Printing primer: Know your options in Adobe InCopy

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Large-scale publications that rely on Adobe InDesign often pair the app with its companion word processing adjunct, InCopy, to allow for a collaborative production environment between designers and editors. That's what we do here at Macworld.

Using InDesign and InCopy together has helped us become an almost paperless operation as we produce the print magazine each month.

But we do need to print out our work sometimes, and those times call for a trip to InCopy’s Print dialog box. InCopy offers a lot more than just basic print functionality.

Below are some of the things you can do with the Print feature, and some of the ways that we use it. We currently use InCopy CS4, but the print functionality and options in the dialog box are nearly identical in CS5.

Printing in Layout view

The first thing to note about InCopy’s Print dialog box is that it shows you different options by default, depending on which view you are working in. In Layout view, you get a certain set of options. In Galley or Story view, you get a different set of options.

While in Layout view, press Command-P (or choose File -> Print from the application menu). The first option in the resulting dialog box is Printer, where you select the printer you want to print to. The next option—View—lets you choose to print either the Layout or Galley & Story views.

Although the printing options default to the view you’re in at the time you choose the Print command, you can use the View pop-up menu to toggle between views at any time. However, in both InCopy CS4 and CS5, I had to perform a trick to access the Galley & Story option when I invoked the Print command from Layout view, because InCopy wouldn't offer the view to me when I clicked the View pop-up menu. The workaround is to cancel out of the Print dialog box and enter Galley or Story view (Command-G or Command-Option-G, respectively, or just click the tabs at the top left) to print whichever view you want. Or cancel out of the dialog box, enter Galley or Story view and then reenter Layout view (Command-L) and choose Command-P. Only then does InCopy magically offer the Galley & Story option in the dialog box you invoked from Layout view. I don't know why this is, but it seems like a bug because when I invoke the Print command from Galley or Story view, I'm able to immediately choose Layout from the View menu.

InCopy’s printing options for Layout view are pretty straightforward. This is the CS4 interface. CS5 looks almost the same.

The next few options—Copies, Paper Size, and Orientation are self-explanatory—and the CS5 dialog box adds a Collate checkbox. The Pages options are mostly self-explanatory, too. You can choose to print all pages or a range of pages, and you can opt to print the pages in reverse order, depending on the way your printer outputs the pages.

Under Scale, you can set the page to print in various proportions. I almost always leave this set with both width and height at 100 percent, and I keep the Constrain Proportions item selected. But by employing the Scale To Fit option, you can perform a few tricks. For instance, if you want the printout to include the filename and a record of the time and date you printed a document, you can choose the Print Page Information option. But if you do that without also selecting Scale To Fit while you have the Scale at 100 percent for both width and height and Constrain Proportions enabled, that information won’t show up on the printed page. You could deselect Constrain Proportions and set the height and width to a smaller percentage, but it’s much easier to keep Constrain Proportions selected and just click the Scale To Fit option. Doing so includes all the information you ask for and also makes the page output look nice and balanced.

Another instance in which you might use the Scale To Fit option is if you need to print a tabloid-size spread but have only letter-size paper. To do this, set Paper Size to Letter, Orientation to Landscape, and Scale to Scale To Fit. Then select Print Spreads. This is a great way to get a whole-picture view of a spread to check for irregularities in the layout.

Another option is Print Images, which is turned off by default. To print images, just select the option. When printing from InCopy, I prefer to not print the images because I want a clear picture of the text, without distracting art elements. Also, not printing the pictures saves ink and print time.

Printing in Galley & Story view

Printing in Galley & Story view is a little more complicated because there are much more options at your disposal. And when you print with this view, you get straight text, just as you'd see in the Story and Galley views of the program.

In the print dialog box, you’ll still find the familiar Printer, View Copies, Paper Size, Orientation, and Reverse Order options, but because Galley and Story views are sectioned according to story, you get a Stories option, too. Here you can choose to print all stories, the current story, or all expanded stories.

If you choose to print all stories but some of the stories are collapsed, that’s OK. The stories will print as though they were expanded. However, if you want to print the currently selected story and the selected story is collapsed, InCopy will prompt you to expand the story, even though it is selected, before you can print it. Choosing to print all expanded stories does just that—only the currently expanded stories will print.

