Author: cpr

Welcome, NENPA 2023 attendees!

And welcome, NENPA attendees’ print production folk! This is for you.

The Em Software “news flow” duo of plugins for Adobe InDesign—WordsFlow and DocsFlow—enable direct links from stories in layout to the original articles, whether in Word or Google Docs, respectively.

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InDesign 2023 plugins released

All of Em’s plugins are now released for InDesign 2023. We released WordsFlow and DocsFlow a week ago (a day after the 2023 release itself), and released InCatalog, InData and Xtags for InDesign today.

We do appreciate your patience with us on these releases. Normally we’re ready with all of them on the day of InDesign release (we’ve even been a bit early in recent years), but these releases include wrapping up some multi-month complex engineering efforts that took us right up to, and just over the wire.

You can download these latest releases, as ever, from each product’s main page, sidebar Downloads for InDesign. Individual release notes are coming right up.

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Upcoming major licensing changes

Subscriptions finally come to Em Software

Be sure to read the section Auto-upgrades to subscriptions at the end for a very important note about using pre-2023 licenses with the new MAX 2022 (InDesign 2023) release plugins. Understanding what it says may save you time and expense.

With the upcoming plugins for InDesign 2023 that Adobe will release (as usual) at MAX 2022 (October 18th) — and for newly-released plugins under InDesign 2021 and 2022 (we only officially support the latest and 2 years back) — we are making a major change in how we license all our products. This will affect everyone going forward, so we’re giving you a heads-up a month ahead of the big change, and we will be attempting to contact every user via email, pointing to this message.

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New course: InDesign—Remote Workflows with InCopy, Word, and GoogleDocs

We’re very happy to announce that our long-time friend, collaborator and world-class designer/trainer Anne-Marie Concepción of Seneca Design has released a course InDesign: Remote Workflows with InCopy, Word, and GoogleDocs on LinkedIn Learning, which includes two chapters respectively on getting started with WordsFlow and DocsFlow.

You know a collaborative workflow can benefit your editing and design teams, but how do you set it up inexpensively and effectively? In this course, instructor Anne-Marie Concepción walks you through a number of free solutions that allow mixed-platform designers, writers, and editors to work concurrently on a single publication, whether they’re on-site or remote. She shows best practices for local network servers, as well as for shared, local folders from Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive/SharePoint, and Creative Cloud files. You’ll learn ways users can concurrently edit a file in Photoshop, Illustrator, Word 365, Google Docs, InDesign, and more. She presents detailed steps to set up and use an InDesign and InCopy workflow, so editors can open InDesign layouts in InCopy and write to fit. Anne-Marie also covers in-depth solutions that allow publishing teams to link Microsoft Word [WordsFlow] and Google Docs [DocsFlow] to live InDesign layouts, allowing for concurrent design and editorial development.

The good news is that, even if you don’t have a LinkedIn Learning (originally account, the link above gives you a free 30-day trial, which should be more than adequate to take advantage of this course.

Note that you can skip directly to the WordsFlow and DocsFlow chapters to learn more about how to use them, though you’d be wise to view the earlier chapters for a cornucopia of collaborative workflow knowledge.

LA InDesign User Group: Data Merge with InDesign

The LA InDesign User Group’s October 21st meeting will feature Em’s own Joe Mathia presenting Data Merge with InDesign, as an online event.

From the overview:

You’re probably familiar with the word processing mail merge function that allows you to send personalized letters to a number of people. In this presentation, Joe Mathia will explain how to use InDesign’s somewhat similar Data Merge function, a capability built into InDesign straight out of the box. Learn how to create personalized letters, envelopes, mailing labels, even catalogs with images.

But as powerful as the InDesign Data Merge function is, it has limitations. Joe will describe those limitations, and show how InData and InCatalog, two plugins from Em Software, expand the boundaries, taking InDesign automation to new levels. For instance, InData’s English-like scripting language, allows you to build conditional rules, including or excluding fields based on the presence or content of other fields, including one or more graphics per entry based on picture availability, etc.

Follow up

The recording is here on Vimeo: Data Merge with InDesign.

Free InData online seminar with Laurie Ruhlin

Laurie Ruhlin will be presenting a no-cost InData online webinar on James Wamser’s Words of Wisdom series. From the overview:

Laurie will be showing how she took data and images from a Walsworth customer’s database and flowed it into an InDesign layout using Em Software’s InData, an InDesign plugin. She started by redesigning the catalog, then worked to get the data and images ready to flow. She created the InData Prototype, which allowed her to flow and format hundreds of catalog items from an Excel Spreadsheet and images located on a shared server into her InDesign document in minutes.

Laurie’s presentations are always excellent, so we can’t recommend this more highly.

(Now that the webinar is finished, use this link to view the recording.)

See you at Creative Pro Week next week?

If you haven’t already signed up, we can heartily endorse the annual Creative Pro Week, which we’ve been attending as exhibitors for many years. This past year was virtual, and next week’s is the same, but we’re hoping to be back in person next near.

We can’t recommend this conference enough — you’ll always learn something, and have fun to boot with the talented and engaging speakers. (Caveat: many are friends of ours, so we’re biased. 😉 )

We’ll be “there” in our virtual booth — click on our sponsor link once you’re logged in to the site.

Adobe blog: InDesign editorial + production magic with WordsFlow

Laurie Ruhlin (a crackerjack Chicago-based trainer / consultant / designer, and a long-time friend of Em Software) has written a fantastic overview of WordsFlow for Adobe’s blog:

InDesign editorial + production magic with WordsFlow

Her summary:

So there you have it. WordsFlow and DocsFlow (for Google Docs) allows my client to retain content control throughout the production process. They can use the program they feel comfortable in to make edits, and best of all, I “allow” them to do much of the tedious editing. I simply update or relink the Word file using WordsFlow, and instantly, those client changes are incorporated into my InDesign document. WordsFlow has greatly simplified my workflow and allowed me to keep my designer hat on, the one I love to wear!

(Find full information at, where you can download and install the free, 15-day, full-featured trial plugin.)

WordsFlow and DocsFlow make top ten Most Valuable Plugins

Issue 137 of InDesign Magazine published a rundown of the ten most valuable plugins for InDesign, compiled from a survey of their board of experts. WordsFlow is #4 and DocsFlow is #8.

