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Avoiding the InCopy Template Gotcha!


I recently received an e-mail from a client who was taking advantage of InCopy templates to allow authors to write articles in advance prior to entering the design/layout stage of the workflow. The client noticed after some time that within the template folder where the InCopy templates live, there were a multitude of additional template files in the folder with the word “copy” and a number at the end of the file name. I was reminded about an annoying template “gotcha” when working with InCopy templates specifically on the Mac OS platform. You see on a Mac, if you double click on an InCopy template file (.icmt file), the Mac OS duplicates the template file and then opens an untitled version of the template. Eventually, the template folder where the InCopy template lives, ends up looking something like the figure below.

In my testing, this has always been isolated to the Mac platform and doesn’t affect Windows users. For those Mac users however, this becomes an annoyance and can be quite confusing to users when they go to open a template from that folder.

The Solution

Fortunately, there’s a couple of pretty simple solution that needs to be conveyed to the users of these templates. Instead of double-clicking on the template file in the Finder, open InCopy first and choose File > Open and navigate to the template file that they would like to use. Alternatively, you can drag the template file from the folder onto the InCopy icon in the Mac OS Dock. Either of these methods will avoid the duplicating of template files each time the template is opened via a double click. The result is the same in that InCopy will open an “untitled” version of the template but without duplicating the template file.

But wait, there’s more! After my initial post Kimmi Patterson left a comment making me aware of a Mac OS feature called Stationary Pad. What does Stationary Pad do? Well, exactly what we’re trying to get InCopy NOT TO DO. It turns out that when you enable Stationary Pad for any file, when you double click on the file, it makes a copy of the file leaving the original untouched. OK, I can see how this could be useful in certain situations, but not with InCopy templates! To turn this option off, select an InCopy template and choose File > Get Info or use the shortcut Cmd + I. This opens the Get Info dialog box for the file type selected. At the top of the Get Info dialog box, you’ll see an option called Stationary Pad. Uncheck this checkbox and now the InCopy template files will not be duplicated when double clicking on the file in the Finder!

A big thanks to Kimmi Patterson for helping to solve this problem for us all!

Chad Chelius is a trainer, author, consultant, and speaker residing in the Philadelphia area. He’s been using Adobe products for over 25 years and began his career in the design and publishing industry. As an Adobe Certified Instructor and a consultant, he teaches and advises on all Adobe print and web products, specializing in InDesign and InCopy workflows, Illustrator, and PDF accessibility using Adobe Acrobat. He works with clients both large and small, in and outside the United States, helping them to solve problems, work smarter, and more efficiently using Adobe products.
  • Kimmi Patterson says:

    Have you tried turning off “Stationery Pad”? If you Get Info on the file ([cmd+i] or right click on the file and select Get Info), make sure the Stationery Pad box is unchecked.

    We use InCopy templates and if this is not turned off the file will just duplicate and not open in InCopy.

    Hope this helps!!

    • Chad Chelius says:

      Kimmi, that’s just flat out brilliant! I and many clients have been fighting this for some time and I never even heard of that Stationary Pad checkbox. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m going to revise the article above to include this solution.

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