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For all of my editing work I'm currently using Microsoft Word. But I've heard a bit about Adobe's InCopy being good for editing and publishing. Is it really better? What makes it better than Word?

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Oh, I remember asking this question! I had meant to dig out some of the old proposal questions myself, +1. –  Charles Stewart Apr 13 '11 at 10:09

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I think to some extent the question is moot. I don't think it really matters what software is BETTER (and you can get into endless debates about that from proponents of all different products), it matters what's Industry Standard. And MS Word is still absolutely the industry standard, in my experience. All serious writers have and use MS Word, all serious editors have and use MS Word, etc.

I just checked the price for InCopy, and it looks like it costs about $250. If you want to use it yourself, for in-house work, I think it might be an interesting experiment, but I don't think it's realistic to expect everyone you work with to buy their own copy, at that price. Not when everybody's already paid for their copies of MS Word.

ETA: As a writer, I'd be unimpressed if my editor expected me to not only buy, but also spend the time learning to use a brand new piece of software. I want to WRITE, not play around with my computer.

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As a writer who doesn't own a copy of Word, I'd be unimpressed if my editor insisted I use Word, actually. –  staticsan Mar 18 '11 at 1:34
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What software do you use, when you're sending your MS back and forth with your editor? I tried using Open Office, but I found that the 'show changes' feature didn't work nearly as smoothly. I used part of my first advance to buy Word - absolutely worth it, for the convenience. –  Kate Sherwood Mar 18 '11 at 1:40
    
Haven't crossed that bridge, yet, I have to admit. I'll have to just see what happens. –  staticsan Mar 20 '11 at 23:18

AFAICS, Incopy is almost only used in the production of periodicals for whom the workflows and editing interface is tailored. For this situation it is ideal, allowing assignment of responsibilities at the editing stage, version management, separation of content from layout, and concurrent proofing of texts at the typesetting stage in a typesetter-friendly manner.

It is entirely unreasonable to impose the requirement of working with Incopy on a non-employee, and I have never heard of anyone being asked to. So the answer is no, Word is better.

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This is a matter where the software quality is not the issue. Instead there are two questions: what your writers have and use, and which features you use for editing.

Depending on your answer to the second question, the first issue may be relatively minor. I use Word for all my editing for the simple reason that its revision marking features and comments are the best I've encountered... and most of my authors have it. The articles I assign have little in the way of formatting, other that italics and bullets; all the formatting comes from the Web content management system. So the "word processing" features are not stressed at all.

As a result, most of my writers can do their editing in the Author Review in Open Office or most tools that import and export RTF... if they don't already have Word. And most of them DO have Word.

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