When you open an .indd file in InDesign, links to *.icml files are shown as missing, and cannot be checked in.


When opening an *.icma or other file with links to *.icml files in InCopy, the assignments are shown as missing and cannot be checked out.


Solution 1: Upgrade to InDesign/InCopy CS5

This issue has been addressed in the CS5 release of InDesign and InCopy.

Note: At some point, the *.icml files moved from one type of file system to another where the font encodings were different. This move caused remapping of a character in the *.icml filename. Due to this change in the filename, the link from the InCopy Assignment file cannot find the *.icml content file. Remapping of one or more filename characters occurs in workflows where some users are on Mac OS X and others on Windows systems, or when files were moved via a remote file server, e-mail server, FTP server, or other. Characters affected by this issue are usually extended or Upper ASCII characters, like Umlauts or accented characters.

Perform both of the following procedures:

Finder (Mac) or Windows Explorer

  1. Edit the *.icml files in the so that they contain no extended characters, like Umlauts or accented characters.
  2. Remove all spaces.
  3. Note the filename for use when modifying the content of the .icma files in the next part of this solution.

Note: Removing all spaces and other non-alphanumeric characters makes it easier to write a matching name in the *.icma file.

Text Editor

  1. Open the *.icma file in a text editor and search for all instances of "<link".
  2. Locate the portion of the path that is the filename. Replace it with the new name you created in the first part of this solution.
  3. Save the file.
  4. Open the .indd file that contains links to the .icml files.
  5. Choose > WIndows > Links to display the Links panel.
  6. Selelct the affected .icml file, and click the Relink button and select the renamed file.

Solution 3: Recreate your assignment content so that it does not contain non-lower ASCII characters

  1. Unlink the *.icml.
  2. Resave the *.indd so that it has more than 26 characters that are all lower ASCII.
  3. Re-export the assignments.

Solution 4: Compress your files before moving them through another file system

Compress the files, for example, as a *.zip, before sharing it on a different operating system, uploading it to an FTP server, e-mailing it, or distributing it in any other way

Example: If all users are on Mac, but the files are distributed via Windows file server, keep the files compressed during this transfer. Unzip them when they reach the destination workstation that uses the same character encoding as the others workstations involved with the files.

Additional Information

InDesign CS3-CS4 automatically names *.icml files that it creates in the Contents folder while generating InCopy Assignment files (.icma), using this formula:

Trim to 26 characters ([.indd file name] + [story text]) + .icma

If the INDD filename is 26 characters or greater, then the story text never contributes to the names of the .icma, and the subsequent .icma files in the same Assignment file are clipped and incremented, for example:

If your InDesign filename is less than 26 characters, and if the algorithm takes text from your story content and the story content has non-lower ASCII characters, you run the risk that cross-platform workflow modifies the filenames due to platform font encoding differences. Thus the link object in the *.icml points to something like:


But the string %C3%A9, which resolves to an accented e (&eacute;), makes the file not found because the file on disk has gone from:
InCopyTest-Upp&eacute;r ASCII.icml
InCopyTest-Upper ASCII.icml   or...
InCopyTest-Uppr ASCII.icml     or...
InCopyTest-Upp[notdef char]r ASCII.icml

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