Galley & Story print options are plentiful, so saving your print settings for this view can come in very handy.

Under Options, you can choose the current galley settings or override them. Keeping the current settings will print the stories at whatever font size you currently have for Galley or Story view. Because I have my Galley settings at a very large font size so I can view stories on screen without straining my eyes, I override the current settings for printing. Otherwise, I’d end up with far too many printed pages.

Besides changing the font size, you can select other options based on what's relevant to your needs. You can print the paragraph styles, inline notes (either all or just the visible ones, and you can choose to show those notes’ background color, too), and tracked changes (again, either all or just the visible ones, and you can also choose to show those changes in a background color).

The next option—Print Accurate Line Endings—lets you control the display of story lines on a page. You can print all the lines or just a range of lines (5–25, for instance), and you can print the line numbers. Select the Fill Page (Use Multiple Columns) option to set column widths for the printout. For example, if you set the Text Column Width option to a certain width, the column that displays paragraph styles, if you’ve chosen to print them, will print at that width. So if you have some long style names that you’d like to see, you could set the Text Column Width to 3 inches to give the column more space to display the full style name. (This option lets you set measurements in a variety of increments: inches, centimeters, millimeters, picas, points, and more.) Being able to see the styles used in a document in this way is helpful: for instance, it lets me quickly determine if we’re using the correct styles throughout a file.

At the bottom of the dialog box are two options: Print Page Information and Print Story Information. We’ve already discussed Print Page Information. Print Story Information prints not only the story title, but also the story author and story description (this information needs to be set up ahead of time in the Content Information dialog box for the item—File -> Content File Info).

InCopy lets you save print settings, too, which is great for people who don’t want to go through the intricacies of the print menu every time they print. Just select Save Settings, and InCopy remembers your preferences. When you save your print settings, InCopy saves them for all files you print from InCopy, not just for the document you’re currently printing.

InCopy’s Print dialog box also gives you a way to access the general print dialog box for Mac OS X. Click Setup to bring up the OS’s Print dialog box. Here you can choose two-sided printing and set options for paper handling, image quality, and layout (printing more than one page to a sheet, for instance). Before you can get to this dialog box, InCopy warns you that if a setting is available in its own Print dialog box, you should set it there instead, to avoid printing conflicts. You can choose to never see the warning again.

In OS X’s Print dialog box, you can choose additional print settings, such as two-sided printing and the number of pages per sheet. Just make sure the options you choose here don’t conflict with options you’ve already set in InCopy’s Print dialog box.

Printing to PDF

While we save to PDF often—for versioning and to share layouts with editors and authors—I always use InCopy's export function to export a file to PDF (File -> Export, or Command-E), which is the simplest way to create a PDF of either the Layout or Galley & Story views in InCopy. In Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), the Adobe PDF Printer is not available because security features in Snow Leopard disable it. Adobe Acrobat 9.1 Pro removes the Adobe PDF Printer and adds a new Save As Adobe PDF command. Customers using earlier versions of Adobe Acrobat in Snow Leopard cannot use the Adobe PDF Printer. A complete explanation at the InDesign Secrets Website offers more background on the issue.


After invoking the Export command, you’re greeted with an Export dialog box prompting you to choose a location and a name for the file. Do that, make sure the Format pop-up menu is set to Adobe PDF (which it should be by default), and then click Save. The PDF Export dialog box comes up, giving you options depending on which view you’re exporting from. You can include notes, tracked changes (in Galley & Story only), page information, and more. The Security Settings button gives you the opportunity to set a password for people to open the document, as well as a password for collaborators to change permissions or passwords. You can also set permissions for the document: Decide whether viewers can print or change the document, copy content from the PDF, or add or change comments and form fields.


Exporting PDFs of Galley & Story view is a great way to track versions, especially for organizations that do not have powerful content-management systems.

InCopy has versatile printing options that can accommodate almost any need a managing editor, copy editor, writer, or proofreader has. Next time you print from InCopy, give some of those options a try. Doing so may trigger a new way of working that’s more efficient or suitable for your publication.

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