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Creating a print variant of a Digital article in Content Station Aurora - configuration


Creating a print variant of a Digital article in Content Station Aurora - configuration

In a 'digital first' workflow in Content Station, a story is first published to a digital publication channel and later re-used in a print publication.

Because an article for digital output has different requirements than an article for print output (in terms of structure and the content it contains), a variation of the Digital article needs to be created for use in the print workflow.

To make this process work, configuration steps are needed in Enterprise Server.

Before you start

To fully understand the process and why the described configuration steps need to be performed, please first read the concept of creating a print variant of a Digital article.


This feature requires Enterprise Server 10.2.0 or higher to be installed with the InDesign Server Automation Server plug-in implemented. It is assumed here that both are in place and fully working.

Configuration steps

During the process of creating a print variant of a Digital article, a  Print article is created and placed on a layout.

This requires the following configuration tasks:

  • One or more layout templates need to be set up, containing one or more InDesign Articles and various paragraph styles.
  • One or more article templates need to be set up, as a basis to create the Print article with.
  • One or more Conversion Rules need to be set up, each defining the Digital article components from which content should be used in the Print Article and how this content should be styled.
  • It should be determined if components that are not placed should be added to the pasteboard or should be discarded.

Creating layout templates

Using InDesign with Smart Connection installed, create one or more layout templates and save them to the Brand in which the Print article is going to be created.

Make sure that the layout template contains the following:

  • An InDesign Article for each location in which it should be possible to place an article. Do this by following the Adobe instructions for creating an InDesign Article.

Take note of the following:

  • This InDesign Article should contain a text frame for each component that the Print article should have.
  • Apply Element Labels to each frame that correspond to the component names of the Print article. When the article is placed, content of the Digital article components will be placed in the Print article components based on their mapping in the Conversion Rule (see below).
  • Users will choose the article from a list of locations on the layout in which to place the article so make sure to use a descriptive name for the InDesign Article.
  • Paragraph styles for each type of article component. When setting up a Conversion Rule (see below), a paragraph style is associated with a specific mapping between a component of the Digital article and the corresponding component of the Print article. This paragraph style is used for styling the content of the component. Make sure that sufficient paragraph styles are available for styling the content of the article.

Example: Here, a simple InDesign Article has been created containing 3 components: 'head', 'intro' and 'body'. The article has been named 'Article - head, intro, body' for easy reference and multiple paragraph styles have been set up.

Setting up an InDesign Article and paragraph styles

Creating an article template

Create one or more article templates on which the Print article should be based. Do this in the Brand in which print variants are going to be used.

This can typically be done in a layout containing the paragraph styling that you want the Print article to have by converting a single text frame to an article template.

Setting up Conversion Rules

Set up one or more Conversion Rules for each type of InDesign Article that was defined above.

Example: An InDesign Article has been set up containing the components 'Head', 'Subtitle' and 'Body'.

Conversion Rule A is set up with the following mapping:

  • Title -> Head
  • Subtitle-> Subtitle
  • Body -> Body

Conversion Rule B is set up with a different mapping:

  • Hero/Title -> Head
  • Hero/Subtitle-> Subtitle
  • Body -> Body

The same InDesign Article can now be used for placing different Digital articles with different structures.

Similar variants can be created using the same component mapping but using different styling.

Step 1. Access the Component Mapping page of the Content Station Management Console.

A new Conversion Rule

Figure: The Component Mapping page.

Step 2. Create a new Conversion Rule by clicking Create new (or Copy To... to base the new Rule on an existing one).

The Create Conversion Rule window appears.

The Create Conversion Rule window

Step 3. Enter a name and choose an article template that contains the paragraph styles that should be used when mapping the components.

Step 4. Click OK.

The created Rule appears, showing the name at the top of the page and all available components on the page itself.

Step 5. Map each Digital component with a Print component where needed and choose the name of the paragraph style that should be applied.


  • Multiple Digital components can be mapped to the same Print component. When doing so, the content of all these Digital components will be added to the same Print component.
  • All Digital article components can be mapped, with the exception of the following:
  • Separator
  • Embed
  • Container
  • Conversion Rules are static, meaning that when the name of a paragraph style or component is changed, the Conversion Rule needs to be manually updated; this is not done automatically.

Step 6. (Optional) Add advanced options by clicking the Expand icon for the component.

Info: This feature requires Content Station 11.5 or higher.

Advanced Conversion Rule options

Figure: Clicking the Expand/Collapse icon (A) will show/hide the Advanced options (B).

Set any of the following options:

  • Insert text before / Insert text after. Type the text that should be added before or after the text that is in the component when the component is placed on the layout.

Use this to automatically add often occurring text. This way, users do not have to add this themselves, thereby making this process more efficient and less error prone.

Examples: The 'author/name' component can be used as a byline with additional text:

  • Digital component: author/name
  • Mapped with print component: byline
  • Text before: From our correspondent (followed by a space)
  • Result: From our correspondent Rob Smart


  • Digital component: author/name
  • Mapped with Print component: byline
  • Text after: - Enterprise correspondent
  • Result: Rob Smart - Enterprise correspondent
  • Separator. Choose a separator to use for separating multiple Digital components when they are combined into the same Print component.

Note: Components of the same type are combined when the option Allow more than once for that component is disabled.

Options to choose from include a paragraph return and various types of spaces such as em space, thin space, figure space, and so on.

Example: The 'author/name' and 'author/location' components can be used as a byline with additional text (assumed here is that byline components are combined when placed):

  • Digital component: author/name
  • Mapped with print component: byline
  • Text before: From our correspondent (followed by a space)
  • Separator: Paragraph return
  • Digital component: author/location
  • Mapped with Print component: byline


From our correspondent Rob Smart


  • Bold, italic, bold/italic. When text in the component is styled as bold, italic or bold/italic, specify which character style should be used to style this text when the component is placed.


  • The character styles to choose from are those that are available in the Print article template that is selected when the Conversion Rule is created.
  • When not selecting a character style, the font style is used that most closely matches the font style that is available within the font family.

Tip: Use this feature creatively by specifying styles other than just bold, italic or bold/italic to further emphasize the text, for example by (also) specifying underline, text color, text size, and so on.

Handling unplaced components

When a Print article contains more components than the InDesign Article on which it is placed, any components that cannot be matched are handled as follows:

  • When the article is added to an existing layout, the components are discarded
  • When the article is added to a new layout, the components are placed on the pasteboard of the layout

This behavior can be configured with the following options in the config.php file of the Content Station Server plug-in:

When the Print article is added to a new layout:


When the Print article is added to an existing layout:


Document history

  • 7 February 2018: Updated section 'Setting up Conversion Rules' by adding information about setting the Advanced options.
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