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Software Review: InCopy CS4 From Adobe Systems

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Adobe InCopy is a professional writing and editing workflow program from Adobe Systems. It was first released in 1991 and it is tightly integrated with Adobe InDesign. It is meant to enable enhanced collaboration between design and editorial teams who are working between the two products. It contains three viewing modes:

  • Story mode for text reading where it works like a word processor without the publication page formatting.
  • Galley mode where it works like a word processor with line numbers and line breaks as in the layout, but without the actual formatting.
  • Layout mode which shows the true page design layout displaying every format applied to the page.

While it can be used as a word processor, Adobe InCopy's real strength is as an integral part of the InDesign workflow where writers, editors, and designers can simultaneously work the same page. In this workflow, the designer creates the page layout in InDesign,  InCopy CS4while the editors simultaneously edit different stories with InCopy.

What do you need to run Adobe InCopy CS4? On PCs you need an 1.5 GHz or faster processor, Windows XP SP2 (SP3 recommended) or Vista; on Mac, PowerPC G4 or G5 or multi-core Intel processor, Mac OS X v10.4.11 – 10.5.4 (Leopard); for both, 1GB RAM, 1024×768 display with 16-bit video card, 1 GB hard drive space for installation, and a DVD-ROM drive.

So what is new with InCopy CS4?

• Customizable Links panel much like in InDesign, makes it much easier to manage linked content effectively. The redesigned Links panel gives you the ability to sort, find, and manage all of your documents placed files. Your linked attributes and metadata is displayed in a single customizable panel and means that the information about your linked files is right at your finger tips. Each item is represented as a thumbnail image which makes it easy to sight and when you click on the image, additional information will be displayed.

• Conditional text allows you to deliver multiple versions of a document for different users or different audiences. By selecting what text you want to display for a particular version of your document and applying a condition to the selection, you can hide text, or display alternative text as it is need. Now you can create the same document and output one for the teacher, and a different one for the student.

• Table editing in Story and Galley views will let you edit your table content directly within the text flow in both Story View and Galley View so you can easily correct overset text without impacting table design.

• Track changes in tables Speed up document reviews with the ability to track changes in tables. You can view changes to table content directly within your InCopy document. No longer do you have to use hard-copy proofs.

• Add notes to tables using embedded inline notes into table cells, allowing you to include sticky-note like instructions to your colleagues who will be working on the same table in the layout

• Dynamic cross-references will help you to improve technical accuracy and streamline production by updating when you change content, or rearrange text within a document. This gives you the ability to create cross-references that update as content changes or moves within an InDesign document.

• Spread rotation ends the need to rotate your monitor (or head) when working on a document with vertical text element. The Rotate Spread View lets you temporally turn your document in 90-degree increments.

• Hyperlink Creation gives you the ability to create interactive documents with hyperlinks that navigate to external URLs or files, jump to another page, and more. You can convert text to hyperlinks, and verify your hyperlinks directly within InCopy.

• Share My Screen allows you to collaborate in real time with team members regardless of their locations using Adobe ConnectNow. You can work across platforms and invite up to two online guests at a time by accessing the Web-based Adobe ConnectNow service through InCopy.

 InCopy CS4There are a lot of things to like about Adobe InCopy CS4. They have addressed a sorely missing piece by adding the ability to edit and track changes in tables. They have improved the product with better interaction with InDesign, and they have brought it up-to-date with the rest of the CS4 family by upgrading the user interface. The one question I have is, if it is called InCopy CS4, why does it not come included with one of the suites? I would think that it would be in both the Design Premium as well as the Master Collection, but it is not. Rather, it is a standalone product

Obviously if you are working with InDesign, then this is a no-brainer. The integration is just too good not to use it and its ability to edit and track changes in tables makes this version an important upgrade. When you add the conditional-text, links panel, the cross-references, and Share My Screen, then I would say that it is a must-have upgrade.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.