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Data Merge Image Paths

Mar 23, 2011 8:26 AM

I'm using CS5 on Mac OS 10.5 and 10.6 at work (I'm at home now, so I can't be more specific at the moment), and experimenting with Data Merge. I place an image, and use the "copy full path" feature in the links manager and paste it into my spreadsheet. When I do the actual merge, it works (the image is imported with the merge) if the path leads to a folder on my hard drive, but not if the path leads to an external drive.

 

Does anyone know if the path that the links manager creates is the wrong syntax for using data merge? If so, is there some place where I can read the "rules" of how the text string should look?

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2011 9:10 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    I don't know that I've ever seen the syntax defined. However, as a workaround, why don't you put the images on your hard drive, and use Data Merge to create the InDesign file. Then use the Links panel in InDesign to relink the images to those on your hard drive.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2011 9:19 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    Here is the syntax as defined in InDesign Help:

     

    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/indesign/cs/using/WSa285fff53dea4f86173837 51001ea8cb3f-6c3ca.html

     

    Click on the Add image fields to the data source file link.

     

    If it's not working for an external drive, it could unfortunately be a bug.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2011 9:32 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    I think this is probably a drive mapping issue, and ID is fussy about paths. Select a file onthe external drive and see what the path is on the second machine, then do a find/change on the text file to fix the path statements and save a second copy so you can use one for each machine.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2011 9:38 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    I found this old thread pertaining to CS3, but the limitation may still hold today:

     

    http://forums.adobe.com/thread/331247

     

    It suggests the InDesign file, the Excel file and the images all need to be on the same drive.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2011 9:48 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    What does the path in a single line look like in the text file now?

     

    If you manually place that image on the second machine, and copy the path to the clipbaord, what do you see? Are they identical?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2011 10:04 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    You've confused me. What's on the USB drive, the images, or the text file? Is the path in the text file referring to the hard drive of the machine into which it's been plugged?

     

    I think Macs do some strange addressing stuff with USB, but I'm a PC guy.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2011 4:56 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    Can you give the external drive a name? I don't know if that would help. It may also matter which USB port it plugs into.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2011 6:50 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    I'm about out of ideas. As I mentioned earlier, I'm a PC guy. I do know that 10.5 was flaky about recognizing usb drives. My daughter has an old G4 MacBook Pro that got upgraded to Leopard by Apple when they replaced a bad hard drive. It never read a flash drive again, and searching Google revealed this to be a pretty common problem. Not sure about the external hard drive she uses for backup.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2011 5:12 PM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    Two things to possibly consider:

    – spaces in filename. Can be problematic with csv files

    – file system of the hard drive. Possible issue if accessing NTFS drive? NTFS3G may help

     

    Does it work with USB drive connected to your computer? (beware potential for data loss with cross-platform drives)

     
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  • John Hawkinson
    5,572 posts
    Jun 25, 2009
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    Mar 24, 2011 6:26 PM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    Wow, I'm a little bit late to the party, but it looks to me like we're missing some information here.

    What's the exact path you are using in the spreadsheet?

     

    On a Mac, there are (at least) 2 kinds of paths: the colon path and the unix (slashes) path. They are not the same. InDesign wants the colon path in the Spreadsheet according to the documentation, but appears to be giving you the unix path, and maybe that sometimes works.

     

    Generally speaking they are quite similar. The colon path starts with the name of the drive and then directory names with sepeators. The unix path does not.

     

    So, for your USB drive, the colon path should be: "USB_External:Archives:2s:204983:Links:204983 SS Pkt Tees.tif".

    Please note that for the desktop folder, etc, the colon path is different -- it needs your hard drive name in it. Stuff like: "Macintosh HD:Users:carol:Desktop:Links:204983 SS Pkt Tees.tif"

     

    At this point, I speculate that unix paths work fine when they can be converted to colon paths by prefixing "Macintosh HD:" and changing the slashes to colons. But that's not how it works for external volumes.

     

    I sincerely doubt that spaces in the filename are the problem, but that's easy enough to test.

     
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  • John Hawkinson
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    Jun 25, 2009
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    Mar 30, 2011 12:49 AM   in reply to John Hawkinson

    Hi, Michael. Did my suggestion work?    


     
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  • John Hawkinson
    5,572 posts
    Jun 25, 2009
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    Mar 30, 2011 7:32 AM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    Oh right, two addenda:

     

    1) I guess the preferred term is POSIX Path, not "unix path." Sorry about that.

    2) You should be able to work around this problem with a symbolic link. But try my solution first...symlinks are kind of confusing and you'll need to create them by hand in the Terminal.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 29, 2011 2:03 PM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    Hi Michael.

    I am having this issue also.

