In InDesign, assignment files are containers for organizing collections of page items. For example, you might want to select all the items in a story (headline, byline, copy, graphics, and captions), and then assign them to one InCopy user. Adding those items to an assignment provides a convenient way for InCopy users to access only the content for which they are responsible. Assignment files (*.icma) appear in the file system, in the InCopy story bar, and in status messages. Only InDesign users can create assignment files; only InCopy users can open them.
When you create an assignment, a folder is created in the same location as the InDesign document by default. This assignment folder includes the *.icma assignment files and a content subfolder that contains any exported InCopy story files (in .icml format) that are part of images or other resources. Once the assignment is created, store the project folder in a location where all users have access to it, or create and distribute an assignment package. If content is exported before it’s added to an assignment, the files on disk are not moved to the content folder of the assignment file.
Assignment files include the following:
Tight integration between InCopy and InDesign enables a workflow that lets writers, editors, and designers work simultaneously on the same InDesign document, without overwriting each other’s work. The workflow system allows users to check files out and in, thereby preserving file integrity.
InCopy users can view their content contributions within the context of layouts without installing InDesign. Using InCopy, writers and editors can take full control of text, including typesetting functions such as applying formatting styles (usually imported from InDesign), copyfitting, adjusting line and page breaks, setting hyphenation, kerning, and so on. InCopy users can import graphics to enhance their stories, and make limited transformations on those graphics, such as scaling and cropping. After the content is saved in InCopy, the document can be updated in InDesign. In addition, InDesign users can share design updates with InCopy users, ensuring they are working with the latest layouts.
Typically, a system integrator customizes the interaction between InCopy and InDesign, setting up and defining the workflow system for the group. The workflow system controls file creation, synchronization (with the master server), and viewing. InCopy and InDesign work with several different workflow systems, including the built‑in system enabled by the InCopy® LiveEdit Workflow plug‑ins for small workgroups. For specific details about your workflow system, talk to the system integrator.