GREP for Editors

If you’re like most people, you just got done reading the headline of this article and said “What in the world is GREP?” People who have been using InCopy for years, still aren’t sure what GREP is even though they probably see it every time they open the Find/Change dialog box.

GREP stands for General Regular Expression Print and although that probably doesn’t make things any clearer yet, just understand that GREP is like Find/Change on steroids. The premise behind GREP is that you build search terms using Regular Expressions that intelligently searches out text content with intelligence and precision accuracy. GREP can literally save hours of your time by cleaning up what you would normally do manually. If you think that GREP requires that you learn an obscure language in order to achieve find/change greatness, you’d be only partially correct. The point of this post is to introduce you to some GREP searches that you can use today without learning a single lick of code!

GREP is found in the Find/Change dialog box, so open it by choosing Edit > Find/Change or use the keyboard shortcut Cmd+F (Mac) or Ctrl+F (Windows) and click the GREP button at the top of the dialog box. This is where you can type in GREP expressions to search for content. As promised however, you won’t need to type anything in here! At the top of the Find/Change dialog box is a Query drop-down menu that contains six built-in GREP searches that you can use right out of the box. These searches include:

  • Change Arabic Diacritic Marks – For Arabic text, this changes the color of diacritical marks.
  • Dash to En Dash – Changes a single dash separated by spaces to an En dash.
  • Multiple Return to Single Return – Note that it says multiple. This changes more than one return in a row to one return.
  • Multiple Space to Single Space – Changes multiple spaces in a row to a single space.
  • Phone Number Conversion (dot format) – Changes phone numbers to a standard format separated by periods.
  • Remove Trailing Whitespace – Not a deal breaker if you have spaces at the end of a paragraph, but this search tidies up your text by removing them.

After choosing any one of these built-in GREP searches, the Find what field populates with the regular expression to find the desired text.
GREP Find Change
In the figure above, the Multiple Return to Single Return option was chosen. Just so you understand a little bit about the content of the Find what field, ~b is the expression for a break character. Putting two of them in a row ~b~b tells GREP to find two break characters in a row, and the + after them indicates that the two break characters can occur one or more times. Brilliant!

GREP Find Change Before After

The text before running the Multiple Return to Single Return GREP search (left) and after (right).

There you have it! Consider yourself a full-fledged GREP user! Of the six default GREP searches available from the Query drop-down menu, I’m guessing you can take advantage of at least three of them right off the bat. If you have a search dilemma that you think GREP could help you with, leave a comment below. If we hear a good response, I’ll write a post on more detailed GREP searches to help you do your job. Until next time!

The InDesign Conference

The InDesign ConferenceI thought I’d take this opportunity to let everyone know about a fantastic conference coming up on November 3-5 in Seattle Washington. The InDesign Conference is shaping up to be a great opportunity for beginner and advanced InDesign and InCopy users! There will be many great speakers presenting at this years conference covering topics including InDesign, InCopy, Workflow, GREP, EPUB, DPS, and much more!

I’ll be presenting a session titled InCopy Quickstart and FAQ where I’ll provide a run-through of the InCopy workflow and answer questions from audience members about InCopy and all things related. So if you or someone in your organization is trying to wrap their head around the InCopy workflow or is vexed by an existing problem, let them know about this great opportunity to learn and ask questions during the conference. The InCopy session itself is a short straight-to-the-point session but I’ll be around during the entire conference along with InCopy and InDesign gurus Anne-Marie Concepcion, David Blatner, and many others. So you can grab one of us during a break or when we are free and ask away! We’d be delighted to answer any questions you might have.

The InDesign Conference is located in Seattle Washington this year and I can’t think of a better place to hang out with friendly, like-minded people and discuss different workflows and solutions to problems. I love hearing how people have solved problems in their own workflows. By the way, if you use code IDCCHLS, you’ll get a $50 discount off of the total conference cost!

So convince your boss to send you this year and if you are the boss, then head out to Seattle on November 3-5. We’d love to see you there!

The Role of Microsoft Word in an InCopy Workflow

Whenever I explain the concept of InCopy to new users, I’m often asked if InCopy replaces Microsoft Word in an InCopy Workflow. Truth be told, I often hear people describe InCopy as a replacement for Word. InCopy can in fact be a replacement for Word in some workflows but it can also be used as an enhancement to many workflows. One of the things that I’ve always loved about Adobe InCopy is that there’s no ONE way to use the product. It’s a good thing too, because although I can categorize the workflow for most organizations into a certain type of workflow, each organization brings their own nuances to the table requiring a tweak or modification to the “standard” InCopy workflow.

