Taking control when control is needed

The InCopy workflow brings a lot of great benefits to the table including the ability to edit copy to fit a given area, viewing the final design of a project in InCopy as you work, and the ability to edit content in a layout while the designer is making adjustments to that layout just to name a few. This last capability can be a bit treacherous at times though. When a project is still in its infancy designers will often be making formatting adjustments to a layout to achieve the desired visual look of the project. In these cases, the designers need complete control to ensure that all of the changes are implemented into all of the linked stories and into the layout and any assignments that are being used.

When the designer needs complete control over formatting changes, the solution is actually pretty simple. I encourage designers to check out all stories in a layout when complete editing control is required. This solves a couple of potential problems.

  1. Nobody can check out any content while formatting adjustments are being made, ensuring that all content is updated the next time an editor checks out a story.
  2. The designer has complete control during this stage so they can make any and all necessary changes (formatting or otherwise) to the layout.

How is this accomplished?

To do this, check out all of the stories in the layout first, preventing anyone else from editing them.  To quickly check out all the stories at once, open the Assignments panel in InDesign. Click on the first story, then shift+click on the last story and click the checkout button.



Now in the figure above, we’re using a layout-based workflow so all of the stories are in one convenient location. However in a more complex assignment-based workflow, you will have to open up each assignment and check out all of the stories in each assignment. Slightly more time consuming but not too bad.

Although I truly feel that the omission of a “check out all” command is needed in InDesign’s Assignments panel, Adobe did provide users with a “check in all” command to wrap up this process. Simply choose “Check In All” from the panel menu in the Assignments panel and poof! All of your stories are checked back in. Give this method a try with your own workflow and I think you’ll agree that it’s a great way to ensure that the designer has complete control when formatting changes need to be made.

InCopy CS6 Added to the Creative Cloud

This past week, InDesign guru Bob Levine made me aware of an interesting addition that showed up on Adobe Creative Cloud. It appears that Adobe silently made InCopy CS6 available as a download via the Creative Cloud!

Now if you’re like me, you might be asking yourself “Well, if I already upgraded to the Creative Cloud, why would I want an older version of InCopy?” It seems to me that Adobe might be making it easier for businesses to take advantage of InCopy in a variety of different workflows. I suppose if you are implementing an InCopy workflow and the designers are still running InDesign CS6, you might prefer that the Editorial staff are running the same version of InCopy.

Another potential reason could be to address a bug discovered in the 9.2 update to InCopy and InDesign that prevents users working in a Layout-based workflow from being able to open an InDesign file at the same time (more on that in another post). Although there are workarounds to this problem, I suppose dropping down to CS6 could be a temporary although not ideal solution.

Whatever the reason for the release of InCopy CS6 to the cloud, it’s not as obvious as you might think to find it. I for one simply looked in the Creative Cloud Desktop application on my Mac for InCopy CS6 however it was nowhere to be found in the list. Bob on the other hand said that it appeared in his Creative Cloud Desktop application on his Windows computer. There seems to be an inconsistency regarding what does and doesn’t show up there. If you don’t see it in your Creative Cloud Desktop application, simply go to https://creative.adobe.com/products/incopy. Once on that page, make sure that you sign in using your Adobe ID associated with your Creative Cloud account.

Adobe CC Sign in

Once you sign in, you’ll notice a small button that appears in the “in this version” section where you can choose which version you want to download. Choose InCopy CS6 from the list, then click the download button at the top of the screen.

InCopy CS 6 Cloud Download

So regardless of your reason for wanting to take advantage of InCopy CS6, rest assured that it’s available as a member of the Creative Cloud. We want to hear from you! So if you found this post useful or want to share why you have found the availability of InCopy CS6 via the Creative Cloud useful, please let us know. And don’t forget that if you have tips or tricks that you would like to write about, e-mail me at editor@incopysecrets.com and we’ll get your post up on InCopySecrets too! Till next time!

Navigating the tools panel in InCopy

I was inspired to write the topic of this week’s blog post after listening to the latest InDesignSecrets podcast where David and Anne-Marie were discussing spring-loaded shortcuts as well as different keyboard shortcuts for navigating the tools panel in Adobe InDesign. It got me to thinking, these types of shortcuts are just as useful in InCopy but maybe not quite as discoverable.

