Google Docs and Adobe Indesign - Streamlining the workflow

Agidea utilizes new software to allow content editors and designers to work simultaneously on the same document in real time using Google Docs and Adobe Indesign.

The problem of inflexible workflow between copy and designers

For the creation of print documents with complicated design layouts there are some key logistical problems that plague all organisation involved in print production of such items as newspapers, magazines, to brochures and leaflets. The traditional workflow is something along the lines of - copy is written, the document layout is designed, the designer then fits the copy to the design. This inflexible work methodology means that if the copy is amended the print layout can only be manually updated by the designer or someone comfortable with the graphics package, which creates a considerable blocker.

Our problem at Agidea was that we wanted to create high quality, illustrated, on-brand documents, that could be reused and easily updated in Indesign when required, with copy and design kept separate, so that copy editors didn’t have to go into the graphics package. Because of the lack of flexibility with integrating copy and visual designs, as a work around in the past, we have used Word or Powerpoint as these are easy for content editors, despite delivering less professional visual layouts.

The ‘Docs Flow’ system

Emsoftware’s Docs Flow system is a plugin for Indesign that allows the designer to import Google Doc or Google Sheet items from their Google Drive folder, including items shared with content editors, directly into Indesign. When content editors alter linked items in Google Drive, the designer gets an instant notification alert and chooses when they want to update the linked Google Doc/ Sheet items in Indesign.

All the Doc Flow linked items are visible in the Links panel in Indesign and the update icon also appears there if linked items are updated. To update a content section just requires one click. Any required layout updates are then trivial to amend.

A flexible and joined up process

This has simplified Agidea’s process for print document creation, making it a much more flexible and joined up process. Gone are the days of the designer waiting patiently for the copy to be finalised, and correspondingly the copywriter having to meet a fixed deadline set by the designer. This software allows both parties to work seamlessly as a joined up team, in real time, for painless updates, greater efficiency and a simpler working process for high quality print layout creation.

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