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InCopy Templates: Page Size and Content Area

A hard-working staffer asked for help with InCopy templates:

We are a simple mass market paperback company and would like to create InCopy templates that mimics our final book. I do not seem to be able to create an InCopy document that has a proper Text area. E.g. Document Setup: Text Area should be 23p by 39p, Page Size should be 32p3 by 49p6. The idea is to have the editors get a good idea of page count right from the manuscript stage, but so far Im seeing a document that does not have a centered text area nor a proper depth. This should be a cakewalk so I must be missing something.

InCopy can’t really “mimic” an InDesign layout, as much as we’d like it to … but in this scenario, you can get pretty close.

Content Width and Depth

When you create a new InCopy file, you can set the *width* of the text area … so you would enter 23p for that. (The purpose is so editors can proof line breaks before the story gets poured into the layout, assuming you know the layout has a certain column width.)

But you can’t set the *depth* of the text area in a similar way.  The depth field you see in the New Document options is if you know the target length of the file … a word count or page count for example. You can leave this field empty if the story length is undefined. Even if you enter in a measure here, you can write short or long … the field just turns on the Copyfit Progress toolbar on the bottom.

Manipulating the Page Size

You can also set page size in the New Document dialog box. Normally, this should be the page size of the final InDesign file if you’re trying to get a visual in InCopy’s layout view. So in your case, you can set the page size to be 32p3 by 49p6.

When you click OK, you’ll see that you get page with a text “frame” (the Text Area you specified) that’s offset to the left a little and that’s a little too tall: it’s 43p9 instead of the 39p you wanted.

That’s because InCopy *always* puts the live text area inside of a default 1/2″ (3p) margin guide. You can’t change the default measure of the margins.

So to get the Text Area height you want, you need to change the page height to 1 inch more than that. That way, InCopy reduces the measure by 1 inch (1/2 inch top and bottom margin) and the remainder is your Text area height.

In your case, this would mean setting the page height to 45p. You’ll end up with a text area height of exactly 39p.

Do the same thing — manipulate the page size measures — if the slight horizontal offset of the text area is bugging you. Make the page width exactly 1 inch more than your desired Text Area width, and you’ll see the Text Area is “centered” on the page.

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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3 Comments on “InCopy Templates: Page Size and Content Area

  1. In my opinion it was a great mistake from adobe to cut incopy from indesign. Why two different software programs when one would be a far better way for the workflow?!.

  2. Is there a way to make the first single page in layout view into a two-page spread? A Google search on this topic brings up simple answers for InDesign users (with the Pages panel), but what about those of us using InCopy?

  3. Thank you Anne-Marie, for all these informations. You might also have already been asked about that : from InCopy when you want to print the layout view of a page it is not possible to center the page on the paper.
    Except if you ask for auto adjustment..
    If you print it 100% or scale it manually to any ratio you get the page on the left upper side of the paper.
    Any idea of a workaround maybe ??



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