On WordsFlow:

Em Software’s WordsFlow is a no-brainer; I use it and couldn’t live without it. I used to send a PDF to my client, have her mark it up with PDF commenting, then spend a couple of hours deciphering her notes, scratch outs, word changes, and other tiny issues. Now, I send my client the exported Word file, and she makes all the minor changes. When she sends it back to me, I relink it with WordsFlow. The two hours that I would have worked on the minor changes is done in about a minute. —Laurie Ruhlin

On DocsFlow:

I think DocsFlow is a miracle plug-in. I’ve used it for many client projects for years because it’s rock solid and it turns me into a rock star in my client’s eyes. “What? We can still have all our users editing all these Google Docs remotely and we’ll have no problems updating the publication with our changes? What a relief! Thank you!” —Anne-Marie Concepción

You can read the article online at InDesign MVPs: Most Valuable Plug-ins.

To help with reading the whole issue (and future issues), InDesign Secrets is also offering a $10 discount code for membership: MVP.

New Docs 2 Design plugin for Adobe XD

We’re proud as punch to announce our third and latest plugin for Adobe XD, Docs 2 Design.

This plugin provides a stellar solution to the problem of content collaboration between XD users and their stakeholders.

With Docs 2 Design (D2D for short), as an XD user, you can extract one or more artboards’ text contents with a click, packaged in various forms we call a “snapshot” (typically a spreadsheet). Each artboard’s image is captured on a sheet in the snapshot, with each text item indexed and labeled in the image for easy reference while adding or editing the text items’ content on the artboard’s sheet.

You can then share or send around the snapshot file for editing using your co-workers’ normal tools (such as Excel or any text editor), and with another click, update all text items from the edited snapshot.

D2D offers artboard “variants”—e.g., languages in a translation/localization project, or suggestions from different team members or groups. You can fluidly switch among variants to check designs with differing content.

D2D is ideal for sending out artboard content for translation or localization, for fleshing out “lorem ipsum”-ed designs with real content, for getting text content suggestions from various team members or outside stakeholders, or for generally managing a set of variant texts entirely within XD.

Your content is your own—no websites required nor involved—and D2D makes it easy to figure out what happened at each update or variant switch with its “X-rays.”

D2D comes in two forms, a free version that’s fully functional but with some limits on the number of artboards and variants, and a paid (licensed) version with no limits.

For more information, see the D2D product page, and for full operating instructions, see the user guide.

A romp through WordsFlow and DocsFlow with Terry White on Adobe Live

Joe Mathia (with Chris Ryland kibitzing) had a great time showing our WordsFlow and DocsFlow products on Adobe Live yesterday, hosted by Terry White. Terry’s the best, and the audience was alive with excellent questions.

You can watch a replay here.

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Free webinar “Successful Remote Workflows for Publishing Teams”

One of our very favorite InDesign gurus, “Her Geekness” Anne-Marie Concepcion, will be presenting three very timely free webinars on remote workflows for publishing teams, May 12, 13, and 14th. The final presentation on the 14th will be covering our WordsFlow and DocsFlow products.

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Extreme Ad Makeover with InData

Consultant extraordinaire Gil Poulsen has written another incredible tutorial/case study detailing how he’s building real estate ads for newspapers in his area using Em’s InData product.

It’s in three parts:

Extreme Ad Makeover with InDesign/InData (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)

Read all three parts for an in-depth tutorial, with helpful pointers at the end.

WordsFlow at Eastern European Mission

Scott Hayes at the Eastern European Mission ( writes eloquently about how WordsFlow has transformed their incredibly challenging multi-lingual workflow. Key insight:

For us WordsFlow was a revolution in technology unlike anything we have implemented in the last 10 years.

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New Icons and Symbols plugin for Adobe XD

We’re beyond excited to announce that Em Software, after 20 years developing InDesign plugins, is starting a whole new phase of life with plugins for Adobe XD! We’re honored to be one of the first developers using the Plugins Panel, which is new in XD version 22.

Our first product is Icons and Symbols, a plugin that searches 5,000+ free, high-quality, no-attribution-required icons and symbols. Search by icon name (e.g., ‘arrow’), and place any icons in the result list with a click, resulting in a vector-based, fully-editable icon. Icons and Symbols includes a dozen popular icon collections in a range of styles, including Font Awesome, Feather, and Material.

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We’ll be at Adobe MAX 2019, Nov 4-6!

We’ll be exhibiting in the partner kiosk area at Adobe MAX 2019, November 4-6, 2019, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This is our first year at MAX, and we’re really looking forward to it, as the annual heart of all things Adobe.

We’d sure love to meet any of you who are attending!

And we hope to be showing exciting new things at the show. Details to come…

DocsFlow at the Star News Group

Super-consultant Gil Poulsen has written a fantastic overview of how the New Jersey-based Star News Group has adopted DocsFlow for their editorial workflow.

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WordsFlow vs. InCopy

(We just added this section to the WordsFlow product page, and thought it was worth sharing here.)

InCopy is a great solution if you need your authors and editors to work with exactly what’s going to be seen in the final InDesign document.

However, working with WordsFlow does have some serious advantages:

  • If your authors/editors have used Word all their lives, there’s no need to change their work habits or learn something new, using WordsFlow. They can stay productive in their long- and hard-earned knowledge of Word, with all its editorial power. InCopy is basically “baby InDesign,” and is a completely foreign world to Word users.

  • In fact, your Word users don’t even have to know you’re using WordsFlow–it’s entirely invisible to them. It just makes you, the production user or team, look a lot faster, smarter, and more accurate. (No more botched manual merges.)

  • WordsFlow enables InDesign production to proceed in parallel with editing in Word. InCopy stops all other work on a story while it’s checked out.

  • ICML (the InCopy native document format) can really only be used to feed InDesign. WordsFlow allows you to link document formats that can be used for other purposes.

  • WordsFlow is more production proof in that you can control the formatting on the InDesign side and review changes made by the editors before accepting. When an InCopy story is checked in, that’s it.

