that it is one of my missions in life, to get users to use Word (and other applications) correctly, but I’m not going to achieve that anytime soon.
Double Numbered List

GREP to the Rescue!

Their current solution to the problem was one that basically involved manually removing the number, the period, and the extra spaces for each numbered item because they tried with little success in the past to fix the problem using Find/Change. Although Find/Change was close to the correct solution, they just needed to go a little bit further in the dialog box to find GREP. I wrote an introductory post on GREP in InCopy here, so if you’re totally new to GREP, you might want to familiarize yourself with it.

GREP takes Find/Change to a whole new level by allowing a user to build intelligence into a search. Start by making sure your cursor is within the story that you want to edit and that the story is checked out (if applicable). Open the Find/Change dialog box by pressing Cmd+F (Mac) or Ctrl+F (Windows) and click on the GREP button at the top of the dialog box. Directly to the right of the Find What field, click on the @ symbol to specify special characters in your text to search. In the drop-down menu, choose Wildcards > Any Digit which will insert \d into the Find What field which is the regular expression for a digit. This search alone will find any numeric digit in your file. This is not specific enough for our example so we’ll need to define more properties to search.

Directly to the right of the \d in the Find What field, type \. (backslash period). In the GREP language, whenever you want to find a literal character, you need to precede it with a backslash which tells GREP that the text you’re typing is not part of its language but instead is defining the literal text. Now we’re finding a digit followed by a period. At this point I’ll press the Find Next button a few times to test my search so far to see if I’m on the right track. Make sure your cursor is to the right of the period in the Find What field and click on the @ symbol and choose Wildcard > Any White Space. Click on the @ symbol again and choose Repeat > One or More Times which tells InCopy that there could be one or more space in a row. This bullet-proofs the search a bit because it accounts for inconsistencies in the number of spaces that might appear after the period.

Letting GREP do the Heavy Lifting

The Find What field should now look like this \d\.\s+ which is basically saying find a digit followed by a period, followed by one or more spaces. Make sure that the Change to field is blank and click the Change All button and watch InDesign remove all of those extra characters.

GREP Find Change dialog box

GREP Find_change

Save that Search!

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a GREP guru to make use of this fantastic feature. You don’t even need to remember what to type in! Once you build a GREP search like we did here, simply click the Save Query button at the top of the Find/Change dialog box, give it a name, and click save. Now you can choose it from the Query drop-down menu any time you need to use it!

The Save Query button

The beauty of GREP is that once you figure it out, it can save you literally hours of manual work. Once you figure out the correct GREP for your situation, save it and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I’d like to know about other text cleanup issues that you wrestle with on a daily basis. Post them in the comments section below, and I or someone else in the InCopySecrets community will respond to your question. If we get some interesting examples, I’ll write it up as a post here at InCopySecrets.com. Until next time!

Beware of this InCopy bug!

While doing InCopy training for a group of editors recently, I ran across a nasty bug in InCopy CS6 and InDesign CS6. This bug doesn’t seem to exist in InCopy/InDesign CC (vs.
When you create a new document in InDesign CS6, you can choose a “intent” in the New Document dialog box. The Digital Publishing intent is often used for creating article content for Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 3.17.34 PM

The Problem

If you choose the Digital Publishing or Web intent, this makes InCopy CS6 crash when you use the “Package” workflow. Specifically, you will be able to create InCopy Stories and Assignments, and edit those with InCopy without a problem. And you will be able to choose “Package for InCopy” from the Assignments panel menu and generate a .icap file successfully. However when an InCopy CS6 user tries to open the .icap file, InCopy will crash.

The workaround? Open the InDesign file, choose File > New Document, and change the Intent to Print. This will change the page size to Letter, but you can change it back to the original Width and Height (be sure to include “px” after your measurements to specify pixels). You may also want to choose Edit > Transparency Blend Space > Document RGB to put the transparency blend space back to what it was, and change your measurement system back to pixels. Unfortunately, changing the intent to Print will change any RGB swatches to CMYK, which may cause a color shift. If so, you will need to edit each swatch and change it back to its original RGB color values.

