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Database Publishing

Aug 27, 2013 1:14 AM

I want to produce a small campsite guide. I have the details of around 500 campsites in a database, about 20 pieces of information per campsite including photos and icons to represent whether the campsite accepts dogs, or has a pool etc.


What is the simplest way to publish this info to Indesign CC. Manually adding it all seems a bit daunting.  Thanks in anticipation.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2013 1:26 AM   in reply to funster1

    There are a few ways. It could be that you could get something to work

    with InDesign built-in data merge (it can add images), but it's got very

    basic functionality, so that's unlikely. Still, worth investigating

    first, perhaps. It may do the trick.


    The other options are to use a script: there are a number of commercial

    scripts available (don't have the names off-hand), or you comission (or

    write yourself) a custom script to pull the info from the database and

    create the InDesign pages that way.


    The most sophisticated way, is perhaps, to build IDML outside of

    InDesign which you can then open in InDesign. The advantages there are

    that you can use the programming environment of your choice to access

    your database and create the IDML files. Some languages have very

    powerful database features (the .NET LINQ library, for instance). The

    other advantage would be speed -- your can create your IDML files very

    quickly. However, this is probably the most complex way, initially, of

    doing this, unless you anticipate having to regenerate the catalogue

    with different data every month or so.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2013 6:27 AM   in reply to funster1

    You can use the simple datamerge as suggested. What you will need to do is to make sure the frame that contains all the fields that will be repeated is large enough for the record that is the largest one.


    Then, when all done with the merge, you can (and likely should) stitch all the record frames together so it is one continuous story. There is a free script to do this with here:



    This way the merged document is more flexible in the sense of removing extra lines, snugging records that have various amounts of data up to each other, etc., without having to deal with, in your case, 500 individual frames.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 1, 2013 5:58 AM   in reply to MW Design

    French scripter Loic Aigon has a few articles on his blog that are food for thought.


    The first article is whether to use an XML based approach as opposed to data merge. XML to InDesign publishing works but there are few resources around and the learning curve is steep, but the rewards are worth it. See his article here: erge/


    Otherwise, he provides a script that removes the need to stitch all stories together after a merge as explained by MW design. cript/


    It is also worth noting that textstitch has a free alternative produced by ajar productions: for-adobe-indesign/


    If I was standing in the OPs place and given this task, I would explore the possibility of an XML solution (given the ability to change the database year to year). Best resource i've found is a book by James Maivald on the topic:


    Ultimately, we need to know what file format the database is. Is this an off the shelf spreadsheet such as excel or access; or custom software? What are the export facilities of the database - is it txt/csv only, or is xml export possible?

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 20, 2013 8:29 AM   in reply to funster1

    are you still facing the problem? are you sure do you **need** a **database**?

    we are fond of both camping and database publishing

    we could try to help

    for free :-) it looks like really basic stuff for us


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