  • With WordsFlow, your authors and editors don’t need to be burdened with all the styling and other layout details in the InDesign story. It’s a well-known trope that dealing with the details of text formatting while writing is a huge distraction from the real job at hand. And your InDesign production folks will be glad your authors and editors don’t get to meddle with those details.

  • Cost! Each of your authors and editors needs an InCopy license, while only your production (InDesign) users need a WordsFlow license.

New online store

We’re overjoyed to announce that we have an entirely new, modern, adaptive, sleek, fast, localized online store with many more payment options.

Truly easy to use

There are many wonderful things about this new store, but the main improvement is that it’s so much easier to use.

Click on a Buy button on any of the product pages (or on a Get License button in any of the products’ License dialogs) and, boom, you’re taken to a check-out page for that product immediately. Fill in your email, name (optional company), and credit card info, and, boom, you’re looking at your new license with full instructions on how to get to back to work with your new power tool. (We’ll also send an email receipt right away with full information for your records.) Couldn’t be simpler or faster.

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Em futures June 2019

We can’t predict the future, of course, but we can tell you what we’ve been doing recently, and what we’re planning to work on. (None of these are specific commitments nor promises, of course, but we’ll do our best!)

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June 2019 products progress report

This is a brief summary of progress on our products, going back now three years to our most recent (June 2016) “quarterly” newsletter progress report. 😉

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SPI Connector for Box + WordsFlow bundle

We’re happy to announce the results of a recent collaboration effort with Silicon Publishing, Inc (SPI), resulting in a Box Connector + WordsFlow bundle.

Brett Kizner from Silicon Publishing says it best:

We’ve been friends with the folks from Em Software for a long time. Just as our Connector solves a common problem of linking assets from a DAM [digital asset management system] or file sharing service to your InDesign documents, WordsFlow creates a dynamic link with magic-merge capabilities from a Microsoft Word or Excel document to your InDesign document. We realized that when you combine the two solutions, you get a powerful collaborative editorial toolset breaking the barriers between the writers and the designers so we are proud to work with the Em Software team to bring a combined solution to market.

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Nell Chitty writes “A Designer’s Love Letter to WordsFlow”

Nell wrote a wonderfully helpful love letter to WordsFlow about a year ago, and we let it go by without note. It’s so good that we wanted to bring it up and share it with you, in spite of the time passage.

I first learnt about WordsFlow when watching a tutorial on on Word and InDesign Integration. I have found that clients love the control they have over the text using WordsFlow, that they get to work in an application they’re comfortable with (I’ve yet to meet someone who uses InCopy), and how fast I can output an updated PDF for them. Before, they’d have to wait for me to make the text changes they need, but now I just need to press a button. Its great!

The post is great–read the whole thing. Thanks, Nell!

June 2018 progress report

We thought it would be a good time (right before CreativePro Week 2018) to stop and take a look at the progress we’ve made with the InDesign plug-in products over the past year or so.

Of course, the InDesign plug-ins were all upgraded for the CC 2018 release back in mid-October 2017.

And we’ll gloss over the dozens of ongoing smaller improvements and bug fixes that are part of the normal process of keeping the products “in tune” and up to date. For those details, you can view each product’s release news using the “release history” links below.

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Come see us at Creative Pro Week 2018!

We’ll be at Creative Pro Week 2018 the week of June 3rd, in New Orleans.

If you’re planning to attend any of that week, including the InDesign Conference (Tue/Wed) and PePCon (Thu), or just in the area, please drop by our table. We’d love to see you and discuss anything of interest.

We’re always happy to show our products and talk about how they could make your work life easier. We’ll be demo’ing the latest WordsFlow and DocsFlow releases, which have solid performance and reliability improvements, as well as our perennial data publishing favorites, InData and InCatalog.

As a bonus for our readers, you can apply the coupon code CPWWEM for a $100 discount on any of the multi-day events at Creative Pro Week.

DocsFlow at Agidea

Matt Dunton, digital UX (user experience) designer at Agidea, has written a very helpful overview of their use of DocsFlow and how it solves “the problem of inflexible workflow between copy and designers.”

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Urgent: InDesign plug-ins expiring March 1, 2017

Due to a bad decision we made last November, many of you are seeing your CC 2017 plug-in builds expire today, March 1st (not your licenses, luckily). It’s a long story, but the bottom line is that we messed up.

If you just download and install the very latest version of the plug-in (released yesterday), it should work without further problems. You can get the latest version from the “Downloads” sidebar of your plug-in’s product page.

If that doesn’t work, please contact us at support, and we’ll get you going.

Em plugins for InDesign CC 2017

We’re in the middle of porting our plugins to the just-released InDesign CC 2017 update, and hope to have it done in the next few days.

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Come see us at PePcon 2016

We’ll be at PePcon 2016 Monday and Tuesday of next week, June 6 and 7, in San Diego at the Marriot Marina downtown, 3rd floor. (Sorry for the late notice.)

If you’re in the area, or at PePcon, please come by our table and talk to us. We’d love to see you and talk about anything that interests you.

We’re always happy to show our products and talk about how they could make your work life easier: especially the latest WordsFlow and DocsFlow releases, which have solid performance and reliability improvements.

The Xtags book, “Xtags Maximized,” now freely available

We’ve negotiated the rights with Darryl Keck to make his blockbuster Xtags book freely available, Xtags Maximized. The book has over 200 pages in 9 chapters, diving both deep and wide into using Xtags for serious production work.

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DocsFlow users: switch to browser login immediately

On April 20th, Google is going to shut down the old-style API (application programming interface) employed when you use a direct login in DocsFlow. (You may have gotten a scary-looking notice from Google that says “ACTION REQUIRED: Your Google Apps account is using the Documents List API, which will stop functioning on April 20th, 2015”.)

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QuarkXTensions porting to Mac OS QuarkXPress 10 and 2015

To paraphrase an old proverb about justice, “the wheels of Em Software development turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

It’s been a very long time since we’ve released any news about our XTensions for QuarkXPress 10 under Mac OS X—the Windows port was done mid-last-year—, mostly because we had no good news to share. We’re a small 4-man company, severely engineering-resource-limited (there’s really only one engineer who could do the work, Chris Roueche). The QuarkXPress 10 Mac OS XTension porting work loomed as a mountain we couldn’t really start climbing until we had cleared away some major obligations (the ports involved converting all code from Carbon to Cocoa, which is a serious change). We kept having to make tough engineering resource decisions over the past year that we judged the best for our customers overall. The end result of those decisions was a major delay affecting some of our QuarkXPress customers, and we’re sorry for that.