    I work at a corporation that houses all of our assets on our "Creative" server. (so, local paths are out of the question as this workflow needs to be available to any workstation).

    I have found that images will only import IF the .csv file resides in the same folder as the images. Of course, we have the images spread across many folders, so this quickly breaks down. The InDesign file, itself, does not seem to matter where it resides.

    It seems that the only solution will be to create a separate folder holding all of the images. This will necessitate having a duplicate set of images on our server which, in a corporate setting, is a horrible solution. There should only be one version of each image.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 29, 2011 2:16 PM   in reply to rudy713

    This is totally off the wall, but what happens if you put a folder with aliases to the real images in the same folder with the .csv?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 29, 2011 4:23 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    That is actually worth a shot. Very good. Thanks Peter. I will let you know what happens.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 29, 2011 4:37 PM   in reply to rudy713

    Aside from the path issue, if you're accessing images, text files and data from spreadsheets (11 folders, IIRC), you may want to look into dedicated data merge plug-ins from woodwing or em software.

     
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  • John Hawkinson
    5,572 posts
    Jun 25, 2009
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    Apr 29, 2011 7:18 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    This is totally off the wall, but what happens if you put a folder with aliases to the real images in the same folder with the .csv?

    I don't know why you think it's totally off the wall! It seems totally reasonable.

     

    I'd love to hear if anyone tried my suggestions earlier in the thread and whether they worked...or more details from the recent posters on exactly what paths they are trying that fail...

     

    Symbolic links should certainly work. Whether aliases will work will depend on how InDesign reads the files...under Mac OS X, aliases are special files whose contents tells the reader what file to read instead. Whereas symbolic links are inplemented in the file system. So symlinks should always work without application support. Aliases not so much...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 30, 2011 3:08 AM   in reply to John Hawkinson

    For reasons unrelated to how effective DataMerge is or is not, I decided that it wouldn't really work for the project I was doing, so I haven't been experimenting with it for a while, but I got some free time tonight and thought I'd update you all.

     

    I changed from using Links Manager>Copy Info>Copy Full Path to Links Manager>Copy Info>Copy Platform Style Path, and was able to gather images from my local drive, a network drive, and an external USB drive without any trouble. I'm not sure why I either didn't try it before, or maybe I did, but made a mistake. Either way, the trouble I was having that inspired me to start this thread is solved for me. Maybe anyone else trying should give Copy Platform Style Path a try and see if it works for you.

     

    I still don't know how to delete the placeholders that are generated by DataMerge when encountering an empty field. They don't effect the layout or printing, but sometimes if you click in the text and select via shift and the arrow key (counting the characters as you go), you might select one of these placeholders instead of the character you really wanted, and that will throw you off. Also, I like to keep a clean layout, and something that doesn't do anything—regardless of how innocuous it is otherwise—is something I'd rather do without.

     

    Anyway, cheers.

     

    P.S., I couldn't remember my current log-in, but did remember a really old one, so I just wanted to clear up that I'm really Michael Gianino and not some other poster. You can call me Mig if you like (most do).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2011 5:51 AM   in reply to Migintosh

    Thanks for this. You know, I tried the "platform style" before and it did not work. Upon reading your posting this morning, I decided to try it again. Guess what? It worked. I must have been doing something else wrong before when I tried it. It is all good now. Thanks so much Michael. Call this one "solved" for me! -Rudy

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 22, 2013 5:40 PM   in reply to Migintosh

    Glad I found this post - it's been rather informative. Here's hoping you and others take a look at this post again.

     

    I'm doing a very similar project and have the same trouble with file paths using various files on a network drive. I did try the Copy Platform Style Path, and pasted that into my csv file, but it didn't seem to work with DataMerge ("...one or more missing images..."). You and Rudy both say you tried it once with no luck and then it randomly worked the next time. Were there any changes to your files or their locations to make it work?

     

    My template indd file and csv file are on the same network drive as all the images I'll be linking, so it seems odd to still have issues with file paths.

     

    I'm on OS 10.5.8, using CS4.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2013 11:43 AM   in reply to Amy Schultz

    Amy,

       For Network Data Merges, use Links Manager>Copy Info>Copy Full Path and replace the forward slashes "/" with colons ":". Remove the first forward slash before "Volumes".

     

    For example, I was testing images located on a network drive "/Volumes/Data/Temp JUNK FILES/Pics/black.jpg". This was the path that was given to me via "Copy Full Path". Changing the file path to "Volumes:Data:Temp JUNK FILES:Pics:black.jpg" worked perfectly and all of the images came through via the Data Merge.

     

    This should also work for external drives (USB/Firewire/etc) because Mac OS X mounts drives through "/Volumes" as a system path (Unix).

     

    -matt

     
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