What is Adobe InCopy and why should you use it for content creation?

Discover how your designers and copywriters can collaborate better than ever with Adobe InCopy.

If you want to achieve perfect content harmony and the best creative results, every step in the content process needs to be assessed, especially during the copywriting and graphic design stages.

In this essential read, we'll explain how an often unsung Adobe Creative Cloud product can be a valuable tool that makes submitting and collaborating on copy for InDesign documents an absolute dream.

The purpose of this article is not to just give Adobe InCopy some airtime but it's to highlight its importance from a perspective firmly rooted in today’s world of creative collaboration. Hopefully, as you read, you'll be able to visualise your creative workflow with InCopy in mind and feel the difference it will make to your team collaboration. You’ll see how InCopy lightens the load on copy exchange tasks which can weigh down on your creative shoulders, and discover how to simplify the whole process.

What is Adobe InCopy?

InCopy is the word processing app in Adobe Creative Cloud that copywriters use to place their words directly into Adobe InDesign documents. It was originally released the year after InDesign was launched in 1999 as the companion to that software solution. With the goal of helping writers and designers bridge their processes and work together better.

The key vertical targeted for InCopy on its release was the publishing industry. Adobe was gathering momentum here already thanks to Adobe InDesign disrupting the domination of QuarkXPress over the previous years. The addition of InCopy ultimately increased the pressure further and major newspapers and magazine publishers were switching in droves to InDesign as their page layout software of choice.

So when you think of its history, InCopy is a major player in the Adobe Creative Cloud stack of products.

But it suffers from the stigma of being old-fashioned and expensive to implement. We don’t agree. We think it should get way more airtime and we’ll explain why later. For now, though, you should know that InCopy is included within the Adobe Creative Cloud 'All Apps' subscription, so many of you may already have access to it, or you can buy it on its own for around $5 a month.

How does Adobe InCopy work?

The primary function of InCopy is to allow copywriters and graphic designers to work together on page layout content. It could be used as a stand-alone word processor with full export and print functions but that’s not its real purpose. InCopy is designed to be the input channel for written content to be placed into Adobe InDesign documents created by graphic designers.

Adobe InCopy files come in two types:

Stand-alone

Stand-alone files are disconnected from any InDesign document and can be created and worked on autonomously by writers.

Linked

Linked documents are directly connected to the designer’s InDesign document and can be worked on by multiple people at the same time.
The common process between both file types starts with the designer creating an InDesign document and adding text frames onto it which can then be populated by copywriters.

These are known as stories or articles.

Stories could have a number of different text frames within them and each one could have its own designated purpose and style. Here are a handful of common examples:
  • Main title or headline
  • Paragraphed body content
  • A table of contents
  • Captions for images
  • Terms and conditions
Once the designer has created a document layout, the InDesign packaged file can be forwarded to the copywriter for them to begin work on.

The copywriter opens the packaged file with InCopy and can see exactly what the designer has produced. The written content can now be added to the page or pages by the writer, who then has a choice of three interface views to choose from.

Galley mode

A basic, unformatted word processing mode that uses line numbers and line breaks that correspond with the text frame size and shape within the InDesign document.

Story mode

This mode is similar to the galley mode but with no line numbers or line breaks, so just a wide text window spanning the width of your screen.

Layout mode

The layout mode displays the full InDesign layout with images and formatting, allowing writers to see their copy positioned inside the actual text frames laid out on the document itself. This view is the most visual and arguably the most experiential. In this mode, writers and editors can see exactly how copy looks on the design template.

So, for example, if the writers had a couple of options for the main story headline, they could type one in, take a look, then try another to make a decision on which one resonates best when taking the surrounding images, typefaces, and text frame geometry into account.

With the copy submitted and the pages filled, the document is packaged up and exported out to share with the rest of the team for feedback.

Who should be using Adobe InCopy and why

We’re going to break the mould here and say that Adobe InCopy isn’t just for publishers. It has a bunch of uses for all types of businesses within today’s creative world. Here’s the rub though - not many people have realised it yet and simply aren’t aware of where it can outstrip other word processors. Everyone is so quick to use Google Docs or Microsoft Word that they completely overlook the huge benefits that InCopy integration can bring to the creative document workflows.

You can’t beat keeping content locked together in the right place. There’s no need for Zaps or APIs or custom web-hooks with InCopy. In an age where software stack integration is commonplace, this is one of the most straightforward and beneficial of the lot.So who else should be using InCopy then? Well, here are a few pointers to get you thinking.

Business types

Any Marketing Team

It really doesn’t matter what type or size of business you are. If a creative team within your business produces content using Adobe InDesign then your designated writers can feed copy straight in using Adobe InCopy.