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WordsFlow and DocsFlow user guides now printable/pdf-able

In this Age of the Web, hard copy (physical or virtual) doesn’t matter to most people, but it really matters to some. So we’ve just made important parts of our web site printable or pdf-able for when you want to take some part of it offline with you in paper or digital form, for study, reference or just light vacation reading.

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WordsFlow 2.0 review from InDesign Magazine

Jamie McKee wrote a perceptive and very positive review of our newly-released WordsFlow version 2.0 in InDesign Magazine, issue #65 of September 2014. His conclusion:

WordsFlow already offered InDesign users a solution to the Microsoft Word/ Excel-to-InDesign workflow problem we’ve all been wrestling with for years—updating linked files without losing formatting. WordsFlow Pro 2.0 takes the final step, offering full two-way capabilities so you can send the changes you’ve made in InDesign back to your original Word documents. If you regularly work with text files that are likely to be edited (and who doesn’t?), you need to take a look at WordsFlow Pro 2.0!

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Re-release of CC/CC 2014 plugins

Due to a packaging bug on our part (we initially thought it was an Extension Manager problem), we had to re-package and re-release all the CC and CC 2014 plugins just now.

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InData builds 2100-page directory for RIBA

Phil Handley, Design and Production Manager, and Michèle Woodger, Content Editor, share with us how they built a complex directory for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

RPS2014_Flexy_CoverThe RIBA Product Selector directory is a hard-copy publication featuring construction product information and advertising material, distributed to 20,000 architects each year. The publication contains 8 different indexes with cross references, 800 pages of advertising material and a further 500 pages of educational/continuing professional development information. Until 2013 it was published as a 2500 page, two-volume hardback set, with four corresponding websites making use of the same data.

The directory has been in print since 1982, and due to this formidable 32 year history, the business workflows were complex (advertisements and indexes are handled by two distinct teams), the pre-existing, un-user-friendly DTP software was no longer suitable, and the directory contents were in need of a design refresh.

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Release: WordsFlow Pro 2.0 beta 2

This release fixes a critical and frequently-hit bug in WordsFlow Pro export. (Export would fail with a backtrace error.)

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Release: WordsFlow Pro 2.0 beta 1

We’re happy and excited to share an early public release of WordsFlow Pro (now at version 2.0) for your evaluation and feedback. WordsFlow Pro, like DocsFlow Pro, completes the workflow cycle, and makes WordsFlow fully two-way. With the Pro version, you can now update your Word documents in place with the latest linked InDesign story contents, and you can export any InDesign story to a new Word document as well (which also links it automatically).

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Plugins plan for InDesign CC 2014

Adobe released the Creative Cloud Suite for 2014 this week, and we want to let you know our plans. Since Adobe changed the document format, this will unfortunately require re-releases of all our plugins.

We’re ready to go with our plugin updates, but need to package and release the plugins, and are short-handed during vacation time. But we plan to have it all done and released by the end of the first full week in July (the 11th, give or take a day or three either way).

Any existing InDesign CC license will work with these new CC 2014 plugins, so you should be able to download the updated plugins and go.


We released the CC 2014 plugins on July 14th and 15th, 2014. See the individual plugins’ release notes.

See you at PePcon 2014!

We’re now just two weeks away from PePcon 2014, in Chicago this year. As ever, we recommend it highly, if there are any seats left.

If you’re planning to attend, please do visit our table, where we’ll be showing our dashing new WordsFlow Pro product (hint: two-way Microsoft Word workflow!), and offering prizes, 6-month evaluation licenses, and a special 25% show discount. Plus, we’d love to meet you in the flesh, if we haven’t already; and, if we have, it’s always great to catch up…

“I love InData”

I love InData and use it to create long, complex catalogs. Thanks for a great product!

–Amy G

David Blatner’s new data publishing tutorial

David Blatner has released a brand-new data merge and data publishing tutorial on As with anything by the InDesign Secrets crew, it’s quite well done.

This new tutorial also includes a 5-minute overview of our InData product, called “InData, a more powerful Data Merge“. The folks have kindly made this video freely viewable.

DocsFlow helps out at Syracuse University

Seth Gitner, Assistant Professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University, writes:

In early 2012, a dozen students in the Multimedia Projects course at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University set out to create an interactive storytelling mobile tablet application on Central New York’s notorious winters.

Famous for frigid temperatures and record-crushing snowfalls, Central New York averages 116.9 inches of snow annually. During the previous winter, more than 179 inches of snow accumulated, making “winter” a natural choice for an interactive storytelling project.

The story ends with a call-out to DocsFlow:

The stories for this application were inserted using a content management system that combined Google Documents and InDesign using the InDesign plugin DocsFlow, from Em Software.

Go read the whole thing—it’s a great story.

New course showing DocsFlow and WordsFlow

Anne-Marie Concepción has published a new online video course Using Word and InDesign Together on that includes brief overviews of both WordsFlow and DocsFlow.

The course itself looks great, as you’d expect from Anne-Marie, and the two short overviews of our products are spot on. She mentions DocsFlow 2.0, which includes two-way linking to Google Docs, and which we’re just about to release in the next few days.

InDesign CC upgrade plans

ID-Creative-CloudWith Adobe’s InDesign CC (Creative Cloud) version just released last week, we wanted to let you know our plans for upgrading our plug-ins to work with CC. (None of them are CC-capable yet.)

First, we’re 100% committed to upgrading all our InDesign plug-ins — have no fear!

Second, we’re just starting the conversion effort, admittedly quite late. With our small engineering team (which is normally an advantage in terms of agility and staying close to you, our customers), we decided to give priority to finishing DocsFlow 2.0. (We’ve done that, and its beta is now available.) So now our focus will be 100% on upgrading all plug-in products to CC.

Third, anyone who purchases a CS5/5.5/CS6 plug-in license on or after January 1, 2013, will receive a free upgrade to a CC license.

