Adjusting your workflow

Move content between assignments (InDesign)

InDesign users can move content between existing assignments as well as from the Unassigned InCopy Content section of the Assignments panel. You can also create a new assignment and move content to it.

  1. Save the InDesign document.
  2. In the Assignments panel, click the arrow to the left of the assignment name to display the contents of the assignment.
  3. Select an item in an assignment.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • Drag the content from one assignment to another.

    • To move content to an existing assignment, choose Add To Assignment from the Assignments panel menu, and then select the desired assignment.

    • To create a new assignment as you move content, from the Assignments panel menu, choose Add To Assignment > New, and then specify options in the New Assignment dialog box.

  5. Choose Update All Assignments from the Assignments panel menu.

If the assignment lists are short, you might prefer dragging content items to and from assignments and the Unassigned InCopy Content section.

Delete assignments (InDesign)

  1. In the Assignments panel, select one or more assignments and choose Delete Assignment in the panel menu.

Deleting assignments accomplishes the following:

  • Removes the assignment data from the document.

  • Deletes the assignment file from the file system.

  • Removes the assignment name from the list.

  • Moves any InCopy content to the Unassigned InCopy Content section in the Assignments panel.


If an InCopy user has an assignment open when it is deleted in InDesign, an alert message notifies the InCopy user that the assignment has been deleted. However, the content files are not deleted and can be updated without loss of changes.

If you move or delete an assignment file from disk, and then open the InDesign document from which it was created, InDesign won’t know where the assignment file is located. You need to re-create the assignment file so InDesign can find it.

Re-create the assignment file in the original location

  1. In the Assignments panel, do one of the following:
    • Select the missing assignment (it will still be listed in the panel) and choose Update Selected Assignments from the panel menu.

    • Choose Update All Assignments from the panel menu.

Change the assignment location

  1. To re-create the assignment file in a new location, do one of the following in the Assignments panel:
    • Select the assignment and choose Change Assignment Location from the panel menu. Specify a location and name for the new file.

    • Double-click the assignment name. In the Assignment Options dialog box, click Change and specify a location and name for the new file.

Correct mistakes

If you make a mistake, you can discard changes made since the last Save command and restore the content from the file system.

Because InDesign automatically saves every editable InCopy content file when you save the InDesign document, the Cancel Checkout command restores only versions since the last time the document was changed.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To undo the most recent change, choose Edit > Undo [action].

    • To undo all changes made since the last time you saved the document, choose File > Revert Content.

    • To undo changes since the last saved version and remove the lock file, select the content in the Assignments panel and choose Cancel Check Out from the panel menu. This action makes the content read-only and available for others to check out.

Overriding locked files (InDesign)

Users might not immediately realize how their actions affect others in the workflow, and might accidentally create situations where conflicts exist between content status and ownership. If necessary, the InDesign user can resolve conflicts by unlinking a locked file checked out to a different user and taking control over the file. Unlinking a file stores the content in the InDesign document, but the content is no longer shared with InCopy.

If necessary (because of a production deadline, for example), InDesign users can remove a content file from the managed workflow and from the Links panel by unlinking it. If you want to make the content available again for editing, you must reexport it as InCopy content using a different file name. This ensures that the old lock file won’t prevent users from editing the file.


Unlinking your own checked-out file removes it from the workflow and deletes the lock file from disk. You can re-export the content and overwrite the file name without conflict.

  1. To unlink an InCopy content file, select the file (.icml or .incx extension) in the Links panel and choose Unlink from the panel menu. Unlinking embeds the content into the document and removes the link to the InCopy file on disk.

To relink the file, choose Edit > Undo Unlink.


You can also unlink by deleting a frame, or using the InDesign Links panel to relink a content file to another file. You can also select the story in the Assignments panel and drag it to the Trash icon.

Placing InCopy files in InDesign documents

Although a typical workflow begins in InDesign, where the basic layout and text and graphics placeholders are defined and exported to InCopy, a different workflow can start with a stand-alone InCopy content file (.icml or .incx) that you place in InDesign using the File > Place command.

Consider the following dependencies when you place InCopy content files in an InDesign document:


If the InCopy text file has styles applied, they are added to the InDesign list of styles for the document. In the event of a style-name conflict, InDesign overwrites the imported style with its existing style.


You can create the basic layout geometry for the content in InDesign, and then create or import the text and styles from a word-processing application. (Text files placed within InCopy are embedded in the InCopy document and are not linked to any external file.)


If you place an InCopy content file more than once, each instance of the content appears in the InDesign Links panel, but they are all managed as one content file. The same is true for any exact copies of a content file (by any means of duplication).


f you copy and paste some, but not all, of the text in a managed InCopy content file, the result is a new content file that is not connected to the original and has no link to any external file (InCopy or otherwise). The original and the pasted portions can be edited independently of each other.


Once multiple instances of a managed content file are present in an InDesign document, they behave as if they were open in two applications. For example, checking out one instance of the content file locks all other instances so that you can edit only the checked-out instance. In this case, you would use the appropriate Update command to refresh the other (open) instances of the content.


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Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online