There are a total of 6 tools in InCopy:

  • Type Tool (T)
  • Position Tool (Shift+A, Escape)
  • Note Tool (N)
  • Eyedropper Tool (I)
  • Hand Tool (H)
  • Zoom Tool (Z)

Now it’s important to understand that all six tools are available only in Layout view. In Galley and Story views only the Type and Note tools are available. So assuming you’re in Layout view, each tool has a keyboard shortcut that can be used to make each tool active. I’ve listed the shortcuts next to each tool in the list above but you can also find the shortcut for each tool by hovering over the tool with your cursor.

InCopy tools

If you’ve ever tried to use any of these keyboard shortcuts, you might have become frustrated because with the Type tool active, all of these shortcuts will not work because pressing the shortcut key will enter that character in the current story instead. So how do you take advantage of those handy keyboard shortcuts? Well, although it may sound obvious, you need to start by selecting any tool other than the Type tool. To do that using the keyboard, you use the Escape key. This selects the Position tool and although it’s arguably one of the least used tools in InCopy, it gets you to a point where you can use the keyboard shortcut keys to select other tools. Go ahead and try it! Now when you chose the (T, N, I, H, or Z) keys, they will select the appropriate tool. Cool!

Spring-loaded shortcuts

Using these handy shortcuts is a big time saver when working in InCopy but you’ll quickly find that once you use one of these shortcuts, you’ll need to use another one to get back to your original tool. That’s where spring-loaded shortcuts come into play. With spring-loaded shortcuts you can access a tool temporarily using the same keyboard shortcut but instead of pressing the shortcut key and letting go, you press-and-hold the keyboard shortcut to activate it for quick use. Then when you let go of the key, the active tool returns to the tool originally selected. For example, let’s say you had the Hand tool active in a layout to move around easily from one part of the page to another and now you want to make a text change. Press and hold the T key on your keyboard and click with a text area or click and drag to select some text. Now let go of the T key and type the new text to make the change. You’ll notice now that the Hand tool is again active and if you click and drag with your mouse, the Hand tool moves the page location. It takes some getting used to, but I think you’ll find that using the shortcut keys and the spring-loaded shortcut keys to access your tools will allow you to work much more fluidly and efficiently in InCopy.

Do you have a tip on how you take advantage of these spring-loaded shortcuts? Please share with us in the comments section below. We’d all love to hear about new ways to use these keys!

InCopy in the Age of the Cloud

A lot has happened in the past 12 months that have changed how users get their hands on Adobe InCopy. Namely, the fact that Adobe is now offering their software via a subscription model as opposed to the traditional perpetual license that everyone was familiar with.

With the release of the Creative Cloud, Adobe is no longer selling a physical version of their products. Instead, you must purchase a subscription which provides access to Creative Cloud software that can be downloaded and installed on your computer. As a Creative Cloud member, all of the Creative Cloud software is available via a download. If a project arises that requires software not yet installed on your computer, you can download it from the Creative Cloud and install it which is a pretty simple process.

InCopy Users Rejoice!

InCopy CC LogoInCopy has never actually been a part of the Creative Suite of applications that we’ve been using for the past 10 years. If you wanted InCopy, you had to purchase a separate license for the additional software. Now however, InCopy CC is included as part of a Creative Cloud membership opening up the features of the InCopy workflow to the masses! This is great news for users who have considered implementing an InCopy workflow but were hesitant due to the additional cost of the software. One of the not so highly publicized  benefits of Creative Cloud membership is that you actually get two licenses of each application with your membership and they don’t have to be for the same platform. The only restriction is that both computers need to be for the same primary user of the software. So whether you’re running OS X, Windows, or both, Creative Cloud membership has you covered!

Creative Cloud Membership

To become a Creative Cloud member,  head on over to the Adobe website and sign up. The cost of a full Creative Cloud membership is $49.99/month. To see a full list of included software, click here. For a limited time, you can upgrade to the Creative Cloud at a cost of $29.99/month for the first year as long as you have purchased one of the Creative Suite products (version CS3 or greater).

So what do you do if all you want is Adobe InCopy? Well, you can also subscribe to individual products including InCopy if you wish at a cost of $19.99/month. This offers a relatively affordable solution for companies who have a lot of InCopy users. Keep in mind that the minute you need three individual applications, it’s cheaper to purchase a full Creative Cloud membership. But if you only need one or two applications, it’s cheaper to subscribe to the individual products. Many InCopy users that I work with spend most of their time in InCopy and Acrobat so purchasing those two products is still cheaper than the full membership. In a few companies that I’ve worked with, editorial folks are also tasked with making edits to Illustrator graphs and related artwork. In this situation the full Cloud membership makes more economical sense.