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See you at PePcon 2013 in Austin!

PEPCON_SponsorBadge2013We’re happy to announce that we’ll be both sponsoring and attending the Print + ePublishing Conference (PePcon) 2013 conference in Austin, Texas, April 28–May 1. Marci, Anne-Marie and David have always done an outstanding job on these conferences, keeping them relevant, with great speakers, great food and attractive venues.

This time, Joe Mathia and John Whitney will be there from Em Software. Joe was at PePcon 2011 in Alexandria with Chris Ryland (who was alone last year in San Francisco), but since Joe and John are both local Texas boys (Dallas and Austin, respectively), they get to have all the fun!

We’ll be showing our current data-driven publishing products, InData, InCatalog, Xtags for InDesign, and our newer editorial/workflow products WordsFlow and DocsFlow.

In particular, we’ll be showing the latest WordsFlow and DocsFlow versions with major table-handling improvements, and we hope to be showing some major new functionality in DocsFlow as well! (Hint: it might involve edits flowing in both directions. ;-))

So please stop by and take a look at what’s new (and old).

See you there!

Xtags helps CatBase automate imoderni catalogs

Pat Bensky of CatBase fame, describes how Xtags works with CatBase to produce imoderni‘s catalogs. (Also see the CatBase case study for Kellogs for another application of Xtags Pro.)

imoderni catalog p43The entire document was built automatically, with minimal intervention from the user, telling InDesign to create the table of contents, for example.

(Click on the graphic to see the full pdf.)

  • The data is maintained in CatBase. This includes all the details, picture names and sizes, etc.
  • The customer selects which products to publish (e.g., all products for one manufacturer, as in the attached example; all products of a certain type, such as sofas; all products that a certain dealer sells; all products in a certain collection; etc.).

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Release: WordsFlow 1.0.1 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

This release fixes a serious bug with update failures in the face of Word documents with embedded graphics, and adds some behind-the-scenes enhancements.

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Release: WordsFlow 1.0 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

We’re happy to announce the first official release of WordsFlow, our InDesign plug-in designed to make a huge improvement in your Word/Excel-based production workflow.

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WordsFlow 1.0 review from InDesign Secrets

David Blatner of InDesign Secrets has been using our new product WordsFlow for a bit, and is very excited about it:

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.

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Release: DocsFlow 1.4.7 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

This release supports placing public documents even when not in the user’s account, and fixes a slew of minor bugs.

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Release: WordsFlow 0.4 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

This still-in-preview release fixes more bugs found during pre-release testing.

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Release: WordsFlow 0.3 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

This still-in-preview release bumps the expiration date and fixes some smaller bugs found during testing.

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DocsFlow accelerates annual report production at literacy project

In general, we’re happy to donate software to qualified educational institutions (for teaching applications) and to non-profit organizations, and we did so for Wisconsin Literacy a few months ago. Sheila McGrath kindly reports back with a very positive review of using DocsFlow with InDesign for their annual report production.

WiscLitCoverThank you so much for giving us DocsFlow. Wisconsin Literacy produced their annual report using DocsFlow, with me as an off-site volunteer graphic designer.

(Click on the annual report cover for the full pdf version.)

DocsFlow for CS4 worked very well for flowing text into InDesign. I was not able to get custom style-mapping to work automatically (likely an older Mac Javascript version on my machine rather than a DocsFlow problem) but I had no problem importing text into InDesign smoothly. I just re-imported text after changes and my styles were retained, so all was well. The Links panel indications of file changes worked fine also.

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Release: WordsFlow 0.2 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

We’ve just released WordsFlow 0.2, our second preview release, which is one step closer to final release.

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Release: WordsFlow 0.1 for InDesign CS6

As proud “parents,” we’re happy to announce that our latest product, WordsFlow, is now available for the first time in a preview release for your testing pleasure! (There’s also a back story to WordsFlow.)

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WordsFlow – announcing a new product

We’ve just added a section to our site about WordsFlow, a new product.

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InData builds annual commercial real estate directory

Mike Docker, InData developer extraordinaire, shares with us how he used InData with InDesign to build an annual commercial real estate directory.

Estates Gazette (EG) is the weekly magazine for the UK commercial property trade, and each year it produces a directory of warehousing and distribution parks across the country with space available for rent or purchase.


The data is held in an Excel spreadsheet, which is updated from information provided by property agents. This comes into the EG offices at different times and is handled by different staff members. Also, each distribution park can be represented by multiple agents, so it is not uncommon for one park to be entered into the spreadsheet several times.

As publication date approaches the agents are reminded to check and amend the data they have provided, and the updated spreadsheet becomes the source for the printed directory.

The magazine’s production team had been using cut-and-paste techniques to get the text on to the page but they approached the task with dread as each year rolled around. I persuaded them to give InData a try.

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Xtags streamlines production process for hundreds of newspapers and magazines with Pre1

Mark Jockin, CEO of Pre1 Software in Portland, Oregon explains how Em Software’s Xtags product became a backbone of the Pre1 newspaper software sold to hundreds of publications across the Americas.

pre1-casestudy-figure4In 1999, Pre1 first sold its newspaper software to an alternative newsweekly in Portland, Oregon. Today, more than 400 titles are printed using Pre1’s SmartPublisher, with more coming online each month. By now, literally millions of ads have been converted into print. Xtags made it all possible.

Pre1’s mission is to streamline workflow for publications by integrating into one product multiple business processes vital to newspaper and magazine publishers. For the most part, every publication works the same. The sales reps sell ads, the accountants collect money, and the production department builds the ads. When deciding how to unite these various disciplines in a single software product for newspapers and magazines, Pre1’s challenge was which technologies to count on to get the job done.

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DocsFlow gets “exceptionally good” rating in a full review from InDesign Magazine

David Blatner, one of the patriarchs of the InDesign ecosystem, in the June/July 2012 issue of InDesign Magazine, reviewed the latest version of DocsFlow and gave it 4 stars for “exceptionally good.”

David opens with a great story:

For me, one of the most memorable highlights at the PePcon conference this year was a simple conversation in the hallway with an attendee about the DocsFlow plug-in. Staring at me in near-disbelief, he stammered, “You mean I can have all my writers and editors working in Google Docs, and have their changes automatically update in InDesign? That’s awesome!” Yes, yes it is.

