Speccing Type

An editor responded to my article about working with paragraph styles in InCopy (“Dueling Styles: InCopy vs. InDesign“) detailing some of his frustrations with the feature.

In his publication’s editorial-driven workflow, editors are primarily responsible for creating styles and applying them correctly to their stories in standalone InCopy documents, which are later placed into InDesign layouts. Being able to use InCopy to pick up formatting specs from previous InDesign files would help him a great deal. But, he lamented, it was impossible to pick up text formatting specs from older issues (which are usually read-only) in InCopy.

He said,

“I could look up something that’s been archived, but yesterday I tried that and found I can highlight the word or character in an archived document but the palette reveals nothing about font, size or leading.”

I thought, naw, he must be doing it wrong … but I tried it, and he’s correct. (Note to self: Editors are always right.) InCopy won’t show you formatting details until you actually check out the story containing the text. But in a read-only layout file (one that doesn’t have any managed stories), there’s nothing to check out.

Ah, but there’s a workaround! Here’s what I suggested to the editor: After selecting some text in a read-only layout, you can copy and paste it into a story that you’ve checked out in a different document, or just create a new standalone InCopy document (File > New) to paste the text into. That pasted text is now editable, so you can see all the paragraph and character formatting settings it has in the relevant palettes. When you have the information you need, you can delete the pasted text.

Workarounds … more satisfying that solutions, sometimes, because it feels like you’re tricking the software. Hah!

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