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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!

Chad Chelius

Chad Chelius

Chad Chelius is an Adobe Certified Instructor, Author, and Consultant in the Philadelphia area and works with clients to improve their creative workflows using Adobe products. He's also the author of several courses on He specializes in PDF accessibility using Adobe InDesign and is a regular speaker at The InDesign Conference and PePcon.
Chad Chelius

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