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When you're an InCopy user working with an InCopy workflow it's actually a little easier than working with layout based workflows, as long as you remember what it is that you need to open. Here I'm using Windows Explorer and I've navigated to the server. I am going to open up the Project folder and you have to remember you don't open up the InDesign layout. If you do, you just close it. What you want to do is go into the Assignments subfolder and then select the name of the assignment that you want to open. Notice that I'm not doing this from InCopy's File > Open menu, so this is an advantage of using Assignments that I can just double-click on the file that I want to open right from Explorer, because an ICMA file is associated with InCopy.
The Assignment file opens up by default in Layout view, because this is what I had set it to in InCopy and it looks just like the Layout except that I am not seeing the rest of the pages of the layout. Now assuming I don't need to see those because they're not my responsibility, then this is great. It's fewer stories to deal with in the Story View. Just the ones on my spread. It opens up faster because there are fewer images to show. Everything else is about the same. I am going to go to the Assignments panel, and select the name in the category, the name of the assignment in this case. Check out guy at the bottom, and all the stories in the assignments are checked out.
Now, it is possible for the designer to associate these stories with a different assignment than with these stories. The smallest unit of assignment is a spread. So you'll never get an assignment that's just a single page if there is supposed to be a facing page next to it. But what would happen is that these stories would not be accessible to me. You can immediately see which stories are part of your assignments if you're having difficulty by going to the View menu, down to Extras, and choosing Show Assigned Frames.
Doing so will put a non-printing color overlay on top of the frames that are part of your assignments. So the frames that are not part of your assignment, they just appear normally. I don't find it particularly useful, but I suppose in a spread where some stories are not for you and some stories are it would be useful or if I went to the View menu and chose Hide Guides, I wouldn't be able to tell which stories had the adornments on them but here's a way that I can see which stories are editable to me even with Hide Guides on.
So that could be useful. There is another advantage of using assignments and let me show you what I mean. This has to do with when the designer saves changes to the InDesign file. I am in InDesign. One of my editors has this layout opened in InCopy, and I am going to go to the last page and change something on the last page, like I will take this frame and I'll just make it smaller, and then I am going to save the change to the InDesign file. Now if I look at my Assignments panel, you'll see that it's telling me that I also need to update this assignment lastspread, because the change that I made affected Kirk's spread.
So this is a little bit more work for the designer and that even after saving the InDesign file they have to remember to also save the assignment file. Why it doesn't update automatically? I don't know. A great feature request. But you always have to right-click and choose Update Selected Assignments, and here's a tip, designers. You should assign a keyboard shortcut to Update All Assignments. That way you can just press the keyboard shortcut whenever you do this. So now everything is up-to- date with the Assignments. But notice that if I go back to InCopy, the InCopy user was not notified that this layout is out-of-date.
We don't see an out-of-date thing appear. We don't see a little out-of-date icon at the top of the Assignments panel because the change that the designer made did not affect my assignments. Editors who are working in assignment based workflow are pestered less often if you're doing a lot of parallel work. If the designers often is working on the layout while the editors are editing stories in the layout. With their layout based workflow any change the designer makes to the layout even if they have no effect at all on the spread or stories that I'm working on, I'll never know that. It will always stay out-of-date and I'll wonder if she resized one of my frames.
I'll have to refresh the design or update the design in order to tell. But let's say that the designer did update something in this assignment. Let's do that. I'll go back to InDesign, and come over to Joe's assignments and we'll take the Shrubs story and move it over to just fit in one column. Then I'll save the change. The Assignments panel prompts me that this spread is out-of-date. I go back to InCopy. I'm not notified that it's out-of-date. All right! So this is like a little glitch or maybe something designers need to be careful is that when you are working with an assignments-based workflow, you have to remember to update the assignment every time you update the layout, if what you've updated affects the assignment.
Otherwise, your editor who has it opened will not know. Now, if the editor doesn't have it opened then don't worry about it. As soon as an editor opens up an assignment, it always shows as an up-to-date assignment. But if you're using the parallel workflow, then as a designer I'll need to remember to right-click on that assignment, choose Update, and I'll just say Update All Assignments and now in InCopy says out-of-date. I'll right-click and choose Update Design. It still says Design, it doesn't say Assignment, and now there is the smaller Shrubs text frame. From the InCopy perspective, six of one, a half dozen of the other if you're using a layout versus an assignment- based workflow, except the assignment workflow might have a few more advantages and that they're faster to open within the network, and they're not bothered so often by designers who are still working on the layout.
From the designer's perspective, it's a bit more work. There are more file formats to keep track of and to update.
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