14 Replies Latest reply on May 15, 2013 9:36 AM by Colin Flashman

    Limitaions of Data Merge?

    Nina_Storm Level 1

      OS 10.8.3 - CS5


      I have been using Data Merge for simple tasks, but now I have run into problems.


      I have about 100 records and about 22 colums for each.

      I try to create single page of each post.


      The labels come in fine in Data Merge Window, but as I try to Create a merged document I get the message:


      "There is at least one data placeholder that cannot be found in the data source. Make sure all the placeholders correspond to the fields in the data source."


      And the placeholders do correspont to the fields.


      The content in each record consists of running text of about 1000 characters - is this no go?



      Nina Storm

        • 1. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
          Manish-Sharma Employee Moderator

          Sound like you have the blank Data field in the Source file.

          • 2. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
            Nina_Storm Level 1

            Thank you, but I have checked carefully - no blank Data Field in the Source file.


            Is blank spaces allowed in the data label naming?

            • 3. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
              Nina_Storm Level 1

              Well - I changed blank spaces to underscores - but still same answer.

              • 4. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                W. Bravenboer Level 1

                What I mostly do, if I get this kind of message, is opening the TXT file in Excel and save it again, sometimes this helps. Other option is copy and paste the Excel data in a new file.

                • 5. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                  Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  @Nina – did you update the Source file? And if so, did the names of the placeholders change?
                  Are the names of the labels unique?



                  • 6. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                    Nina_Storm Level 1

                    Thank you for tip. I have tried and I have tried saving the .txt file as UTF-16.

                    Now I get no error messages.


                    However I only get the first few  fields (containing names and titles) and the first field containing running text - the following fields doesn’t appear.

                    I checked the text file and I cannot find the consequens  how  each text field is marked up.


                    The first text (which appears) is marked only tab" and the following (which doesn’t appear) "tab"

                    So - I tried changing all field to be marked tab" - but no succes.


                    Do you know what is the correct markup for running text?

                    • 7. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                      W. Bravenboer Level 1

                      There could be a limitation, because the text is several lines long? I would have to see the file to be certain.

                      That is one of the reasons we use HP Smartstream, a more sophisticated plugin for datamerge and inposition.

                      Perhaps you could send the file through a PM, so I can look at it.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        Does your running text have line breaks? Data merge cannot handle line breaks within a field, but the result is usually scrambled output, though it might well generate the error that you have a field with no heading in the data file.

                        • 9. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                          Nina_Storm Level 1

                          Peter, Thanks - I supposed so - I removed the line breaks and that allowed me to get the result described in post 6. Up to longer running text I could not make the text appear.

                          I think Data Merge I not the solution for this task.


                          I have more than 100 returned forms which I imagined could be layoutet through Data Merge. But too much cleaning up if possible at all.


                          Laubender - Yes I have updated many times and the names doesn’t change.

                          Bravenboer - Thanks, but I think the solution isn't Data Merge, I need linebreaks and up to 1500 characters.

                          • 10. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                            MW Design Level 5

                            XML might be a solution. Without a copy of your data file (the Excel file) I wouldn't be certain if it would work for you. Excel creates pretty unnecessary garbage in its XML, but using an XSLT transform, it can be cleaned-up for import to ID.


                            If you would like me to try, upload the file to dropbox.com and PM me a link.


                            Take care, Mike

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                              Nina_Storm Level 1

                              Mike and Bravenboer - thanks for suggestions. However the content is confidential for now.

                              I’ll keep in mind that "HP Smartstream" and "XSLT transform" can be tools for this kind of tasks.

                              • 12. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                When I have data file with linebreaks I substitute some otherwise unused character or character combo as a tag and run find/change after the merge to change the codes to the breaks. But that doesn't solve the 1500 character problem. I typically work in Excel, and I find it truncates long blocks when saving as .csv or .txt, but I don't think there's any reason you cannot have as many characters as you like if you are working directly in a text editor.


                                That said, Data Merge is not terribly sophisticated. It's really meant for things like address labels, and more complex documents would probably do better with xml or one of the commercial catalog plugins.

                                • 13. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                                  MW Design Level 5

                                  Here is a screen shot of a dummy spreadsheet (quickly done) and converted to XML. Three columns, third column has paragraphs with line breaks. Styles set up in ID and so the formatting with the styles mapped turned out like...



                                  • 14. Re: Limitaions of Data Merge?
                                    Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

                                    I agree with MikeWenzloff that XML would be a more appropriate solution for this task.


                                    Data Merge is great for business cards, direct mail items... simple stuff... but for instances where line breaks have to be preserved and there's lots of data... XML is the go. The learning curve is really steep though and there are few resources on the issue. Best one is this book by Jim Maivald: http://www.amazon.com/Designers-Guide-Adobe-InDesign-XML/dp/0321503554


                                    Just as a declaration, I recommend the book as a resource and have no commercial interest in it at all.