InCopy CS: Bringing newspapers into the world of managed workflows

By the time most folks read this, we will have just completed the Spring Session of the Institute of Newspaper Technology. The months leading up to an Institute session are filled with mixed emotions for me. On one hand, I’m forced to spend weeks in front of a computer - or in a computer lab - learning as much as I can about the latest in newspaper technology so I can pass the information on to designers and publishers from throughout the U.S. and Canada. On the other hand, I have the opportunity to master technology which will shape the future of our industry. In my recent studies I’ve become very excited about two new processes recently made available by Adobe Systems. The first, Version Cue, I’ll address in a future column. Today I’d like to spend some time telling you about an application known as InCopy CS.

In a nutshell, Adobe InCopy CS is a text-editing software that can be used in conjunction with Adobe InDesign CS. With InCopy, you can write and edit text while editors and designers prepare the page layout. InCopy allows the user to track changes, add editorial notes, write and edit copy to fit the space allocated for it. Used as a stand-alone application, InCopy works as a text editor, producing files in a variety of formats including straight text, rich text and PDF.

Many newspapers are familiar with the concept of a managed-file workflow. Whether using Baseview or some other pagination workflow, they’ve created text files that interact with QuarkXpress or Pagemaker for years. Many newspapers, especially smaller weeklies, have shied away from these systems. Recently, Harris & Baseview announced they have incorporated InCopy and InDesign into their NewsJaz workflow (see for more information). Smaller papers don’t have to invest in a third-party workflow system to enjoy the benefits of InCopy, however. Two users, one working in InDesign and another working in InCopy, can establish a “bridge” which allows them to transfer information between their computers and applications.

Here is how it works. A designer creates a template or page in InDesign with photos, ads and text frames, designating where articles will be placed. The designer then clicks on one of the text frames and exports it as an InCopy story. This means the bridge has been created between the ultimate design and the reporter or editor. On a second computer, a reporter opens InCopy and “checks out” the story. The process of checking out a story allows the InCopy user to create, edit and manipulate text that will ultimately appear on the InDesign page.

The InCopy user can work in one of three modes. The Galley View allows the reporter to enter text in galleys. Many readers remember the day when stories were printed in galleys, then pasted on the page. In Story View, the user enters and edits text without consideration of the final layout. Text flows from the left edge of the screen to the right edge. Working in Layout View, the reporter sees how the text will look on the InDesign page. All photos and ads can be seen, just as if you were working in InDesign. What amazes me most about this feature is the ability to see and edit text on an InDesign page without having InDesign installed on the same computer.

Once the user is finished, for the time being, the story is “checked in,” meaning other persons along the workflow have access to the file for reading or editing purposes. A reporter might enter the text, a copy editor might made modifications, and a designer sees the final result on the InDesign page. Just before deadline, the copy editor can make a last minute change in InCopy. The change appears on the updated InDesign page before the file goes to print.

How much do I enjoy using InCopy CS? I’m using it right now. Listing at $249 (US) / $340 (CAN) / $330 (AUS), it’s an inexpensive method of getting immersed in a managed workflow. For more information, or to download a free 30-day demo of InCopy CS, visit
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