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InCatalog a critical part of skiing/snowboarding guide workflow

Chris Gill, Editor of Where to Ski and Snowboard, Britain’s leading winter sports resort guide, writes about how InCatalog acts as a critical part of their automated editorial processes.

WTSS_Sample_TignesWhere to Ski and Snowboard is the British skier’s “bible”—a comprehensive and detailed annual guidebook running to 700 pages, covering of all the major ski resorts in Europe and North America. It was first published in 1994, became an annual publication a few years later and is now in its 15th edition.

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InData builds antiquarian books catalog

Pia Oliver at Randall House Rare Books in Santa Barbara tells how they use InData to save “enormous time.”

Randall House featuredWe create our rare book catalogues utilizing InData to get the data from our database into our layout program. We use FileMaker Pro v.10 and InDesign CS4 (previously we used QuarkXpress). Since our data is very strictly formatted and our catalogues consist of unique items, averaging 500-800 at a time, it would be dreadful having to do all this formatting by hand. The plug-in saves us enormous time.

(Click on the graphic above for the full pdf version.)

I have attached a pdf of the finished product of one of our catalogues created this way. All of the information for the books are taken from approximately 25 different fields for each record/book. I first began using InData for a catalogue that consisted of more than 1,000 books.

InData helps a building materials company

Dave Karras, Marketing Manager at Wimsatt Building Materials, has a great success story about using InData to build a whole range of marketing materials.

Wimsatt featuredAs a wholesale distributor of building products, Wimsatt Building Materials delivers roofing, siding, insulation, windows, doors, and composite lumber to builders and contractors across the state of Michigan. With 20,000+ SKUs in over 1500 categories, our Marketing Department had a formidable challenge in communicating building product information to several audiences across multiple media. Our annual printed contractor catalog, our regularly-updated internal price pages, and our online catalog were all isolated production processes that required a great deal of manual effort on the part of the design team and proofreading on the part of our Inventory Department.

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DocsFlow is a huge time saver at a non-profit

David Rager, a designer/art director in Paris who works with a non-profit organization called The Ecology Center in California, has been using DocsFlow recently and is quite enthusiastic about the product.

Evolve508I’ve been plugging away with DocsFlow over the last few months and found it that it’s been a huge time saver. What I love most is that it takes away the trouble I often run into with the conventional edit, proofread, approval, repeat system. My clients are also very happy that they get to interact with a live document and see how their text edits change the way the design looks and feels.

Our first “DocsFlow project” came back from press recently, 5 contributors were involved, each updating their own docs and everyone is very pleased with the results.

(Click on the graphic to review the issue.)

See you at PePcon 2012 in San Francisco, May 14—16!

We’re happy to announce that we’ll be both sponsoring and attending the Print + ePublishing Conference (PePcon) 2012 conference in San Francisco, May 14—16.

We’ll have a table in the conference area. We’d love to show you what we’re doing and make new friends while catching up with the old!

David and Anne-Marie always put on a rousing conference, and this looks better than ever. Plus, you’ll get a peek at what’s coming out in CS-next from Adobe.

Our last year’s conference trip was a resounding success, and we hope to repeat that in Bagdad-by-the-Bay.

See you there!

Early DocsFlow release reactions

It’s only been a couple of days, but we’ve seen a huge amount of interest in DocsFlow since its official release on Tuesday.

The Twittersphere has exploded with interest (keep scrolling down for dynamic refresh).

And The Unofficial Apple Weblog has an enthusiastic response.

We sponsored the InDesign Secrets podcast this week with Anne-Marie Concepcion and David Blatner, and they talked about DocsFlow in podcast 156 at some length (starting at 15:00). The whole podcast is great (as usual).

DocsFlow 7.0 for InDesign CS5/5.5 released

We’re thrilled to announce that, after almost exactly two years of development, and several months of intense beta testing, we’ve released the first version of DocsFlow (7.0) for InDesign CS5 and CS5.5. DocsFlow is a plugin that connects Google Docs to InDesign, for a breakthrough in affordable collaborative publishing.

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InCatalog+InData bundle offer for Tip of the Week readers

We’re happy to provide InDesign Magazine Tip of the Week readers a time-limited bundle offer that gets you InData for free when you purchase InCatalog. Using InData, you can build documents from your data that are pre-linked to that data for later InCatalog update (or extraction) in place. You save $400 on a powerhouse catalog publishing combination!

Simply use the coupon code idmt811 when purchasing a single copy of InCatalog or InCatalog Pro along with InData, and you’ll receive a $400 discount to cover the cost of InData.

(This offer expires August 19, 2011.)

Release: InCatalog 6/ for InDesign CS4/5/5.5

This release of InCatalog improves link editing at an insertion point, and fixes several bugs.

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Beta release: DocsFlow 7.0 beta 2 for InDesign CS5/5.5

DocsFlow 7.0 beta 2 (for InDesign CS5/5.5, Mac OS and Windows) is now available for download and testing. We encourage you to upgrade to this version if you’re using DocsFlow, as it fixes some update merge problems, improves stability, and builds in some debugging tools to help us diagnose future merge problems.

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Beta release: DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1 for InDesign CS5/5.5 Windows

After a long struggle with packaging the complex technology behind DocsFlow, we’re very happy to announce the release of the first Windows beta version of DocsFlow 7.0 for both InDesign CS5 and CS5.5.

You can download it from the sidebar on the right or from the (same) sidebar on the main product page. When you download and expand the linked .zip file, you’ll find an outermost folder Em DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1, containing the folder Plug-ins for InDesign CS5 & CS5.5, containing the actual installation file docsflow70b1_installer_win.zxp, which you double-click to install.

(Adobe Extensions Manager will install the proper version (CS5 vs CS5.5) based on what you have installed on your system.)

We’re working on beta 2 for both platforms (Mac OS and Windows), containing some important bug fixes and feature additions. We hope to pick up the release pace, now that we’ve jumped the initial release hurdle.

InDesign CS5.5 plug-ins now released

As promised (and explained), we’re happy to announce the release of all our plug-ins for InDesign CS5.5 in concert with our current CS4/CS5 releases.

