November 5, 2012 in Publishing
[prMac.com] Scio, Ohio - Em Software has released WordsFlow 1.0, their plug-in for Adobe InDesign that solves a major headache in InDesign production: it automatically merges changes in placed text or spreadsheet files into already-edited InDesign stories on update, sparing its users the pain, frustration and inevitable mistakes involved in hand-merging changes from external documents.
In production, the pain points are well known--an author sends a story via email or file-sharing, and it's been placed in an InDesign publication, with typos fixed, formatting changed, text added and deleted, etc. Then, the author or editor sends another version of the file, and expects the InDesign user to figure out what changed, and weave those changes into what was supposed to be the final story.
In the past, the InDesign user might bite his tongue and simply re-place the story, losing all his hard work, then go through and manually make all the same changes made before, hoping nothing's forgotten. Or, he might run some kind of file-difference utility, and go through each difference, manually editing the InDesign story to match. In either case, he ends up wasting a lot of time in a highly error-prone process.
WordsFlow ends the headaches. When a Word (or any text) file or spreadsheet is placed, WordsFlow asks InDesign to keep a link to the file (normally controlled by global preferences).
When the placed file is updated (locally or in a shared-file situation), InDesign will notice that the link's source has changed, and allow update using the usual mechanisms. WordsFlow then kicks in, and, instead of replacing the placed story wholesale, magically merges the changes in the new file contents with all the existing changes to the current InDesign story. So no work is ever lost, and hours of drudgery are saved.
WordsFlow doesn't require any special configuration or extra steps to do its magic, beyond installing the plug-in. WordsFlow works behind the scenes, as part of existing InDesign workflows. Collaborators need no special software or configuration changes-they continue to work exactly as they have.
WordsFlow isn't a filter itself, but instead works with all text file and spreadsheet file import filters. In particular, WordsFlow works with imported Excel spreadsheet files as well as Word files.
David Blatner of InDesign Secrets, and author of many well-known electronic publishing books, is very excited about WordsFlow. In a recent review he wrote:
"I'm trying hard not to type phrases like 'Most useful plug-in ever,' but I have to tell you: I'm sitting here with my mouth agape, heart beating faster, and thinking 'This is what I've wanted for 20 years.' In short, I'm playing with WordsFlow, a plug-in from Em Software that fundamentally changes the way you'll work with Word documents."
WordsFlow has been enthusiastically received by publishing professionals during its public pre-release testing period.
* Plug-in for Adobe InDesign CS5/5.5 and CS6, Mac OS and Windows
* Requires no workflow changes on part of collaborators, works behind the scenes in InDesign
* Merge-updates placed Word/Excel files in InDesign, rather than the default replace which loses all editing and formatting
* Keeps content separated from layout - editors work in Word, layout people work in InDesign
* No learning curve - uses standard graphic file linking tools with text/spreadsheet files
"WordsFlow is a real breakthrough for editorial workflow with InDesign," stated Chris Roueche, chief engineer at Em. "For the first time, authors/editors can keep on working on placed Word documents while layout is happening, and WordsFlow will automatically merge their edits into the current layout without loss, on update."
System Requirements Mac OS:
* Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
* Adobe InDesign CS5/5.5 or CS6
* 10 MB
System Requirements Windows:
* Windows XP SP2, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8
* Adobe InDesign CS5/5.5 or CS6
* 10 MB
Pricing and Availability:
WordsFlow 1.0 (for Adobe InDesign CS5/5.5 and CS6, Mac OS and Windows) is $200.00 (USD) and available for purchase and download directly from Em Software and worldwide distributors. Review copies are available upon request.
Headquartered in Ohio, near Pittsbugh, PA, Em Software, Inc. is a privately held corporation founded in 1990. Em Software develops, markets, and supports document-connection publishing plug-ins for QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign. For nearly two decades, Em Software has been in the data-driven publishing, document-connection and editorial acceleration tools business. Leveraging their longtime experience in the desktop publishing and prepress industry, Em builds rock-solid, industrial-strength products, with fanatical attention to product quality and customer service. Support is provided by both the software authors and field-tested applications experts. Copyright 1990-2012 Em Software, Inc. All Rights Reserved. InDesign, and the InDesign Logo are registered trademarks of Adobe, Inc. Google Docs is a registered trademark of Google, Inc. Other trademarks and registered trademarks may be the property of their respective owners.