When InCopy Can Replace Microsoft Word

If the editorial staff (writers, editors, copy editors, etc.) work directly for your organization, then there’s a good chance that InCopy can in fact become a replacement for Microsoft Word in your workflow. After all, Microsoft Word although powerful as a Word Processing application, lacks a lot of features that InCopy brings to the table. Applying styles, accurate color, and even kerning and tracking being only a few of those features. That’s not to throw Word under the bus at all, it was never designed to fill the need that we often try to make it achieve. In an environment such as this, InCopy offers all of the features necessary for editorial staff to perform their jobs and streamlines the workflow considerably by allowing concurrent editing of content, efficient application of styles, and much more. The reason that this environment facilitates the use of InCopy is because it can be controlled more easily and it’s easier to deploy InCopy to all necessary parties.

When InCopy Cannot Replace Microsoft Word

If the editorial staff (writers, editors, copy editors, etc.) or more accurately some of the editorial staff (namely writers) do not work directly for your organization, then it’s a little more difficult and in some cases undesirable to replace Microsoft Word with Adobe InCopy. This requires a little bit of explanation.

In certain environments, freelance authors and editors are used throughout the process. In cases like these it’s difficult for InCopy to be used because there is a training component as well as a software purchase component involved which for numerous reasons, might not be feasible. As someone once told me, “You can’t make Pete Rose write his biography in InCopy.”

In cases like these, it makes perfect sense to use Word in some portion of your workflow. Think of articles that are being submitted by various authors to a magazine. Typically authors will write the content in Word and that content will remain in Word during the back-and-forth exchange between the author and the editor. Once final edits have been made, the Word content can be imported into InCopy, saved as a story, and passed on to design. Or depending on your workflow, it can be imported directly into InDesign.

To make the most of this process, you can set up a Word template that is provided to authors for submitting articles that contain Styles that can be used for general formatting of text. The benefit of this is two-fold. First, it can provide some visual representation of what the content will look like in the final product, and secondly it can facilitate the text formatting when imported into InCopy or InDesign.

Part of making the decision between replacing Word with InCopy or incorporating Word into some portion of your workflow is to evaluate the overall workflow. Whenever I implement InCopy, I remind people that it’s a great time to evaluate the existing workflow to determine whether a change might make sense to improve overall efficiency. That doesn’t mean that I always encourage change for change sake, but it’s worth a second look. This is the time when you can make a decision between keeping Word implemented to some extent or replacing it with InCopy altogether.

Let us know what role Word plays in your workflow (or not) in the comments below.

Using the Layers panel in InCopy

I know what you’re thinking. A Layers panel in InCopy? Alright, maybe you weren’t thinking that but a lot of the users whom I mention this to have that exact reaction. If you haven’t noticed or discovered this yet, the Layers panel can be found where all of the other panels in InCopy live, in the Window menu. The layers panel isn’t displayed as part of any of the default workspaces that ship with InCopy, but you can choose Window > Layers to display the Layers panel.

The Layers panel can be quite beneficial to an InCopy user as it allows them to control what is visible on screen at a more granular level. Click on the visibility icon to the left of a layer to hide the layer, click it again to make the layer visible again.

Layers panel

Why would you want to do this? As an InDesign document or InCopy Assignment becomes complex in nature, it can be challenging for both a designer in InDesign or an editor in InCopy to select or see particular elements that require editing. It’s also helpful for InCopy users who like to work in Layout view but need to eliminate areas that don’t require focus at the time. The Layers panel is great at doing this. Take a look at the figures below. The top figure is the spread in Layout view with all layers visible. The bottom figure is the spread in layout view with the graphics layer hidden. With the graphics layer hidden, it’s easier to focus on the stories to be edited and as a side benefit, performance is improved because InCopy doesn’t have to render those graphics on screen.

InCopy Layers visible

InCopy Layers hidden

Layers themselves can’t be created or modified in InCopy. Only visibility can be changed, so the designer will need to create them in InDesign. Truth be told, most designers create layers for complex documents automatically so InCopy users will certainly benefit from this. If you have a specific requirement for being able to control layers in InCopy, talk to the creator of the InDesign document so they can structure the document to suit your needs. Taking advantage of layers can be mutually beneficial to both the design and editorial aspects of any workflow. If you’re not using them yet, give them a try and if you are using them, post a comment below and tell us how you are taking advantage of layers in your own workflow!

Story Versioning in InCopy

InCopy is a powerful edition to any workflow where collaboration between editors, copyeditors, and designers is required. The efficiency that InCopy provides is an improvement to any workflow. One of the questions that seems to pop up on a regular basis from InCopy users who have been using the workflow for a period of time is “How can I save versions of my stories?”

