2 Replies Latest reply on Jan 17, 2013 3:49 AM by -hans-

    Is it possible to automate/script this catalogue ? — please help!




      I was researching a lot already...

      but still cannot answer the simple question whether or not it is possible, what I want to accomplish here

      Oook, please have a look at it and let me know if its possible and if so, which route would be wise to take..



      There are two slightly different types of catalogues.



      TYPE A


      products are more or less randomly placed on the spread, each one has its related text frame (ItemNumber, Name, Description, Price)

      This catalogue type would only have 3 double spreads like the one below.

      The text is provided in an Excel spreadsheet and changes throughout the process






      TYPE B


      similar arrangement of products, but up to 50 pages.

      Also the product description is at the bottom of each page for each group of products on that page. and as you can see its quite heavily formatted and has a few en's and em's as well


      so, only the positionNumber and the price is placed next to the products. the bottom text comes originally in an excel spreadsheet as well

      (would be nice if that additional price could also update with changes in the excel document)



      Screen shot 2013-01-16 at 14.33.34.png


      I was also testing trial versions of Indesign Plugins like InCatalog or InData..

      probably too stupid to get them to work, or maybe I need custom scripting — would, in that case, javascript be a good idea?


      I would tremendously appriciate if you could point me in the right direction or help me break it down in pseudocode or sthg..

      couldnt find any other project similar to this one, but maybe you do know one


      THX in advance!!

        • 1. Re: Is it possible to automate/script this catalogue ? — please help!
          Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

          Data Merge, third party plug-ins and XML all need some kind of structure to a document before anything can really be automated. The samples, while they have a content structure (that is, a picture has a description, price and name) it doesn't have a predetermined position on the page. 


          Assuming the excel file also has the picture name in one of the fields, data merge could be used to call in all the data and merged via multiple record layout into a new indesign file, but it wouldn't appear as the final layouts above... instead the file would appear as a grid. From here, the pictures and their captions need to be moved to their appropriate positions.


          I've been umming and ahhing over what to write in the post but ultimately there is no turn-key solution. The best I can think of would still involve running a script on each page and then processing the result of that manually. Automated catalogues are ideal for the likes of phone directories, parts catalogues or school yearbook pictures. this catalogue is outside of those specs and I can't see a way of automating this... as a turn-key solution. I would be interested to see what other posters have to say but I think this is a bridge too far to automate.


          In terms of what may make the job easier, try these two links though:


          http://ajarproductions.com/blog/2008/11/28/merge-textframes-extension-for-adobe-indesign/ (a script for merging loose text frames into one big textframe)

          http://tomaxxi.com/2011/04/mastering-live-captions/ (for using the captions feature to do lots of the hard work of presenting the data under a picture)



          • 2. Re: Is it possible to automate/script this catalogue ? — please help!
            -hans- Level 4

            Thought  about it.


            The whole formatting for a productdescription can be done with one paragraphstyle including some nested grepstyles.



            A tagged text line will be as simple as:


            <ANSI-WIN> <-Encoding
            <vsn:7.5> <-Version
            <pstyle:Description>9.<0x2005>123456 Name, with several features<0x2002><0x20AC><0x200A>99,-


            Let's expect a row in the excelfile like:


            Number     ArticleNumber     Name     description     Price


            So exporting the excelfile to *.csv, adding taggs needed to create  tagged text files from each row by scripting

            Now those tagged text files can be imported -> option: linked

            This may be done scripted by following some rules ...


            Hope this'll help