Health

Organisations in health, pharmaceutical, and care always require intricate copy details. These could be for packaging, labelling, or fine-print dosage instructions. The slightest errors could cause significant fallout, so the copy produced needs to be super-accurate.

Creative Agencies

InCopy is perfect for agencies that produce a ton of print content for multiple clients, with employee role assignments and responsibilities on projects constantly changing.

Associations and Regulators

Watertight advice on regulations or standards is needed for associations to make sure they are governing their audiences correctly, particularly when global or regional requirements are factored in.

Job roles

Copywriter

Straight up. Internal copywriters working on brochures, reports, catalogues, magazines, and so on submit their content into the InDesign document rather than through disconnected systems like Google Docs, MS Word, and email. This should be their go-to system.

Legal Advisor

Potentially the most critical role, legal personnel can edit the copy to ensure no loopholes or mistakes are unintentionally created or left in the content. The more important the document, the more emphasis this role has.

Marketing Manager / Director / CMO

Acting as the editor-in-chief, the CMO or marketing head can drop into the design and tweak any content whenever they need to. This could be designated to anyone.

Corporate Data Providers

Think of company reports or shareholder statements. InCopy allows data providers to view, drop, analyse and edit financial data or statistics to make sure it is all verified before it is sent to print or published online.

Wider community

Freelance Copywriters

External support from copywriters on a contract basis is a regular thing in today’s gig economy. This is a great way for them to directly hook into specific projects and cut out all the separate trails.

Journalists

If you are a local or public organisation or a review aggregator, for example, you may get the media to supply stories and articles for your content. InCopy works beautifully for that.

Guest Writers

When you have a specific campaign that benefits from a guest writer, get them hooked into your layouts and they’ll better understand the context, which means their copy will be just what you wanted.

Public Relations

Brands with PR reps or teams working for them can receive stakeholder quotes, interview content, show stats, campaign awareness metrics, and more directly into templates for internal review documents.
There’s so much you can streamline and channel through InCopy to make life easier. And that’s just using the standard Adobe flows. We’ve pushed it into the future...

How GoCopy smartens the whole InCopy workflow

Cloud-based working. Always-on connectivity. Deeper collaboration. Version history.

GoCopy’s InCopy workflow brings a whole new level of simplicity and collaboration to the process. It enhances the Adobe standard workflow by pushing the linked connections and content exchange into the GoCopy Cloud. Instead of relying on linked files that are stored on local machines, servers, or external providers, the GoCopy workflow centralises the Adobe documents in the cloud, making them always accessible and easy to share.
Using the GoCopy extension for Adobe Creative Cloud, documents can be sent for review directly from InDesign without exporting PDFs. Now review and approval can be combined with writers submitting and editing their copy. Creating one streamlined process.

InCopy users can drop content in through their GoCopy panel whilst other collaborators not needing an Adobe licence can make comments, request changes, upload images, @mention users, and more, all in a simple browser-based interface. Rather than being separated from the entire creative journey once they’ve submitted their words, InCopy users are included as an integral part and can take part in version reviews, restore old copy versions, and work closer than ever with their designers and co-workers to achieve the best result for everyone.

It’s a new collaborative world for today’s creative teams.
“We’re pleased to see GoCopy expand collaboration for designers, contributors, and stakeholders by adding support for InCopy. While InCopy has been available for some time, GoCopy has utilised a cloud platform making it easy for designers and agencies to work with their clients and see changes in a WYSIWYG interface.”

Mike Zahorik, Senior Manager of Partner Strategy and Programs, Adobe.
Discover the power of GoCopy and arrange a free demo today!
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Summary

Your team’s productivity is the real winner. The big gain with Adobe InCopy stems from collaboration. It’s a catch-all word that sounds pretty vague but it’s easier to measure than you think.

The commercial and experiential benefits are micro-delivered to your team in waves of time savings, error reductions, campaign control, content awareness, and togetherness. And these benefits are not ringfenced to big companies or publishers. They apply to all types of businesses that do some marketing and design, even those with small teams or freelance contractors only.

Creatives and marketers are always on the lookout for the next big thing to integrate into their software stack. That’s cool and the right thing to do - but don’t lose sight of what’s under your eyes.

You should be using Adobe InCopy in your content creation process. It’s on your desktop already, crying out for some love and attention. Here is a useful checklist to help you realise Adobe InCopy working in your business:
  • Talk about InCopy with all your marketing team
  • See who has InCopy installed already or is aware of it
  • Decide who should have it, both internally and externally
  • Pick a first project to test it on
  • Make sure the designers know when to use it
  • Get more writers and stakeholders included
  • Enhance collaboration with the GoCopy workflow
Discover the power of GoCopy and arrange a free demo today!
REQUEST A DEMO

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