The reason for wanting to do this varies from not being comfortable with overwriting content to wanting a trail of changes throughout the production process. Either way, my response to them is always an unenthusiastic “No”. Anne-Marie Concepcion wrote up a clever way of achieving this in this post but it requires manual modification of files and astute attention to detail.

Radish to the rescue!

I recently discovered an add-on called Radish that adds the ability to save versions of files in InCopy and InDesign. What’s more? It’s free! Radish is written by Konstantin Smorodsky and is available on the Adobe Ad-Ons page. Radish is a super-simple install and works with both InDesign and InCopy in versions for CS6 and CC.

After installing Radish you’ll notice a new option available in the File menu of InDesign and InCopy titled “Save a Version”. Upon choosing this option, Radish will save a version of any checked out stories, assignments, or layouts in InDesign and InCopy.

Radish - Save Version

You’d think that a dialog would pop up or something when you choose save a version, but nothing really happens. This is the beauty of Radish, it really just disappears into the InDesign/InCopy workflow. To see the versions that have been saved, choose File > Versions and a new dialog is displayed with every version of every file that has been saved including stories, assignments, and layouts (InDesign documents). Which files are saved depends on whether stories are checked out and whether you are using a layout-based or assignment-based workflow.

Radish Versions

In the Versions dialog, you can choose from a list of files that are available which includes stories, assignments and layouts. When you choose one of the options, all of the versions of that file are listed in the main area of the dialog showing you how many versions of the file there are, which user saved the version, the date it was saved, and the number of characters in the story. In the case of an assignment and a layout, the start page and the page count is also listed.

In the event that you want to restore one of the saved versions, select the version in the Versions dialog and click the restore button in the upper-right corner of the dialog. Voila! Your content is restored to that version. The versions themselves are stored in a folder within the folder where the InDesign document resides called .version. The “.” in front of the name of the folder makes it invisible. To delete versions, in the event that you want to free up space or do a little housecleaning at the end of the project, you can delete that folder or any number of versions within that folder. The version files (which are just uniquely named .icml, inca, or imdd files) are neatly organized within the .versions folder for easy identification.

I want to point out that I was a huge fan of Adobe Version Cue which was an amazing versioning tool for many of the Creative Suite applications including InCopy. Apparently I was one of the few who used Version Cue because it met it’s demise after only a few versions which threw me into a deep depression (joking of course). During my testing of Radish, It reminded me very much of how Version Cue worked but Radish is geneously simplistic yet incredibly powerful. It answers the need of editors who cringe at the idea of overwriting previous iterations of a story and even provides a solution for designers as well. I’ve only been using Radish for a few weeks now, but I intend to make good use of it on future projects.

I’d love to know who out there is using Radish and what your thoughts are on the product. Give us your feedback and opinions, we’d love to hear from you!

Find/change in Locked Stories

The Find/Change feature in InCopy is an incredibly time-saving feature. The fact that you can do advanced find/change routines using GREP aside, the standard text find/change allows you to intelligently find text in a document and even replace that text with the greatest of ease.

One thing that can throw people for a loop in an InCopy workflow however is that stories that are not checked out, cannot be searched using the Find/Change dialog… by default that is. If you perform a search in either InDesign or InCopy, content in stories that are not checked out (locked stories) are not included in the scope of the search and you will be presented with a dialog indicating that a match cannot be found.

Find change no match

The obvious solution to this problem, would be to check out all stories as described in this post. This might not be possible however if another user has one or more stories checked out but it also might not be necessary. I say this because the Find/Change command isn’t always used to change the content in stories. Often it is used to simply find text within stories.

Fortunately, InDesign and InCopy have an unassuming option in the Find/Change dialog box that allows you to find text in stories that are not checked out (locked stories). The option is one of the six buttons located below the search drop-down menu in the Find/Change dialog box and is called Include Locked Stories (Find Only).

Include Locked Stories (Find Only)

When this option is chosen, it will search the content of all stories in a layout as defined in the search drop-down menu. If Document is chosen in the search drop-down menu, all stories in the document will be searched regardless of whether they are checked out or not. Even if a story is checked out by another user, the content can be searched and found using the Find/Change command.

If the goal is in fact to replace specific text in a document, the story(s) will need to be checked out. But if the goal is to find text within a document, to locate text or otherwise, the Include Locked Stories feature will be a powerful tool to get the task accomplished.

If you have a unique way of using this feature, please post a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

InCopy Book Publisher’s Workflow Management

By nature, book publishers don’t have the same kind of workflow or InDesign page structure as magazine and newspaper publishers.”