When you download any of our plug-ins, and double-click the .zxp installer file in the Plug-ins for InDesign CS5 folder, Adobe’s Extension Manager will install the appropriate CS5 or CS5.5 plugin, depending on your most-recently installed version of InDesign. If you have both InDesign CS5 and CS5.5 installed, and would like to install the plug-in for use in CS5, you will need to manually start Extension Manager CS5 and use its File > Install Extension to select the plug-in’s .zxp installer file.

Thanks for your patience, if you were waiting!

Early DocsFlow beta feedback

There are already a couple of public responses to DocsFlow that might be helpful for others kicking its tires.

David Blatner gives his initial thoughts in an InDesign Secrets blog entry and emphasizes the “magic” part of DocsFlow, the document merging facilities. His tagline is “Em Software’s DocsFlow heralds a breakthrough in collaborative publishing!”

Haeme Ulrich calls it a “dream fulfilled” in his Ulrich Media blog entry (German; here’s a Google translation into English.)

Beta release: DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1 for InDesign CS5.5

Last night we re-released the DocsFlow beta to include binaries for both InDesign CS5 and CS5.5 (including 7.5.1, the latest update).

You can download it from the sidebar on the right or from the (same) sidebar on the main product page. When you download and expand the linked .zip file, you’ll find an outermost folder Em DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1, containing the folder Plug-ins for InDesign CS5 & CS5.5, containing the actual installation file docsflow70b1_installer_mac.zxp, which you double-click to install.

(Adobe Extensions Manager will install the proper version (CS5 vs CS5.5) based on what you have installed on your system.)

Beta release: DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1 for InDesign CS5

We’re delighted (and relieved) to announce that the first beta of DocsFlow, our brand-new product for connecting InDesign to Google Docs, is now available for public download and testing, at no cost during the beta test.

See the sidebar to download and for further information, such as the DocsFlow product overview (home page) and the user guide.

We’re first releasing the InDesign CS5 Mac OS version, with the CS5.5 Mac OS version coming later today. Then we’ll release the Windows versions over the next few days as we finish its integration process.

If you’re interested in testing, we strongly encourage you to learn more about keeping in touch via various methods, so you can hear about each beta release as it happens. At first, they’ll be coming pretty fast and furious, while we work out the bugs and glitches.

Thanks for any feedback you can give us, and we hope you find this new tool incredibly useful!

Updated plugins coming for InDesign CS5.5

Adobe recently released an InDesign 7.5.1 version (first minor version of CS5.5) which fixed the “bug” that CS5 plugins worked with CS5.5. Apparently, Adobe needed to require new CS5.5-specific versions of all plugins due to internal changes, but we somehow didn’t get the message ahead of time.

The result is that, if you do an auto-update of CS5.5 to the latest 7.5.1, InDesign will complain that there is a plug-in conflict with any one of our plugins.

We’re scrambling to release new versions of all our plugins that will work with CS5.5 specifically, and hope to have them sometime later this week. This is effectively a whole new release, even if it means no code changes, so we have a lot of repackaging, re-versioning, rebuilding, and re-releasing to do across all 4 plugins for MacOS and Windows.

We apologize for this mishap.

Xdata samples featured on Quark’s web site

Quark has recently featured a couple of Xdata samples on their web site.

The first, at Directories and Yearbooks: Automate the Publishing of Directory-style Documents, has the caption John Catt Educational‘s 2011 publications were created using Em Software’s Xdata XTension for QuarkXPress in conjunction with databases created by consultant Roger Fuller. (John Catt Educational is UK-based, and Roger Fuller can be reached at; Roger is a long-term Em associate, and we can recommend him highly.)

The second, at Catalogs and Circulars: Limitless Design Flexibility, has the caption Mike Docker, Deputy Production Editor at Caterer & Hotelkeeper Magazine, said these guides involved a lot of coding at first but using Em Software’s Xdata XTension for QuarkXPress paid dividends for years afterwards.

(In both cases, you have to click on the embedded picture to see the samples.)

Print and ePublishing Conference 2011 (PePCon) report

Joe Mathia and I (Chris Ryland) provided Em’s presence at the (now apparently annual) InDesign Secrets Live! Print and ePublishing Conference designed and implemented by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción. David and Anne-Marie are just plain great people, and were wonderful hosts for the conference. (They (and other speakers) very kindly pointed people to us several times in general and specific sessions.)

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“I have used this product for over 11 years and could not live without it”

I just want to tell you that I have used this product for over 11 years and could not live without it. Exporting data out of our database and having it magically formatted to look beautiful sure is sweet. Of course, I have to write all the scripting/programming for it to look so nice, but it sure makes it fast. I use InData in 20 books that range in pages from 300-800, and I love using it.

–Greg Kemp, contexo | media

Three Trick Pony’s InData/Xdata showcase

Mike Docker of Three Trick Pony (UK) is now showcasing InData/Xdata on his web site.

These are beautiful applications of our tools, and should give you a good idea about what you can accomplish with the same set of tools.

Mike is available for consulting, and can be contacted via email from the footer of his site.

Adobe InDesign CS5.5 and our plug-ins

Adobe just announced InDesign CS5.5, which is a mid-cycle refresh of their flagship print publishing product with an emphasis on electronic publishing to tablets, e-books and more.

As far as we know, our CS5 plugins should continue to function well with this release, and we’d love to hear about your experiences with InDesign CS5.5, good or bad or in-between.

Em 9.x XTensions now available for QuarkXPress 9

Quark announced recently that QuarkXPress 9 is set to ship on April 26th (later this month), with a “test drive” version available until then on the Quark web site.

We’re delighted to announce that the 9.x versions of our XTensions–compatible with the final QuarkXPress 9 release–are now available from the right sidebar of this post, and from the respective product pages.

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Em exhibiting at the Print and E-Publishing Conference, May 23-24

We’re happy to announce we’ll be exhibiting at the InDesign Secrets Live Print and E-Publishing Conference, May 23rd and 24th, at the Westin Alexandria.

InDesign Secret’s own David Blatner gives an overview of the developer attendees and says kind things about Em.