It should be mentioned that each of the plans discussed above requires an annual commitment at the prices listed. You can choose to subscribe on a monthly basis which allows you to cancel at any time however the prices jump to $29.99/month for individual applications and $74.99/month for the full membership. Not a bad deal if you need a product for only a few months during a busy production cycle.

Always up-to-date

A drastic shift from traditional software “ownership” is that starting with the Adobe Creative Cloud, updates to CC software including fixes and new features will be released on a regular basis. These updates are included as part of your CC subscription. Traditionally InCopy users would have to justify the additional cost of upgrading to a newer version, but now these upgrades are included with your subscription.

In a future post, I plan on discussing dealing with mixed versions of InCopy and InDesign in a typical workflow. What to watch out for, and what does and doesn’t work.

I look forward to hearing from all of you on what you like and don’t like about the Creative Cloud and what it means to your company and your workflow. Till next time!

Full speed ahead!

Greetings everyone! I’m happy, excited, and honored, to announce that InCopySecrets is up and running again after a not-so-brief hiatus. I’m happy because the InCopySecrets web site that contains articles and contributions from users all over the world has returned. Nice! I’m excited because now that InCopySecrets is back up and running, there’s going to be some great new content covering new features and techniques to help everyone to do their job even better. Now that InCopy is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, it is readily available to a whole new group of users that InCopySecrets is able to serve! And finally, I’m honored because I am the new Managing Editor for InCopySecrets!

About Me

Chad CheliusLet me introduce myself. My name is Chad Chelius. I’m an Adobe Certified Instructor and although a large portion of my work is as a trainer, I use Adobe products each and every day. I help companies both big and small to implement and use InCopy, InDesign and other Adobe applications to work faster, smarter, and more efficiently in their everyday workflows. After graduating college in the early 90′s, I began working in the print industry as a layout artist. It was the infancy of desktop publishing at the time and it turned printing as we knew it upside down. After doing that for 12 years, I decided to move into the training field where I could share my skills and experience with other users in areas such as print, web and video as well. In 2009 I began working for myself so I could pursue various training and project opportunities and as it turns out InCopySecrets is one of them! You can learn more about me here.


I’ve worked with David and Anne-Marie for some time now and when they asked me to become the Managing Editor for InCopySecrets, I was thrilled to say the least. The idea of being able to write about InCopy and share my knowledge as well as  learn new tips from the many users who visit InCopySecrets each day makes me giddy ;-) Make no mistake, Anne-Marie is in no way out of the picture. She’ll continue to be seen commenting and posting on InCopySecrets from time to time, but the day to day posting and monitoring will fall primarily on my shoulders and I’m very much looking forward to it!

We’re looking for contributors!

What I love about InCopy is that there’s no single way to use this amazing program and everyone uses it in different ways. Out users (you), make up a diverse group of users from different industries and workflows. So we want to know your tips and tricks for making the most out of Adobe InCopy. Many of you will contribute by commenting on existing posts, but if you have more to share we’d love to have you write guest posts occasionally to share your wisdom and experience on InCopySecrets.com. If you are interested in contributing in this way, contact me.

I look forward to seeing fresh new activity on the InCopySecrets web site and look forward to hearing from all of you soon!



InCopySecrets Update

Hi everyone,

I thought it was appropriate to add a post to let people know — if you haven’t been able to tell from the dates on the posts here — that this blog has gone on sabbatical for the time being. There have simply been too many demands on my time, and other blogs that I write for (InDesignSecrets.com, mostly), that I haven’t been able to post here as regularly as I used to.  I’ll leave all the blog posts up (though I’ve turned off comments) because most of them are still quite useful for anyone using InCopy, even the latest version from Adobe.

I’m still very much involved in the InCopy and InDesign workflow, however, and continue to do consulting, training and workflow implementations for clients large and small around the country. In fact, we use InCopy daily at my design/publishing studio, via Dropbox, with remote writers and editors, and multiple versions of InDesign. I also monitor Twitter for InCopy mentions (follow me @amarie), and the InCopy forums on Adobe.com, and jump in with helpful advice when I can.

