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InCopy CS3 New Features

Adobe officially unveiled the newest version of its Creative Suite line-up this week. Thirteen applications upgraded to CS3 status, they’re sold stand-alone or in various combinations to comprise one of six Suites, due to ship in late April 2007:

If you click “Compare Editions” to see the product matrix, you’ll see lots of familiar faces. CS3 versions of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, of course. Also Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash. And A/V software like Premiere and Soundbooth.

But InCopy CS3 is nowhere to be found. Despite the CS3 moniker, it’s not part of any official Suite. Yet you’d think they could at least throw us a bone in a sidebar or footnote, huh? A little link to the InCopy CS3 page? (“Oh yeah, while we’re talking about CS3, here’s another CS3 program…”)

Ah well. InCopy likes to play hard to get. Here you go —

Despite the wonderful quote at the top — heh — the InCopy CS3 web page still looks a little “under construction” to me. The new features it lists are somewhat generic (“Text productivity improvements”) and there are no screen shots. I’m hoping that Adobe will fill in the page with solid information in coming weeks. In the meantime, you can click the page’s “Learn about new features” text link for a few new paragraphs of details.

You might also want to visit the more robust InDesign CS3 product page ( and its Feature Tour movie; remember, the two programs share 98% of their DNA, especially as far as text processing features are concerned. Like InDesign CS3, InCopy CS3 now has table and cell styles, text variables, much-improved and powerful bulleted and numbered lists, Find/Change with GREP for variable search and replace routines, and so on.

And heads-up: For the first time, the default InDesign CS3 installation includes all the Live Edit plug-ins necessary for an IC/ID workflow. Every InDesign user will have a Notes menu, for example, even if they’re not using InCopy. I love how this small decision by the engineers will remove a major stumbling block for curious users who want try out the workflow.

Okay, let’s move on to the new features specific to InCopy and the workflow itself.

Remote Workflow Support

The big new feature is support for remote InCopy users via e-mail based Assignments. From InDesign CS3 designers can “package” an assignment and send that one single package file via e-mail to an editor away from the office. Remote InCopy users just double-click packages to open them directly in InCopy, where they appear just like a regular Assignment.

When they’re done editing stories, off-site InCopy users can use their Assignments panel to re-package it for sending to another remote editor, or they can package it for returning to the designer. Story check-in/check-out, and updating returned, modified files is handled automatically by the packaging routine.

It’s all very slick and for this feature alone is worth the upgrade, in my opinion. I wrote up a detailed article all about the new Package commands, complete with screen shots, for

Assignments Improvements

InDesign CS3 users can now drag and drop text frames onto the Assignments panel. Just drop the selection on the New Assignment icon and let InDesign do the driving automatically. It creates a new assignment (you’re prompted for the name and type of assignment) and saves it, exports and saves the InCopy .incx files, creates folders on the server to hold everything neatly, and associates the .incx files with the new assignment in the panel. All with just a single drag and drop!

It can do all this automatically because CS3 now names and saves .inca and .incx files to default locations with default naming conventions, quietly and behind the scenes. Sweet.

I was happy to see that assignments now include low-res image previews. Now, even if the original image is not accessible, InCopy users see the image preview instead of a gray box as in CS2. Also, the problem with automatic page numbering is fixed. InCopy users see the same page numbers in their layout that the InDesign user sees, regardless of where the spreads in the assignment are located in the full layout.

Designers will be glad to learn that they can finally use the Export All commands (Export All Stories to InCopy, for example) without inadvertently exporting master page items, which are now excluded automatically.

Story Ordering and Renaming
This feature is very cool, and will be quite welcome by many InCopy users. After you open a layout or assignment in InCopy, you can go to Story or Galley view and drag the story bars around to re-order the stories. Yes, folks, you can finally put the stories in a logical order (headline, followed by byline, followed by main story, with all the captions at the end, for example) so that galley proof printouts make sense.

Also useful: After you check out a story, you can rename it in the Assignments panel. Haven’t you ever wished you could change “Magazine_Issue-story1-There once was a man from Nantu.incx” to “Nantucket feature.incx”? And rename the rest of the other stories in the panel so you could make sense of them? Now you can. The best part is that changing the names here in your Assignments panel doesn’t change the actual filenames on the server, so existing links and lock files remain safely intact. Renamed stories “stick” with the files even after you check them back in.

Other Tweaks
Stories and pictures that are not “managed” (haven’t been exported to InCopy) appear ghosted back a bit in InCopy’s Layout view, making it easier to find the content you’re supposed to work on. They appear normally, though, when you change the Screen Mode to Preview from the View menu. Also, new keyboard shortcuts have been added to make navigating Galley and Story view stories a bit easier.

The most useful information on Adobe’s InCopy CS3 web page (other than the quote) is that it tells you how much it’ll cost. Upgrading from InCopy CS1 or CS2 is the same price, only $89. I think that’s quite fair. A new copy will set you back $249, same as before.

Remember, if you’re going to be ordering more than four or five new copies for your workgroup, go with the Transactional Licensing Program (aka Open Options). You’ll probably save some money, especially when the next upgrade comes around, and serial numbers are much easier to manage. You can buy under the TLP either directly from Adobe or from a reseller. More info on the program is here:

There are no tryouts of the CS3 programs available yet on Adobe’s web site, all you can do is preorder. But historically, Adobe starts posting fully-enabled 30-day tryouts a few weeks after the applications are officially released (shipping) … so check their Downloads page sometime in May.

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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