5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 9, 2014 8:56 AM by MW Design

    Datamerge for product datasheets


      Hello Everyone,


      I'm working on a automatic merge file for product datasheets.


      It's almost done but I have some problems:


      I have multiply text boxes in one text box, when i re-open my indesign file, all the text boxes are on different places within the text box (see attached)

      Is there a way to fix this?


      And as you can see in the image attached, it's a table but some times the text on the left side is too long, so it goes on 2 text lines.

      But the right text stays on 1 line, that way all the information on the right side will be incorrect.

      Is there a way to make the left and right lines always go together?


      Thank you very much!



        • 1. Re: Datamerge for product datasheets
          MW Design Level 5

          Would you be willing to upload a sample merge and ID file to dropbox.com or similar file sharing site? I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding exactly how the document is constructed. Uploading a sample would simply save a bunch of effort recreating what you have and ensure we would be looking at the same construction.


          You don't mention which version of ID you are using. I think my trial for CC2014 has expired as of today, so you may need to upload an IDML for CS6, for my help in any case.


          Take care, Mike

          • 2. Re: Datamerge for product datasheets
            RubiiTeesing Level 1

            Hello Mike, Thank you for your comment. In this link you will find the test file http://ge.tt/5hxv1z02/v/0 I've worked with paragraph styles to make it look like it's a table. Ps. The data starts on page 30

            • 3. Re: Datamerge for product datasheets
              MW Design Level 5

              A couple things. While I could make your document work, the data file really needs to be altered.


              Merge files are designed to be one record per row. From a design/logical perspective, it is also best if the first row are column labels for the data as the labels themselves can be much shorter than the data in general.


              The data fields in the darker blue would typically be static text, but wouldn't need to be. But that data would then also need a column heading in the data file.


              Actual tables would be best if you need a certain width to this. I had to widen the main text frame and the inner frames so the data could fit. A table resolves this issue and keeps the data aligned. I also unchecked the remove blank lines else data would end up in the wrong place.


              Because of the data file itself, you are generating a whole lot of merge pages unnecessarily.


              Here's a link to a modified file. Open it (and update the link to the data file). The name has been changed (-modified added) so it should be able to reside in the same folder. But if not, make sure to copy the data file into its folder or navigate to your data file.


              Dropbox - RubiiTeesing.zip


              I really encourage you to rework the data file.


              Take care, Mike

              • 4. Re: Datamerge for product datasheets
                RubiiTeesing Level 1

                Thank you Mike,

                We have a template for our datasheets, which unfortunately can't be changed in width.
                Keeping the empty left field can't be done either because there are some sheets where we have a very long list of data. (Image)


                Making a table could be an option if it can delete empty rows automatically.
                I do agree that the top row should have a shorter name.. but that is up to my colleague that does our data entry.

                • 5. Re: Datamerge for product datasheets
                  MW Design Level 5

                  Your colleague who does the data entry needs to understand what is required for a merge. There really can be only one record per row for this all to work as needed. So all labels (the left-hand column) need to be (logically) followed by their values (the right-hand column). The column headings should be named to reflect this.


                  There should be no static text for values in the template as the version I downloaded has--unless every record will always have the same data above and between those values else the remove blanks lines will always fail to move the static data values up properly.


                  The data file's header (first row) should have all the fields required. Then the records below the header (the individual records) would only have data that pertains to each column heading. In this way each template (I assume you will have many templates for the various lines y'all have) can utilize the removal of blank lines appropriately.


                  I also note you have used QuarkXpress in the past...form looking at some of the PDFs on the web site. Did you use data merge utilizing XML in the past? A plug-in for CSV/Tab delimited files?


                  Also. Is this a data all held in a single spreadsheet for all the product categories? Or are y'all using a database? If it is all in a spreadsheet, I would encourage y'all to use a database and create view filters/expressions to limit the data export to a single product line, then build the templates from it. I have done a lot of data sheets over the years and cannot fathom not using a database for filtering and exporting the data. Excel or another spreadsheet application can be good for single product lines, but it increases the number of spreadsheets needed as they can get too large and including fields for a single product line for a template can get unwieldy unless there is a column for the product line where one can sort to have each product line all together, those fields copied to a new sheet and then exported.


                  Anyway, those are just some questions and thoughts.


                  Take care, Mike