How-To: InDesign/InCopy Collaboration: the Designer

How-To: InDesign/InCopy Collaboration: the Designer


Step-by-step, how the creative team initiates, controls, and concludes a typical InDesign/InCopy workflow.

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Step-by-step, how the creative team initiates, controls, and concludes a typical InDesign/InCopy workflow.

Bring up InCopy and “what is it” is always the first question. Next comes the inevitable, “how do I use it.” In the first three parts of this special six-part series, “InCopy CS2: In Production,” we answered the first question. Now, we’ll answer the second.

In this step-by-step article, “InDesign/InCopy Collaboration: the Designer,” we’ll explain how to initiate the InDesign/InCopy LiveEdit workflow from within InDesign CS2, how to manage assignments that will be used by your editorial staff, and how to conclude collaboration on your publication. Here, we address the InDesign CS2 user–the designer.

In the next article, “InDesign/InCopy Collaboration: the Editor,” we go through the InCopy CS2-based editorial staff’s side of the LiveEdit workflow, step-by-step.

Installing Collaboration

Most designers are control freaks (it’s an occupational hazard that comes from being able to position items to within 1/10,000ths of an inch), so the fact that designers are in charge of the collaboration between out-of-the-box versions of InDesign CS2 and InCopy CS2 sits just fine with most designers. Editors like to feel in charge, though, so in the counterpart tutorial, “InDesign/InCopy Collaboration: the Editor,” I’ll make the editors feel like they’re running the show. Relax: you’ll still be in control of the LiveEdit workflow from within InDesign; I’ll just stroke the editors’ egos and make them think they’re in charge.

Before even opening InDesign, install the LiveEdit workflow pieces that enable InDesign and InCopy to communicate with one another. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but, yes, installing the LiveEdit plug-ins will add yet another palette to the 38 already overpopulating the InDesign interface.

When you insert the InCopy CS2 CD-Rom, you’ll be prompted to install either InCopy CS2 (including the LiveEdit plug-ins for InDesign) or merely the LiveEdit plug-ins. If you are a single user or are responsible for teaching InCopy to Editorial, it would be prudent to install InCopy CS2 on your computer. Otherwise, don’t bother. You don’t need InCopy installed to collaborate with users who do, merely the LiveEdit plug-ins. Either option will automatically search out your InDesign CS2 installation directory, and place the LiveEdit plug-ins in the appropriate folder.

Upon launching InDesign after installing the LiveEdit plug-ins or InCopy, you’ll notice several new additions, including the Notes tool on the Tools palette, the Notes menu along the menu bar, an Assignments palette on the Windows menu, and a User item on the File menu. The LiveEdit plug-ins fully integrate throughout the InDesign user interface, including less obvious new commands in places like the View menu and the context-sensitive menu available by right-clicking on an object.

Establish your identity in the LiveEdit workflow by going to File > User and entering your name, nickname, department, or whatever will uniquely identify you among both the other InDesign users in your department, as well as the InCopy users in Editorial. It’s important that your identity here be unique–if you’re not the only InDesign user, don’t list your name as “InDesign User.” While you’re in the User dialog, pick a color to represent you at a glance on color-coded frames and content on which you’re working.

The InDesign User Dialog
The InDesign User Dialog

The options you choose in the User dialog will travel through LiveEdit to other InDesign and InCopy users, but that’s the extent of it. InDesign/InCopy user names are not tied to the system or network login, nor is there an authentication scheme or automated check for conflicting user names. User options are, however, unique per system login because they are stored in the user-specific application preferences. The user name and color may be changed at any time from within the application.

Preparing Collaboration

For the writers and editors in Editorial to fit their own copy, you must first grant them access to the areas into which their copy must fit. So, design your layout, building text frames to hold content. Fill them with greeking from InDesign’s Type > Fill with Placeholder Text command or place story first drafts (if you have them). It isn’t necessary to fill the text frames with anything–they could be empty and still work within the LiveEdit workflow–but you’ll quickly find that the process is more intuitive to new InCopy users if stories are pre-populated. Create all the text frames required by your layout–main stories, headlines, bylines, kickers, decks, image captions, photo credits, sidebars, pull-quotes, and so on–and set their frame and text formatting. Define your paragraph and character styles. If your document style sheet isn’t yet finalized, at least build styles with default options so Editorial has something with which to work; like any InDesign layout, styles can be redefined later. Now, build your graphic frames, style them, and set text wrap and other options. In other words, do everything you would normally do to layout a page, spread, document, or template.

Now that you have your layout, what would you typically do? Right: You’d fill the text frames with greeking and calculate word counts to provide to Editorial. Fuggetaboutit. Unless you have a need to know the word count of a particular frame (what editors call “the hole”), don’t worry about it. Copyfitting is no longer your concern (until the final layout check). Hallelujah, brother and sister designers! Copyfitting is Editorial’s job now.

Remember: The layout doesn’t have to be finished; it must only be ready for Editorial to begin work. Setup your grid and build the structural elements of the layout, but you can still work on text styling, illustrations, and other design elements concurrent with Editorial doing its job. In fact, one writer can be working in the document while you’re still building frames for other writers.

Initiating Collaboration

The communication between InDesign and InCopy is accomplished through the LiveEdit plug-ins, thus the reference to the LiveEdit workflow. In versions CS, the plug-ins and workflow were called the Bridge, but were renamed to avoid confusion with Adobe’s Bridge digital asset management and Creative Suite unifying control panel. Under the Bridge workflow, InCopy users were limited to editing stories–one-story single or threaded text frames–but under LiveEdit in CS2, both you and Editorial will deal with assignments, or groups of separate frames (including threaded text frames, if desired) that comprise a single article.

Let’s build an assignment and hand-off the copyfitting for an entire article to Editorial.

Continued On...
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