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Q&A from the InCopy Tips Webinar, Part 1

We had a great crowd at last month’s webinar, InCopy/InDesign Tips and Tricks! People logged in from all over the world and with all sorts of publishing backgrounds. Since no one dropped out during the 90 minute session, and everyone rated the session “good” or “great” in the poll at the end, I’d say it was a success! (You can sign up to access and watch the recording here, if you like. )

As promised, attendees, I grabbed the entire transcript from the Chat window so I could make sure and answer all your questions, which I do so below to the first section. Some of these I already covered during the 30 minute Q&A — I’ll still reprise the answers here for the benefit of my blog readers.

Q: Would you say again how do you set up layout view as default?

A: Start up InCopy but don’t open any files. Choose Layout View from the View menu. It should now carry a checkmark (before, Story View had the checkmark). From now on, when you open files they’ll open in Layout view.

If you change the default font in galley/story, will it apply to all documents you open or just the one you’re working in?

It will apply to all documents, period, even after you quit InCopy and start it up again.

Can you format paint — copy formats from one bit of text to another?

No, unfortunately you can’t. There’s no Format Paint tool like in Word, nor an Eyedropper tool like in InDesign. Maybe next version! In the meantime, though,  remember your friend, Quick Apply (Command-Return or Control-Enter), which I demo’d in the webinar. Very fast way to apply formatting.

When you showed how to ”Arrange New Window”, how did you then go to a split screen so that both views were shown on same open file?

Choosing Window > Arrange > New Window adds the new “clone” of the first window so you can have 2 different views of the same document. To see both windows at the same time, in CS3 choose Window > Arrange > Tile Vertically (or Horizontally). In CS4 you can use the Arrange Documents widget in the Application bar across the top and choose a window arrangement.

Can you assign text on one layer but not another (e.g. localized versions with text on different layers)?

In InDesign, the user can assign a text frame to a specific layer. You can’t do that in InCopy, but in your Layers panel you’ll see the frames are on those layers, and you can Hide/Show the individual layers the designer added. So the designer can set up localized versions of text on different layers, and the editor can show/hide these at will.

In CS4, the new Conditional Text feature lets you hide/show text selections, instead of entire frames, a very powerful feature and ideal for many multilingual publications. The InDesign user can create the conditions in the panel, and the InCopy users can assign text selections to the conditions as well as hide/show the conditional text.  I demo’d this in the webinar.

We work across several sites where we have our own servers. Is there a way to get In Copy Assignments folder to redirect to be placed on server rather than individual hard drives?
Can you change where the icma file is stored so it’s on a network drive — not C:?

By default, InDesign creates the assignment folder inside the folder containing the layout. So if the designers have opened a layout on their individual hard drives, then InDesign defaults to saving the assignments in the subfolder it creates on that same hard drive. If you can get the designers to work off the server, then InDesign will save the assignments there too.

Sorry, but I don’t know of any way to force InDesign to automatically export the assignments to a location other than the default, though I suppose (like anything), it can be scripted. As I showed in the webinar, designers who want to work on the layout locally need to use the Change button in the New Assignment dialog box to choose a different location for the assignments folder, its assignments, and the content folder (and its exported stories) too.

Why are icma file dates not updated with each use and save of changes?

Not quite sure what you mean here. ICMA files (CS4 assignment files) and INCA files (CS3 assignments) aren’t updated every time you update the INDD file, that’s one of the advantages of using an Assignments-based workflow.  It’s only if the designer makes a change to the InCopy frames in an Assignment (such as changing their size, or adding new/deleting existing) that the little yellow ‘Update me!” icon appears next to that assignment’s name.

If the designer made a change to other elements on the spread, or to things not part of the assignment at all, then there’s no need to update the assignment. Thus the editor isn’t bothered by constant “Out of Date” messages for the layout as the designer saves changes to the InDesign file. However it does mean that the designer needs to pay attention to the status of their assignments in the Assignments panel as they work on the layout, and to keep updating assignments as necessary.

OR maybe you’re thinking that when the InCopy user saves changes, the assignment file should show a new modification date? A common misconception. Actually, there’s no possible way an InCopy user can change anything about the assignment file (or a layout file, if they’ve opened an INDD document). That’s why the command in InCopy is “Save Content” and not simply “Save” like every other program.

The InCopy user is actually saving changes to the external, linked InCopy stories (the INCX or ICML files) that the assignment or layout is giving them access to. So if you look in the project’s folder where the linked story files are contained, you will see the modification dates update as the InCopy user saves changes. But only the InDesign user can modify (and save changes to) the assignment and layout files themselves.

You can read Part 2 here.

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 “Q&A from the InCopy Tips Webinar, Part 1

  1. Hi Anne-Marie,

    Thank you for the posting this!

    I’m wondering if you can help me with an issue I’m having, which I can’t seem to find the answer to on other sites/forums.

    Is there a reason that the icma file wouldn’t allow for the “Save as content” option? I’m testing out the program and even when i make changes in the file, I’m not able to do a save as.

    Any helpful feedback is much appreciated!

    Thank you!

  2. I love your plan Anne-Marie. I think it is the best plan. I appreciate it. Really looking forward to know about other plan. Thanks!!! :)

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