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Data Merge (ID) then Split Documents with Filename

Jan 2, 2013 8:23 AM

Tags: #acrobat #export #data_merge

Hey everyone,


I'm using InDesign and Data Merge to create business cards for our printer, but we of course have the recepients proof them first.


I was wondering if there was a way where after the Data Merge, I could separate every 2 pages into their own PDF (front and back of card).


Even more awesome would be if the PDF filename could be "<<FirstName>><<LastName>>-BC-proof.pdf"



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2013 2:48 PM   in reply to wflex

    This needs to be posted in the InDesign forums.

    This will produce two page files - From InDesign's Data Merge panel, Option tab, set the Record Limit Per Document to 2.


    This seems to available for both Export to PDF and Create new Document merge.


    The hurdle is naming the files. I have done more than a few of these and cannot give a simple solution. I have pondered the idea, and my method would invlove something such as...

    If the name is contained in the first text frame, or the first instance of a Character or Paragraph Style you might create an InDesign Script which looks for that instance. The script would pick up the seleted found name and rename with that.

    The hurdles are - Creating a Script. ID's scripting is full featured, but beyond my means to dig into. The ID Scripting forum would be the place to ask.

    ID will the name as <<first>> <<last>> and you might want the file as <<last>> <<first>>  and you possibly have an initial before first and last. (A script might be written to ignore any single character or character followed by a . )


    The string of -COE_BC_PROOF could easily be included.


    My method, and this works better on a PC then a Mac, would be to create the merged file.

    I double click the last name to highlight - ctrl+c to copy - ctrl+e to export - type the page range in the pdf export dialog -

    shft+ctrl+left arrow to highlight the last word of the last export -

    ctrl+v to paste the name in the Save dialog - hit enter, repeat as needed. It goes quickly, my hands move very little.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 6:37 AM   in reply to Daniel Flavin

    Is there anyway to create bookmarks from InDesign with the designated Paragraph Style. Then in Acrobat you could use the Split command to split at top level bookmarks using the bookmark as the filename.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2013 11:04 PM   in reply to LoriAUC

    this thread is active elsewhere:


    as I said in that thread, try this link for a script that should do what the OP is after


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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 30, 2013 1:31 AM   in reply to cdflash

    As far as I can tell, the best solution to this (for reasonably small files) is the script on this page:





    Edit: One big problem on testing - it's absurdly slow for even medium to large files. My document has under 600 records, creating PDFs with just 2 pages each coming in at around 0.7mbs each, yet it takes many many minutes per record. I left it running overnight, on a modern Mac Pro with 6gbs RAM, 2x 2.4 GHz, and coming in the following morning, having left it running for about 14 hours, it's only managed to do 95 of the 600 or so records. Not good!




    It lets you export chunks of an InDesign file to PDF and set up a naming schema for each one, based on the contents of a paragraph style, character style, GREP etc. So you create a merged INDD, then chop it up into seperate PDFs with this script.


    There's one major flaw with it, which is that the inbuilt option for multiple-page PDFs unavoidably adds ugly page numbers to the PDF name, e.g. "John Smith p23_to_p25.pdf" which, if the goal is to create PDFs to send by email or as downloads, looks really bad.


    A workaround for this is to include a hidden text box with your chosen characer/paragraph style and the same Data Merge token on every page, then tick the "Group" option. A bit hacky, but it works.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 30, 2013 10:38 AM   in reply to alanomaly

    I eventually decided that the above script was just too clunky and slow.


    Instead I improved a script on another thread and posted it as a comment -


    That script is massively faster - whereas the one above failed to reach 20% even after being left to run overnight, the new script at that link completed all records in less than a minute.


    It's an Acrobat script to run on a data merged PDF rather than an InDesign script. In my opinion that's also an improvement - in my experience, data-merging PDFs seems to be faster and more reliable than creating indesign files.

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