If you’re an Em product user and will be at the conference, we’d love to talk and find out how you’re using our products and how we could make them better. If you’re not using them, we’d be glad to show them to you in person.

We hope to be showing an entirely new product as well that may be a killer solution for editorial workflow.

So do stop by our table–we’d love to see you!

InDesign Secrets podcast talking about InCatalog, InData

The latest InDesign Secrets podcast—from David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepcion—talks at some length about both InCatalog and InData. (The lead-in to our products starts around 11:00, but the whole podcast is gold for data publishers.)

These podcasts are always great, but this one is particularly relevant to anyone interested in our products.

One nit, though: David talks about InCatalog being the big brother of InData, which isn’t quite true: it’s more like a brother who does something fairly distinct but complementary. (InData builds, InCatalog links, very roughly.)

“nice to get the quick support and response”

I have to say, it’s been nice to get the quick support and response from you guys, as opposed to posting on the Adobe forums and waiting for a response. I’m sure I will have some more questions, but I’m convinced that your product will do what we need.

Stew B.

“impressed you actually took the time to help”

I also wanted to take an extra minute to thank you again for taking the time to walk me through the issue I was having over the phone. It seems like most companies anymore are not willing to take the time to speak to someone and solve a problem. They would rather pass you off to someone in another country that really doesn’t care. I was very impressed you actually took the time to help.

Brad H.

“we don’t have that luxury with other software vendors”

Thanks for all your help Joe—we truly appreciate your prompt responses. We don’t have that luxury with a lot of the other software vendors we deal with.

Adam S.

“we couldn’t possibly do without InCatalog”

I still love your product, and it’s saved us a TON of time in our layouts (we average anywhere from 160-200 pages of print work a week with a staff of 3, which we couldn’t possibly do without InCatalog).

Nathan A./

Release: InCatalog 6/7.2.7 for InDesign CS4/CS5

This release of InCatalog for InDesign adds support for InDesign CS5 to that for CS4, drops support for CS2/CS3, adds full XPress-tagged text support bi-directionally without needing our Xtags product, adds anchored text frame support in Xtags, changes the link markers to display as brackets (like in Xcatalog), adds link markers for tagged page items, merges the Pro and non-Pro binaries, adds support for abitrary per-field or all-field WHERE clause prefixes when using ODBC, adds full Unicode support when communicating with FileMaker, and fixes some long-standing bugs.

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Release: InFlow 6/ for InDesign CS4/CS5

These are the release notes for the InFlow 6/7 series.

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Using Xtags with Drupal

Here and here are a couple of articles from the University of Kent CMS blog, providing a brief overview of how they use Xtags to drive printed output in a Drupal environment, and their experience with the process.

An Xtags overview from DPCI

There’s a great article on Xtags here, on the DPCI (Database Publishing Consultants, Inc.) website.

It covers a bit of history, the target audience for Xtags, gives a simple workflow example, and then talks about using the same tags for InDesign as for QuarkXPress, and the issues you might encounter.

Overall, an excellent overview of Xtags!

Fall 2010 newsletter

We’ve just sent our Fall 2010 newsletter with the latest news of InDesign CS5 upgrades for Xtags and EmData.

You can view it online at Em Fall 2010 Newsletter, if you didn’t receive a copy as a customer or subscriber.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for future very occasional news, or, for all your options, visit our information about keeping in touch.

Hyperlink support in Xtags 6/7 for InDesign CS4/CS5

Since we forgot to include documentation for one major new feature in our original release notes for Xtags 6/7 for InDesign CS4/CS5 (now fixed), we thought we should call attention to it separately: Xtags now boasts new tags for hyperlinks, cross-references and text anchors. See the updated release notes.

These tags have long been requested, and we’re glad to finally deliver them with this release. Let us know how they work for you.

Keeping in touch

We’ve fleshed out our support page about “keeping in touch” quite a bit.

We’re trying to make it easy for you to keep up with our progress on the products and on the web site (new and updated tutorials, documentation, etc.) that are coming in the future.

In particular, you can subscribe to our news using RSS (e.g., in a news reader like NetNewsWire or Google Reader), via email, via Twitter updates, and via our very occasional company email newsletter.

We intend to use Twitter both to update you when any new articles appear, and when there are non-trivial changes to the more static parts of the site. And, we’re happy to interact over Twitter for quick back-and-forth kinds of communications.

We’re also going to provide more specific news/email news feeds, for things like following the progress of a single product, or a group of related products.

So, if you’re interested in staying in touch, we urge you to try one of these methods.

And please let us know how we could improve in this effort, via email to Thank you!

InData and Xtags CS5 updates now available

We’re delighted to announce that both InData and Xtags for CS5 (and CS4) are now officially released, and available for download and purchase from their respective product pages:

InData for InDesign CS4/CS5

Xtags for InDesign CS4/CS5

InCatalog for CS5 is coming to life in the labs, but is probably still a couple of weeks away from beta test.

Release: Xtags 6/ for InDesign CS4/CS5

This release of Xtags for InDesign adds support for InDesign CS5 to that for CS4 (dropping support for CS2/CS3), adds tags for hyperlinks, cross-references and text anchors, adds support for Xtags import and export through the standard InDesign place/export dialogs as well as drag’n’drop, for above-line and custom positioning of anchored frames, for anchored frame position locking, and improves missing picture handling.

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Release: InData 6/7.1.6 for InDesign CS4/CS5

This release of InData for InDesign adds support for InDesign CS5 to that for CS4, drops support for CS2/CS3, adds support for Xtags styled text without requiring the Xtags plugin, adds support for inline picture frame tags in Xtags styled text, and allows you to choose which format of styled text you’re using (Xtags or InDesign Tags) on a per-use basis.

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Welcome to our new site!

We’ll be building it out over time with FAQs, tutorials, screen casts, online manuals, new products, etc., but we first had to convert our creaky old site to a new, solid foundation for future expansion.

If you have any questions about or problems with the site, or suggestions for how we might improve it to better serve you, please contact us via email to In particular, we’d love to hear about anything you find confusing or missing.


Release: InCatalog 4/5/ for InDesign CS2/CS3/CS4

These notes cover all the InCatalog 4/5/6 release series.

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