If you have a problem or question about InCopy or how InDesign works with InCopy, I’m happy to help you out. Just email me directly at amarie |at| senecadesign.com. If you’re looking for a trainer or implementation help, contact me and I can provide a referral to someone or talk to you myself, whichever you prefer. I would also suggest you subscribe to the InDesignSecrets.com mailing list (even if you’re just an InCopy user) to keep in touch with any InCopy-related news or events that I may be announcing.

Exporting Final PDFs from InCopy: Yes, With Gotchas

Many users want to know if editors — the InCopy users — can use the program to create “final” PDFs of the InDesign layouts they’re editing. I don’t mean press-ready PDFs for a commercial printer (they’ll leave that up to the InDesign users); but the “straight to DVD” ones that are going to be distributed electronically, such as a PDF version of a newsletter or white paper that people can download or attach to an email.

The answer is yes, BUT. There are two gotchas that I know of, built-in trade-offs: High resolutions photos get dumbed down to medium-res JPEGs, and all interactivity is stripped out. It makes no difference if the images or stories with hyperlinked text are editable to the InCopy user or not. Why does Adobe hobble InCopy output? I really don’t know, it was a decision their engineers made long ago. I wonder if anyone over there remembers, actually.

Images in InCopy PDFs

Vector graphics (Illustrator or Corel Draw-like) are fine, as is type, since that’s also vector. InCopy exports those elements as paths with fills, which are by nature resolution independent. That is, they’ll print at the highest resolution your device can manage; and if you’re looking at them on a monitor, the preview will appear as sharp as the type, even as you zoom in to 4,000 percent.

It’s only the raster images (scans, photographs, Photoshop art) that InCopy modifies on output. And not just outputting to PDFs, but also when you print to the office printer.

Continue reading

InCopy Templates: Page Size and Content Area

A hard-working staffer asked for help with InCopy templates:

We are a simple mass market paperback company and would like to create InCopy templates that mimics our final book. I do not seem to be able to create an InCopy document that has a proper Text area. E.g. Document Setup: Text Area should be 23p by 39p, Page Size should be 32p3 by 49p6. The idea is to have the editors get a good idea of page count right from the manuscript stage, but so far Im seeing a document that does not have a centered text area nor a proper depth. This should be a cakewalk so I must be missing something.

InCopy can’t really “mimic” an InDesign layout, as much as we’d like it to … but in this scenario, you can get pretty close. Continue reading

InCopy CS5 Workflow White Paper Now Available

Have you been to the InCopy product page on Adobe.com lately? If so you’ll note that they just posted a 20-page white paper explaining how the basic InCopy and InDesign workflow happens, updated for CS5:


(Click the cover image to download the 3.3 MB PDF, or go to the InCopy product page and download it there. It will be in the Resources section.)

“Adobe InCopy CS5 and InDesign CS5 Collaborative Editorial Workflow” (what a mouthful, huh?) is the third such white paper I’ve written for Adobe. It’s not a Reviewer’s Guide (like the CS4 paper was); it’s more of a general, take-you-by-your-hand approach to how editors and designers actually use the software. In that way, it’s very similar to the CS3 white paper. In fact, we received permission from the same good people at Chicago Wilderness magazine that we used in the CS3 paper to use their content for the screen shots in the CS5 version.

If you know of someone who’s mulling over moving to InCopy; or you want something that new hires can read to give them an idea about how your company’s design and editorial departments work together, have them read this paper. (And if they have any questions, they can post them here!) ;-)

Q&A from the InCopy Tips Webinar, Part 2

Picking up where I left off, here are some more great questions (and my answers) that the attendees of my InCopy Tips & Techniques webinar had during and after the main presentation.

Q: Can you only create packages in InDesign?

A: I know you’re referring to e-mail-based Assignments, aka InCopy packages (INCP in CS3, or ICAP in CS4) or assignment packages; and the answer is “essentially, yes.” Only InDesign can initiate the remote workflow by creating an InCopy package “from scratch,” that is, from a regular assignment in a layout. An InCopy user can’t do this; they can’t decide on the fly, “Oh I think I’ll work on this from home, I’ll send it to myself.” However, if an InCopy user receives a package from a designer and opens it in InCopy; then she can create another package from it. She can either return it to the designer as an InDesign package, or repackage it into another InCopy package, assumably for another editor (by choosing Forward to InCopy from her Assignments panel).

Can you explain again why the remote workflow won’t work with remote designers?

Continue reading