10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 2, 2011 3:15 PM by John Hawkinson

    Data Merge and Master Pages

    amyjenc1 Level 1

      Hello,

       

      I am working of a document that is a whopping 4 (unfacing) pages long, but will be personalized to 86 locations. Each page has different information. I can figure out the 86 variations and their linking information, that's not a problem. But my trouble is that I need to have the information updateable for 12 months. I am trying fo find a way to use multiple master pages or something and use data merge for updates for each month. I know that we can't use updateable information seperate from a master page, and that you can't have more then one master page. Is there a way to trick InDesign into making a larger master page and I can just move the information around, this way I can have all of my information for the month and it be updateable?

       

      Or is there a plug-in that lests me use multiple master pages with datamerge? (that would be a miricle!)

       

      I know it's a lot to ask for, but this was the only usable solution that didn't involve Word Processor and Access. (gag me...word.)

       

      Simply I need 4 pages of different data that I can update easily every month, for 12 months, for 86 variations.

       

      I know you lot are up for the challange. I would provide a screen shot but the information is confidential...sorry.

       

      Thanks,

       

      Amyjenc1

        • 1. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
          Daniel Flavin Level 4

          Spell this out for me, yes or no.

          You have a 4 page document with 86 records? (No problem)

           

          Will the 86 records change monthly?

          Or will the 4 pages change monthly?

          • 2. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
            Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

            I am trying fo find a way to use multiple master pages or something and use data merge for updates for each month. I know that we can't use updateable information seperate from a master page, and that you can't have more then one master page.

            I disagree with not being able to have more than one master page while using Data Merge. I've just tried to replicate this and couldn't. I created a 4pp facing pages file an then made four different master pages, each with a different coloured rectangle on each master to tell them apart. I then assigned master A to p1, master B to p2, master C to p3, master D to p4. I then selected a data source using the data merge panel. the data (which had four fields) was then placed with one field per page and then exported to PDF using the "create merged PDF" feature from the data merge flyout. Worked fine here on CS5/Mac.

             

            or have i simply misunderstood the request by the OP?

             

            i'd like to help, but to me the OP's request seems quite do-able and I can't work out what the frustration is. can the OP please be a little more specifc about the project? is the document a newsletter, a statement, direct mailer or something else? what changes in the 86 variations - an address, a name, dollar figures? is the OP preparing the merge exclusively within the master pages OR making master pages and then placing the data within the actual document pages?

             

            I've written a lot of articles on data merge on a blog of mine that might help. Google "colecandoo" and have a read of the VDP articles.

            • 3. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              Flash,

               

              In order to be able to update the data source, your placeholder fields need to be on the master page. Though I haven't tried it, I'm pretty sure it is correct that you can only have one master in that situation. I know for sure you can have only one page and one master when you are merging multiple records per page.

              • 4. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
                amyjenc1 Level 1

                Will the 86 records change monthly? Yes

                Or will the 4 pages change monthly? Yes

                 

                It will be 86 seperate documents eventually, but I'll just save the final out 86 times and update each one as needed

                Ignore the 86 files, I think that may be unessesary information.

                 

                But all I need is to data merge between one excel file and one InDesign file that has 4 pages, each with differnent information that will need to be updated monthly.

                 

                Does that help?

                • 5. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
                  amyjenc1 Level 1

                  Hi Peter,

                   

                  Yes you are correct you can only use one master page in datamerge at a time to have editable information.

                   

                  I was hoping there was some sort of plug-in or a work around I might try. My department is trying to find a efficient solution to ditrubuting a large amount of information. Like I just metioned all I need to do is data merge between one excel file and one InDesign file that has 4 pages, each with different information that will need to be updated monthly.

                   

                  In theory it should be simple, but in program script...it's not.

                   

                  Amyjenc1

                  • 6. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
                    Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

                    i stand by my comment. the OP is doing one set of records per 4pp; not 4 records on one page, like a set of imposed business cards - in that situation i'd agree, but that is not what the OP is doing.

                     

                    i've attached a screengrab doing exactly what i stated in my previous post.

                    proofofprinciple.png

                     

                     

                    i've also created a link to a PDF made from the merge, and attached the indesign file and spreadsheet i used to make it within the PDF. it can be found at http://colecandoo.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/manypagemerge.pdf.

                     

                    in terms of saving out the final file 86 times, there are two easier ways:

                     

                    1) merge to one massive indesign file and then use the Page Export Utility written by scott zanelli. the indesignsecrets.com website has more details; or

                    2) if merging to an indesign file, make sure the appropriate checkbox is ticked during the merge (will prepare individual indesign files during the merge)

                    oneatatime.png

                    curiously, this does NOT work when exporting to PDF via the data merge panel... only when exporting indesign files.

                    • 7. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
                      amyjenc1 Level 1

                      Flash, I did not explain it well enough.

                       

                      I have 4 pages, different sets of data for each one. All of this is housed in one monthly changing excel file. (There are 86 excel files, one for a different county.)

                       

                      for example:

                      Page 1: Lists of numbers and a Month header

                       

                      Page 2: Names and Bios

                       

                      Page 3: An excel linked graph

                       

                      Page 4: A chart of city names

                       

                       

                       

                      My coworker and I have a found a solution, I will share it.

                       

                      Make a Book.

                       

                      This solves the issue of not being able to use more then one master page for different sets of information. Each page has it's own document (and masterpage), the book feature merely compiles them. I can update each page every month and export it out as a final 4 page document using the book function. I will have to spend a full day each month updateing all 86 4-page documents, but this is so much faster then how we started out. A week or more per month was not going to be sutible. A day...that we can handle.

                       

                       

                      Thank you all for your help, this seems to work best from any of the other things I have tried. Pass it along to others. It has saved us loads of time and we don't have to use Word!! Granted this works best for short documents or only a few changing pages for a 20 page document.

                       

                      It's still cumbersome, and I wish I could just use more then one master page, but whatever. It works, and it's efficient enough. I have not assembled the whole thing, but I will let you know my final solution and findings.

                       

                      Thanks!!

                       

                      Amyjenc1

                      • 8. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
                        amyjenc1 Level 1

                        I still debating wether or not to do the graphs in InDesign or just link them in. Can you Datamerge into a InDesign graph?

                        • 9. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
                          Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

                          data merge indesign graphs? not natively using an "out of the box" solution. go to my blog (i gave directions in earlier posts) and look for the VDP tab (variable data printing). i've devised ways to make bar graphs and piecharts using variable data, but they're as complicated as can be and probably nothing compared to the original project.

                           

                          otherwise, excel does charts well itself.

                          • 10. Re: Data Merge and Master Pages
                            John Hawkinson Level 5

                            Into a graph? InDesign doesn't have graphs. It has graphics (Illustrator has graphs). You can data merge and entire image, if that is the question?