Book publishers have longer production deadlines and knowingly embrace a linear (my turn, your turn) workflow between editorial, design and production departments. Magazine and newspaper publishers have shorter timelines and need a collaborative (work on content at the same time) workflow to streamline the process. Because InDesign pages are designed with linked frames with inline content for books, they actually need a linear workflow, even in a collaborative InCopy workflow.

In this post I’d like to explore how book publishers can embrace the linear workflow, and why they need to.

A Closer Look at Linear and Non-Linear Workflows

The most alluring feature of using InCopy and InDesign together, has always been the collaborative workflow. The ability to have editors in InCopy editing text at the same time that InDesign users are building pages eliminates the linear (take-turn) workflow.

In the past, editorial staff would wait to review hard-copies of pages or PDF’s to markup. Then those documents would be delivered back to the production staff and the changes would be entered. Then, more hard-copies or PDF’s would then be produced again, so that editorial staff could check that the edits they noted were actually made. These rounds of edits meant that countless hours were wasted in this take-turn workflow. When editorial staff begins using InCopy, the edits are done once by editorial, thus eliminating multiple rounds of editing reviews.

It seems that the shorter the production schedule, the more appealing this collaborative workflow becomes. It just makes sense that a daily newspaper would fully embrace this feature. The “get-it-out-the-door” mentality of newspapers is there to meet press deadlines. I’ve worked at many newspapers over the years; believe me when I tell you it’s no fun waiting for an editor to walk a hard copy over to your desk at 1am.

For book publishers, production schedules have never been based on a daily, weekly or a monthly printing schedule. These types of publishers actually have the flexibility (luxury) to shift schedules and production dates. While many book publishers see the allure of a collaborative workflow, most book companies actually prefer to keep their linear workflows. Why? Because of the way books are built in InDesign, keeping a linear workflow between InDesign and InCopy will actually benefit them.

The Structure of a Book

To understand why a linear workflow will benefit book publishers you have to understand the anatomy of a book built in InDesign.

InDesign layout artists usually don’t save one giant file for a whole book, this would mean only one person in InDesign would be able to edit the book (never mind the fact that it would take forever to open or navigate inside a document). Longer books are usually saved as separate documents, each one containing an individual chapter, or lesson.

Publications like magazines and newspapers have many individual stories in stand-alone text frames. These types of layouts often contain separate frames for the story body, pullquote, captions, headline, decks, and sidebars.

In contrast, books are typically made up of one major story (the narrative content) built using text frames that are threaded from page to page, which means the bulk of the book is one big story. If text is added to page 3, the text just reflows naturally through the subsequent threaded frames. It is only logical that books, especially text-heavy books would be built this way. Even books that are filled with graphics can be built this way.

A common trend for designers and production staff in book publishing is to embed graphics in the text flow. Instead of just placing graphics loose on a page, graphic artists are using InDesign’s inline or anchored object feature. Inline graphics are graphics that are placed (or pasted) within a text frame. Anchored objects are objects that can flow with the text relative to the anchor that has been placed within the text frame. Both of these objects allow graphics and text to reflow together as edits are made. To realize how much time this saves, you only need to think about the alternative workflow. If graphics weren’t part of the text, and were just placed over text, as text was edited and reflowed, all the images would need to be repositioned after every round of text editing. I’m exhausted just typing that.

How does InCopy fit with this workflow?

When InCopy-using editors check out stories in magazines or newspapers to edit them, the InDesign user can still layout the rest of the page, because the graphics and images are not contained inline in text frames. But for books with inline and anchored images, InDesign users need to check out the story to insert, move, and manage the artwork.

That just means that these publications will need to use a more linear (turn-taking) workflow rather than a concurrent one. The editors don’t start editing the book until the designer is done laying it out. When an editors is done editing the main story, then another editor (if necessary) can take a turn reviewing those edits, and then the designer can take their turn and continue refining the design and the formatting. In the end, the process is still way more streamlined than the old “marked up paper proofs” method, because everyone is working on the live file, doing what they do best.

Sticky notes in InCopy

If you’re a seasoned InCopy user, this headline probably grabbed your attention. Don’t worry, it’s not a mean trick that I’m pulling on all of our readers! Seasoned users and beginners alike ask me all the time, why InCopy doesn’t have sticky notes like we have in Adobe Acrobat or even Adobe Photoshop for that matter. Although I don’t have the answer to why this feature doesn’t exist, I do have a solution that I’ve implemented in numerous workflows in which I’ve been involved.

Before I dive in, let’s be clear. InCopy and InDesign do in fact have a Notes feature that is quite robust. It allows users to add notes to very specific areas of text to provide anything from more detailed information, to questions about text in a story. These notes however are designed to focus on very specific pieces of text and furthermore are only visually apparent when in Galley and Story view in InCopy or the Story Editor in InDesign. Take a look at the figures below.