Editors Update

As Keith was writing this article, Adobe announced the February 2015 release of Adobe InDesign CC. As part of this release, they also updated InDesign CS6 that fixed the bug outlined in Keith’s article above. This update however only applies to users who purchased InDesign CS6 as part of the Creative Cloud subscription. If you purchased InDesign CS6 as a perpetual license (boxed or as a download), you’ll still need to take advantage of Keith’s workaround above.

Table Tips

Recently, it’s been brought to my attention that Tables in both InCopy and InDesign can be a bit of a challenge for new and seasoned users alike. The former especially whom are likely accustomed to working with tables in Microsoft Word, discover very quickly that tables in InCopy definitely don’t work the same.

An additional challenge is simply finding the controls to specify the strokes around each cell of a table. InDesign provides a quick view of cell borders in the Control panel but nothing like that is easily visible in InCopy. So here are some helpful tips to make working with tables easier in InCopy.

Selecting Table Elements

InCopy in some ways eases the process of selecting table elements because the Type tool needs to be active in order to select table elements. This sometimes confounds InDesign users because they’ll try to use another tool to perform the task. InCopy only has 6 tools to choose from and the Type tool is the one most often used so InCopy users should have no problem here. To select columns and rows, simply hover your cursor over the top or left side of the table respectively and click when you see a bold arrow to select the row or column. You can also click and drag to select a range of rows/columns or click in the upper-left corner to select the whole table.

Selecting a table

Once the table or a portion of the table is selected, you can format the text within the table just as you would any other text. A common task that frustrates users when working with tables is selecting a single cell within a table. It can be maddening trying to click and drag to select only a single cell. To ease this process, simply click anywhere within a cell using your Type tool and press the Escape key on your keyboard. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Single table cell selection

To select a single cell, simply click within the cell with the Type tool and press Escape on your keyboard.

Adjusting Table Strokes

To visually see how strokes are applied to a selected table or a selected range of cells, you need to open the Cell Options dialog box. Go to Table > Cell Options > Strokes and Fills to display the dialog box.

Cell options dialogCell Borders

This is where if you’ve used Microsoft Word before, the behavior you experience is not the behavior that you get. In Word, by clicking on the edges of the proxy preview area (figure above right), you will enable or disable the stroke (border) of the selected cell(s). InCopy requires an extra step. By selecting or deselecting the borders in the proxy preview in InCopy, you are simply telling InCopy which cell edges you want to effect. Once you’ve done that, any changes you make to the weight, type, color or tint in the Cell Stroke section of the Cell Options dialog box, will be applied to the selected edges of the cell.

Selecting the cell edges in the proxy preview can be accomplished by simply clicking on an edge to enable or disable that cell edge. To speed up the selection process, you can use these tips:

  • Double click on one of the outer borders to select or deselect all sides of the selected area
  • Double click on one of the inner borders to select or deselect all inner borders of the selected area
  • Triple click on any line in the proxy preview to select or deselect every border of the selected area

Resizing Tables

You can drag any cell edge of a table to adjust that particular row/cell. However if you want to adjust all of the rows or columns in a table, you need to hold down the shift key and drag on the bottom or right edge of the table respectively.

Resizing a table

The shift key can also be used to resize internal rows and columns in a table while keeping the overall size of the table intact. Finally if you have adjusted the rows and columns of a table and want to set a range of them back to a consistent size, select the range of columns or rows that you want to adjust and choose Table > Distribute Rows Evenly or Distribute Columns Evenly. Below is an example of a table created entirely in InCopy.


Tables are a powerful feature in InCopy and are a great way to present data in an organized way. Hopefully these table tips will save you a few precious minutes during your daily work routine. If you’d like to share some of your favorite time-saving table tips with us, please do so in the comments section below. Until next time!

How to edit multi-state object content with InCopy

One shortcoming of the InDesign/InCopy workflow is that if an InDesign user includes text in any of the states of a multi-state object (mso), InCopy users will not be able to see or edit the text in the states of the mso.

