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InCopy and Images Refresher

I wonder how many seasoned IC/ID users are even aware images can be exported to the workflow, just like text. And what exactly an InCopy user can do to them.

In case this feature (introduced in CS2) escaped your notice, here’s a quick rundown of how it works.

First, designers export image frames — filled with an image, or an empty placeholder — from InDesign to InCopy the same way they export text frames. When they export a frame with an image inside it, the resulting .incx file doesn’t contain the original image, just a preview and a link to the original, native file, just as in InDesign. InCopy users have a Links panel where they can see the same info about placed images that InDesign users can.

Once an image frame has been exported to InCopy, it displays the same status icon (Available, In Use, etc.) in layout mode and in the Assignments panel as managed text frames. In the Assignments panel you can tell which of the managed content items are images by looking at their icons. Managed graphics show a little box with a large “X” inside (mirroring what an empty graphic frame looks like in the layout), while managed text stories show a little box with a captial “A” inside.

InCopy’s Galley and Story view don’t show managed images. Users stay in Layout view to work with them. As with workflow stories, editors need to check the images out (select the image and choose Check Out from the usual places) and check them back in when they’re done. The important thing to remember is that as with text frames, InCopy users can only edit the content of image frames, not the frames themselves.

However, there’s a ton of stuff you can do with that content! Both InCopy CS2 and CS3 have a Position tool (right under the Type tool) to drag the image around in the frame, changing what the frame reveals, i.e., the image’s crop. You also have an Object menu with automatic and precise image editing controls like Transform (Scale, Rotate, Flip, etc.), Object layer options, Display options, and Fitting commands. This latter fly-out menu includes commands like Fit Content to Frame and Fill Frame Proportionally, but not Fit Frame to Content (an option in InDesign), since that would be changing the frame itself.

InCopy users can also import images into frames they’ve checked out via the File > Place command, or by dragging and dropping from the Finder, Windows Explorer, or from Adobe Bridge (now included with InCopy CS3).

Importing an image into a text frame turns it into an Anchored Object, an image that’s part of the text flow. Importing it into an empty image frame fills it with the image, of course. Importing it into a filled image frame replaces the old image with the one that’s being imported.

Danger, danger, Will Robinson! Care must be taken to only import images that are on the shared fileserver so that other users in the workgroup can access the original if needed (and the designers will need these when they prepare the publication for final output). If the image is on your local hard drive, move it to the server first before importing it into the publication.

Finally, after an InCopy user checks out a filled image frame, they can use InCopy’s Edit Original command to open the source image — the one that the preview is linked to — in its native application, and edit it there. After you save your changes to the image, when you return to InCopy you’ll see the image is automatically updated. But it’s not until you take the second step of saving your changes to the content in InCopy that other users with the document open will get the “Out of Date” icon on the image, prompting them to Update Content to see the changes.

You’ll find the Edit Original command in InCopy’s Edit menu and the context menu (right-click on the image), or you can use the Edit Original shortcut: just hold down the Option or Alt key and double-click on the image.

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at or on Twitter @amarie
Anne-Marie Concepcion

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