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Limitaions of Data Merge?

May 15, 2013 2:23 AM

OS 10.8.3 - CS5

 

I have been using Data Merge for simple tasks, but now I have run into problems.

 

I have about 100 records and about 22 colums for each.

I try to create single page of each post.

 

The labels come in fine in Data Merge Window, but as I try to Create a merged document I get the message:

 

"There is at least one data placeholder that cannot be found in the data source. Make sure all the placeholders correspond to the fields in the data source."

 

And the placeholders do correspont to the fields.

 

The content in each record consists of running text of about 1000 characters - is this no go?

 

br

Nina Storm

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2013 2:35 AM   in reply to Nina_Storm

    Sound like you have the blank Data field in the Source file.

     
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    May 15, 2013 4:49 AM   in reply to Nina_Storm

    What I mostly do, if I get this kind of message, is opening the TXT file in Excel and save it again, sometimes this helps. Other option is copy and paste the Excel data in a new file.

     
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    May 15, 2013 5:41 AM   in reply to Nina_Storm

    @Nina – did you update the Source file? And if so, did the names of the placeholders change?
    Are the names of the labels unique?

     

    Uwe

     
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    May 15, 2013 6:10 AM   in reply to Nina_Storm

    There could be a limitation, because the text is several lines long? I would have to see the file to be certain.

    That is one of the reasons we use HP Smartstream, a more sophisticated plugin for datamerge and inposition.

    Perhaps you could send the file through a PM, so I can look at it.

     
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    May 15, 2013 6:40 AM   in reply to Nina_Storm

    Does your running text have line breaks? Data merge cannot handle line breaks within a field, but the result is usually scrambled output, though it might well generate the error that you have a field with no heading in the data file.

     
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    May 15, 2013 7:20 AM   in reply to Nina_Storm

    XML might be a solution. Without a copy of your data file (the Excel file) I wouldn't be certain if it would work for you. Excel creates pretty unnecessary garbage in its XML, but using an XSLT transform, it can be cleaned-up for import to ID.

     

    If you would like me to try, upload the file to dropbox.com and PM me a link.

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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    May 15, 2013 7:54 AM   in reply to Nina_Storm

    When I have data file with linebreaks I substitute some otherwise unused character or character combo as a tag and run find/change after the merge to change the codes to the breaks. But that doesn't solve the 1500 character problem. I typically work in Excel, and I find it truncates long blocks when saving as .csv or .txt, but I don't think there's any reason you cannot have as many characters as you like if you are working directly in a text editor.

     

    That said, Data Merge is not terribly sophisticated. It's really meant for things like address labels, and more complex documents would probably do better with xml or one of the commercial catalog plugins.

     
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    May 15, 2013 8:09 AM   in reply to Nina_Storm

    Here is a screen shot of a dummy spreadsheet (quickly done) and converted to XML. Three columns, third column has paragraphs with line breaks. Styles set up in ID and so the formatting with the styles mapped turned out like...

     

    capture-000298.png

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2013 9:36 AM   in reply to MW Design

    I agree with MikeWenzloff that XML would be a more appropriate solution for this task.

     

    Data Merge is great for business cards, direct mail items... simple stuff... but for instances where line breaks have to be preserved and there's lots of data... XML is the go. The learning curve is really steep though and there are few resources on the issue. Best one is this book by Jim Maivald: http://www.amazon.com/Designers-Guide-Adobe-InDesign-XML/dp/0321503554

     

    Just as a declaration, I recommend the book as a resource and have no commercial interest in it at all.

     
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