If you do a little investigating, you may be surprised to find there are just about as many different workflows for using InCopy with InDesign as there are blogs (or movies) on the subject. Now, imagine adding scripts to these traditional workflows and you increase the number more than two-fold. But then this is the advantage of scripting: it allows you to create your own workflow just the way you want it.

Don’t want the user to have to folder dive in order to find an assignment to work on?

Set up a specific folder structure for your project. Use a file naming convention or file labeling to filter the files so just those assigned to the user are shown in a choose from list dialog.

Are your users annoyed by having to open a story every time they want to work on a story?

Let the script that opens the assignment file also open all of the stories. If you limit the number of stories within an assignment file, having three or four stories checked out at once should not inconvenience other users.

Users forget to check stories back in when done editing?

To assist users you might think in terms of a script that does the following:

  • checks in the active story
  • gets a list of all of the stories within the open assignment
  • if no other stories are open, the user is given a prompt before closing the assignment document

Assign the script to a keyboard shortcut and your user will love you

On the InDesign side, does the process of assigning a story or stories, seem like it requires too many steps?

Manually, the steps required are:

  • Choose Create New Assignment from the Assignment panel
  • Name the assignment
  • Provide a name to identify the .icml files
  • Identify the user for the assignment
  • Select a color for the assignment
  • Optionally change the location or name of the Assignment folder
  • Choose InCopy > Add Selection To Assignment from InDesign’s Edit menu and select the assignment
  • From the Assignment panel, select one of the update options, as appropriate, from the Assignment panel’s menu

With our collection of Assignment workflow scripts (coming soon), the Assign Stories script presents the user with a dialog in which to name the assignment. Optionally, the user can override the default name to be added to all .icml files associated with the assignment. The name of the user to whom the stories will be assigned is also chosen from a list. The script does the rest:

  • Identifies the parent story for the insertion point selection
  • Gets the color associated with the assigned user name
  • Tags the selected text frames to correspond to the assigned user’s name
  • Exports the selected story and, in doing so, adds the story to the Unassigned InCopy Content
  • Moves the unassigned story to the assignment designated
  • Updates the assignment

The assignment workflow is only one way that InCopy can be used with InDesign. What makes for a perfect pairing is the fact that both are open for scripting. And because you are a savvy user, you can take some of the code from our sample scripts and design your own super workflow.