How notes appear in Galley and Story view.

How notes appear in Galley and Story view.

How notes appear in Layout view.

How notes appear in Layout view.

Often times, InCopy users spend a fair amount of time in Galley and Story view so the notes will be evident to them and can be addressed accordingly. But for InCopy users who prefer Layout view or for Designers who spend the vast majority of their time in Layout view, the standard InCopy notes could easily be overlooked unless the Notes panel is used consistently. Using the Notes panel, notes are much easier to spot. That being said, these notes aren’t very efficient at marking up layout adjustments, photo changes, color changes, etc. because notes need to be attached to a specific area of text.

The Notes panel provides visual navigation for notes when in Layout view.

The Notes panel provides visual navigation for notes when in Layout view.

So what’s the solution? As I said before, InDesign and InCopy do not have a sticky note feature, but I’ve created one myself that provides a reasonable replacement to sticky notes. This solution will require the designer to setup the necessary components in the layout, but once it’s setup you can easily incorporate this feature into your templates for consistency.

Begin by opening the InDesign Layout and drawing text frames on the outside margins of the Master pages. I’ve made mine yellow (simulating a sticky note) and formatted the text within accordingly. You’ll want to define a slug in Document Setup for the outside slug values so that the text frames will be visible on all of the document pages.

Notes on Master page

Those notes on each document page will be locked by default, so you’ll need to override those text frames by Shift+Cmd/Shift+Ctrl clicking on the text frames on each page. I refer to this as a sacrificial master element because we’re only using the master to put the notes in the same position on each page with the same visual appearance. Next, you’ll want to link the notes together from page to page by clicking on the Out Port of each frame and then clicking on the frame that you want to link to. You can speed up this process by clicking on the Out Port of one frame and then holding down Option/Alt as you click in each successive frame to link them together. I do this because that gives me one “notes” story to manage in the InCopy workflow. You could choose to make each text frame on each page a different story, but for management ease I choose one story. To obtain a behavior where each text frame applies to each page, I simply add several column breaks or frame breaks to force the text after the break into the next frame. This can be easily accomplished by pressing the enter/return key on the number pad of your keyboard to create a column break. If you’re like me and don’t have a number pad, hold down the function (fn) key when you press the enter/return key.

These sticky notes are "in your face" and hard to miss in layout view.

These sticky notes are “in your face” and hard to miss in layout view.

Now you have one story to manage for all of your notes and they can be easily seen by InDesign and InCopy users when using Layout view. These notes behave like any other story in the workflow so users will need to check out the story in order to add content. I like this method because it’s “in your face” so to speak and you don’t have to work to see the contents of your notes. The only caveat is that you’ll need to instruct all users to keep the frame/column break character intact so that the notes appear on the correct page but this is easily accomplished and the return is worth it.

Let me know what you think of this solution and if you’ve come up with other ways of accomplishing the same task. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

Good News for Layout-based Workflow Users!

One of the things that I love about the InCopy workflow is how complex or simple the workflow can be. On the simple side of things, is what is often referred to as the layout-based workflow. With this workflow, no assignments are used but instead InCopy users open the InDesign document directly which still allows both designers and editors to work on the same document simultaneously. It’s a brilliant and simple workflow that is used by many.

With the release of InCopy and InDesign CC an unfortunate problem occurred where this workflow broke. Users would receive a message “This file is already open by another user or another application” if the InDesign document was already open by a designer using InDesign. You can read more about the details of the problem in this post on the Adobe forums.

The fix for this problem has been to either revert back to CS6, or to move to an assignment-based workflow, neither of which was an acceptable fix for many users. The good news is that as of the 2014 release of Creative Cloud, this problem has been fixed! According to testing that I’ve done and based on the post mentioned above, the latest release solves the problem so that the layout-based workflow works as expected.

To update your copy of InDesign and InCopy to the 2014 release of Creative Cloud, launch the Creative Cloud Desktop application and run the update to InDesign CC and/or InCopy CC which will actually install a new copy of the applications. The new versions will be named InDesign CC (2014) and InCopy CC (2014). There have been a few random reports of users having difficulties running the latest updates, so if you encounter any problems with installation from the Creative Cloud Desktop application, point your web browser to creative.adobe.com/products, choose your application, and initiate the download from here. You will need to sign in using your Adobe ID to initiate the download.

So if you were one of the users affected by this unfortunate situation, hopefully you’ll now be happily back to the workflow that you’ve trusted and loved for so long! Enjoy!

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