But, it turns out that with a couple extra steps in InDesign, and clever use of the linked content feature (introduced in InDesign CS5.5) you can make mso text editable by InCopy users.

In this example, I’ll create an mso that has 2 states: “hidden” and “visible”. When the user taps a “plus” icon in the “hidden” state, the “visible” state appears that consists of a text frame that contains a caption.

How It’s Done

  1. In InDesign, create the text frame for the visible state on the pasteboard close to where the mso will be positioned on the page.
  2. Format this text frame exactly as you want it to appear in the mso. It can be really useful to set the text frame to “auto-size” so that it grows and shrinks as the text within is edited.
  3. Select the text frame with the Selection (black arrow) tool.

Text frame selection

  1. Choose Edit > Place and Link. This will cause a place cursor to appear.

Place and Link


  1. Click to discharge the place cursor. This will create a copy of the original text frame with the same dimensions, properties, and contents as the original.
  2. Position the copy of the text frame where you want it on the page, and build the 2 states of the mso.

Multi-State Object


  1. Now use the Object States and buttons panel to “wire up” the multi-state object as you usually would, leaving the text frame on the pasteboard untouched.
  2. Now, as long as you include the text frame that is on the pasteboard when you export stories or create an assignment for InCopy, the text in that frame will be available to checkout and edit in InCopy.

Here is what it looks like after editing in Layout view in InCopy. The frame on the pasteboard is visible, the frame in the mso is not. Of course, the text also appears in Story and Galley view.

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 4.24.29 PM

  1. Check the story back in.
  2. Now, back in InDesign, you just need to choose Update All Links from the Links panel menu, and both frames will be updated with the edited text.

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 4.29.17 PM

Unleashing the Power of Power Zoom!

One of the common challenges that InCopy users face, is the efficient navigation of documents in both Galley/Story views as well as Layout view. Layout view can be particularly challenging because if you are working in a facing page document the pages bounce between left and right hand pages and the lack of a Pages panel in InCopy makes it even more challenging. To address this, some users take advantage of the scroll wheel on the mouse or the scroll bars located at the right and bottom edges of the document window. I personally find this method to be on par with getting a root canal.

Document Navigation in Layout View

Out of the 5 tools available in InCopy, two of them are specifically dedicated to navigating a document in Layout view. Those tools are the Hand tool Hand tool and the Zoom tool Zoom tool.

The Zoom tool allows a user to zoom in on a document for closer inspection, typically to edit text and to avoid squinting when reading it. Once zoomed in, the Hand tool can become a replacement for the scroll bars because a user can simply click somewhere in the document and drag to the area that they want to see (much much easier than those scroll bars).

Dragging with the Zoom tool to zoom in on an area.


Once zoomed in, the hand tool makes it easy to navigate within the page.

Now the Fun Stuff!

As helpful as these navigation tools are, there’s one feature that many users don’t know about which is Power Zoom. Power Zoom is accessible after you’ve zoomed in on an area of a document and have the Hand tool active. You initiate Power Zoom by clicking and holding with your mouse for a second with the Hand tool active anywhere in the document. With the mouse still held down, You’ll enter Power Zoom which initially displays a birds-eye view of the document with a red rectangle displayed.

With the mouse still held down, you can now move the red rectangle to a different area of your document to change the area of focus. Now, simply release the mouse and InDesign zooms in on the new area of the document. Do this as often as you need to to view the area of the document that needs attention.
Power Zoom

When Power Zoom is initiated, you are presented with a birds-eye view of your document. Move the red rectangle, release the mouse and you’r zoomed in to a new area of the document.

Some users stumble upon the Power Zoom feature by accident when they pause while using the Hand tool and don’t quite understand what’s happening. Once you understand how it works however, Power Zoom can be an incredibly efficient way to navigate your InCopy document in Layout view. Give it a chance and you’ll never want to go back to those pesky scroll bars again! Let us know how you like Power Zoom and share you favorite navigation tips and tricks with us using the comments section below.