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If you save these data as comma-delimited file (.csv) or a tab-delimited (.txt) you can do this work with Data Merge.
I do a similar directory annually, and I use Data Merge. The trick is to keep the data file sorted properly. I try to wait until the organization tells me the list is final, but it never is, so I always end up updating and re-sorting the spreadsheet (data file), and either re-running the merge if there are a lot of changes, or making manual edits if there are only one or two -- but still keep the updated data file for next year.
I've found it helps to have a column for Active/inactive status, too, which I sort on first, then by name. That way I can just change the status on members who tend to be in one year and out the next, then come back.
KaCe Whitacre wrote:
I am helping my sister build a directory from scratch. The information has never been digitally entered; so we are doing that from the beginning. Roughly 250 people with name, address, city, state, zip (then she needs to get: phone numbers, email, office held and date joined)
We want to be able to sort by last name; including last minute inclusions.
We want to format entire directory for a nice printed booklet that will be half of a legal page format.
We want to be able to add photos, if not this year, then next year.
We plan to distribute the booklet as a pdf as well as a printed book.
Our largest problem is what way to input the data so we can sort by last name. We want to be able to import the files into ID. Am I making too much of this? Should we just enter it into ID from the get go? Can we sort in ID? I have NeoOffice on both my Mac and hers.
I am using CS6 and she has CS4.
You probably want to sort by last name and first name and perhaps even middle initial, not just by last name, so that Zelda Jones comes after Alice Jones.
InDesign does not sort, so your options are:
* Enter and manage the data in a spreadsheet, and export it to Comma Separated Values (CSV), and, as Peter S. says, use the CSV file as the data file for InDesign's Data Merge feature.
* Use a commercial third-party InDesign plug-in, like Active Tables from dtptools.com. It sorts tables, as well as performs many of the most-common spreadsheet formula functions. Then export to CSV. There's a trial available for ID up to CS6. It's not clear if that version will work with the Creative Cloud version.
Whichever spreadsheet tool you choose, consider that you might want to perform some formula manipulations on data. For example, in some cases, ID fails to eliminate blank space and blank lines where a data field is blank, even though the option is enabled. One workaround is to use text functions to manipulate the data fields in the spreadsheet, to combine the present and missing fields into a single new computed field, and use that field in the data merge.
For details on data merge, search Google for terms like "InDesign data merge tutorial," without quotes.
Thank you, All. I will use several new-to-me ideas. I will create a field that will add blank fields to another field and the sum will be exported to help me be proactive about not having blank fields screw things up. That seems like a good idea. I also like the sorting idea of creating a new field of "active" or "inactive". That will help her a lot, as members renew late so they are "inactive" when the data is gathered, but next year they may be "active"; and of course, some people don't renew every year, so having the ability to click them off and on is a good one.
since NeoOffice is not expensive I think it a good choice for the DB. It will do all we need a DB to do and we should be able to keep it current. It can also be installed by others on major OSs.
You have all helped me a lot. Thank you.