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.
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.