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PhilllAU
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Data merging one off elements

Jun 24, 2013 4:58 PM

Tags: #data #indesign #merge #layout #repeating #datamerge

Hello. I've been trying to figure out a way I can solve the following problem, but I'm not that proficient with iD yet. I have the following layout structure:

 

Big title

 

Small title

Copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy

 

Chapter 1: Something

Copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy

 

Chapter 2: Something else

Copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy

 

This needs to repeat... but not always in the same way. For example; I might not have another 'big title' each time. Now I can find a way to repeat the chapters as they're always the same, but how do you do titles in between these repeating regions where another big or small title is needed?

 

Thanks

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 24, 2013 5:23 PM   in reply to PhilllAU

    I'm afraid I don't understand what this has to with Data Merge?

     

    All I see here is pretty straight-forward placing of text using paragraph styles.

     
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    Jun 24, 2013 6:14 PM   in reply to PhilllAU

    I don't think you can get there from here (so to speak).

     

    It is difficult for me to conceptualize the CSV file structure. It is easier for me to "see" the XML structure working.

     

    Who is producing the source file? Is it in Excel or another spreadsheet application or a database already?

     

    Mike

     
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    Jun 24, 2013 6:23 PM   in reply to PhilllAU

    If you can make a spreadsheet, it can work as an XML file. But your clients would need to be very, very careful about what cells got what data. I can see nothing but trouble with a spreadsheet and not having any control over how they input data. Which would mean a lot of post-processing on your part.

     

    You can do this in Access or another database application. But then they too need that application. Then an ID template file could be used to import the XML output from the database that has the tags set up and mapped to styles and that would accomplish what you are doing (I think).

     

    If you want, give me a couple minutes and I'll upload something using your sample text above. Let me know.

     

    Mike

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 24, 2013 6:44 PM   in reply to PhilllAU

    Headed for dinner. I'll check back later.

     

    Open the ID file. Use the File | Import XML menu command. Should import into the frame on the page and be formatted.

     

    http://www.wenzloffandsons.com/temp/PhilllAU.zip

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 24, 2013 11:12 PM   in reply to PhilllAU

    I uploaded another ZIP file. I think it would be an easier workflow for your clients.

     

    The ZIP contains an Excel file just in case you want to see how it would need to be formatted. But it also contains a Word file.

     

    In the word file, there is your sample data I altered for the previous XML ZIP archive. In the Word file, I removed all the non-used paragraph styles. They should map to ID's styles from the previous archive file.

     

    Just start a new ID file. Load the styles from the ID file for the XML example. Place the Word file--but make sure you show the import options. Make them appear like the screen shot:

     

    capture-000373.png

    You should end up in the same place as with the XML import.

     

    I think giving your clients a Word document with limited styles would be far easier for them. The net result is the same.

     

    I would only go the XML route if you are using a database or there is some other reason unclear from what has been presented.

     

    http://www.wenzloffandsons.com/temp/PhilllAU-2.zip

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 25, 2013 5:32 AM   in reply to PhilllAU

    In all honesty, I don't see why you want to use either Data Merge OR XML. This is the kind of text that looks like your users would do in a word processor, and I suspect that a Word file could be placed and processed using a battery of scripts on your end without the need for the client to be "expert" in anything at all.

     
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    Jun 25, 2013 3:41 PM   in reply to PhilllAU

    You're right. Those things belong in your ID template into which you flow the word files....

     
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    Jun 25, 2013 4:02 PM   in reply to PhilllAU

    The most common method of setting text is to create a document, then "Place" an external text file, either retaining embedded styles, discarding styles, or mapping embedded styles to new styles in the InDesign document. The next most common method is probably typing directly into a text frame, and then copy-paste from a text or word processor file.

     

    Data Merge is a very specialized, and primitive method for getting structured data into a document from an external file. It works great for things like address labels and directories, even corporate business cards where the format stays the same, but the names change.

     

    XML is much more sophisticated and is commonly used for automated book production, among other things, and could well be what you need if your writers are filling out some sort of form, but if they are presenting less structured writing I think you may be barking up the wrong tree. XML needs to be very carefully structured to work. It's not the kind of thing that your average office worker, college professor or wannabe author has mastered.

     

    I don't reallyunderstand waht your goal is here, or where the data or external information comes from so I could be way off-base. I suspect if this is some sort of large enterprise type of operation that InDesign Server, along with a bunch of scripts to process the incoming text, would be worth investigating.

     

    If you don't have a basic understanding of templates and the ID workflow, I think you should consider doing a bit of studying. Sandee Cohen's Visual Quickstart Giude to InDesing is an excellent place to start,

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 25, 2013 8:10 PM   in reply to PhilllAU

    Yes, but there will still be scripting, Find/Replace and or grep styles involved. Plus some manual tweaking.

     

    capture-000381.png

     

    Mike

     
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