25 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2013 3:33 PM by Bernie X

    Data Merge Image Alignments

    Rohlfie

      Greetings,

       

      I'm turning to this forum, as nothing I've tried has worked.  In a data merge using only merged images from a CSV Excel Workbook, everything is displaying generally the way I want.  But in one of the frames with a merged image the images will NOT align to the bottom of the frame!  I've tried setting the frame fitting properties *before* placing the image merge field into the frame.  I've tried selecting the previewed, linked image and configuring that.  Tried dragging the image. Nothing!  When I toggle the preview to refresh, it jumps right back up to the top left of the frame.

       

      I know this is not the most widely used practice in InDesign.  But any ideas would be appreciated!

       

      Thanks!

       

      Bill

        • 1. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
          MW Design Level 4

          Don't preview. It's a bug that affects many/most people. It can corrupt documents. Don't know if it is fixed in CC and as I won't install it, I cannot try in CC either.

           

          Try draging your pre-merged elements into a new file. Trust the merge to work and merge to a new document and see if that works.

           

          Mike

          • 2. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
            Rohlfie Level 1

            Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!  Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to work (asuming I'm executing it correctly.  If I print to pdf directly (with out using merge to print) I get no merged images.  And if I merge to print, it displays in that top left position.  Sigh.  I tried dragging one of the 450 or so merged images to a new document, and it did stay where it was.  But the native document's settings took over, and once I engaged the data source to enable the new document to be a merge document, I was back to where I sarted with the original document.

             

            What's odd to me is that I can get the image to drop to the lower left corner when I zero out the crop-amount in the frame fitting options dialogue box.  But that defaults right back to the upper left corner when I toggle preview off and then on again.

             

            Thanks for the suggestions.

             

            Bill

            • 3. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
              MW Design Level 4

              Hi Bill--I am traveling between appointments and won't be able to test/try what you are experiencing until alter today. Hopefully someone else will be able to figure out what is happening, but if not I'll be back this evening.

               

              I just wanted to let you know so you don't think I have dropped off the face of the earth...

               

              What version of ID are you using?

               

              Mike

              • 4. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                Rohlfie Level 1

                Thanks Mike!  Very kind of you to check back in.  I'm working with version 7.5.3 from CS 5.5 on a Mac.  I made sure it was up to date, and tried a couple more obvioius things.  But still nothing.  I can achieve my end without aligning the image to the bottom of the frame.  But the results are less than optimal.  I always become obsessed with this kind of thing until I can find an answer or a workaround.  One idea I thought might be interesting is to establish a grid and attempt to anchor the image to that grid.  But what makes this especially challenging is that we are dealing with variable image sizes that are linked to files on my hard drive.  If this were a static page, I"d be long done with this.  :-)

                 

                To be clear about what I'm doing, I've hand-written variables from a contact list and scanned those contact variables (address, full name, salutation, greeting) into coorisponding directories on my hard drive.  On both the inside of a card as well as the outside of an envelope, I have two VDP frames, one above the other respectively.  In the case of the envelope, for example, I'd like the top frame that contains the contact's full name to format so the full name image sits on the bottom of its frame, so I can control how closely it displays above the frame containing the address below it.

                 

                Anyway, still unsolved.

                 

                Thanks again for checking back!

                 

                Bill

                • 5. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                  Bernie X Level 1

                  Try the "clear frame fitting" option beforehand.

                  • 6. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                    Rohlfie Level 1

                    Thanks for the suggestion, Bernie.  But alas, I've tried that.  And to be safe, I've tried it for both frame and object.

                     

                    Again, I can get the image to move to the base of the frame by adjusting the crop amount in the frame-fitting options dialogue box.  But once I navigate to the next instance or toggle the preview to refresh, it's right back to that upper-left default alignment.

                     

                    What's frustrating is that nothing except "center content" seems to have any effect on the image.

                     

                    All the best,

                     

                    Bill

                    • 7. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                      Bernie X Level 1

                      I just tried it and it works without a hitch.  Feel free to share a file for further assessment.

                      • 8. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        I had success using an object style. Just assigning the fitting options to a placeholder frame has been a bit buggy for awhile, but if you create an actual object style with the correct options, and apply it to the placeholder, it seems to work quite well.

                        • 9. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                          Rohlfie Level 1

                          Thank you Bernie and Peter!  There must be something wrong with my version/OS.  You guys did try this in the context of a merge with variable image data from a database, no?  As it will work every time on an imbedded, single image.

                           

                          Just to summarize, neither clearing the frame fitting options and reapplying, or applying an object style to the placeholder are working here.

                           

                          I'll see about attaching an example of what I'm dealing with.

                           

                          Thanks!

                           

                          Bill

                          • 10. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                            Bernie X Level 1

                            Bill,

                             

                            Here' s a straight forward example of what you're wanting to accomplish.  Note, I'm using InDesign CC.

                             

                            https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/86463671/Data%20merge.zip

                            • 11. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                              I have no idea what Bernie is doing, but here I have a .csv file with the paths to several hundred images that was used for an art show jury package (other fields contain information about the art and entrie numbers that key back to artists, whose names the jurors never see). I used that file as the data source for a new merge document, adding an image frame assigning my object style and dragging the path field into the frame. Are you doing something different? Are your frames onthe master page, or the document page? In my tests it doesn't seem to matter, but you never know.

                               

                              As Mike mentioned earlier, pressing the preview button can corrupt a merge template. You should try copying the fields from the original template file and paste them into a new file, then try running your merge without the preview. My tests worked equally well merging to .indd and PDF.

                              • 12. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                I tested in CS5.5 and CS6.

                                • 13. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                  Bernie X Level 1

                                  I am not sure what Peter is referring to, but the INDD links to a .csv data source that references four images.  Frame fitting options are set to "align bottom."  When you create a merge document, all images are aligned according to the frame fitting options, in the source doc.  No toggling previews or object styles are needed.  I've included a duplicate CS 5.5 INDD file within the link.

                                  • 14. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                    Rohlfie Level 1

                                    Reallly nice of you guys to take the time to help with this!  Bernie, unfortunately my version of InDesign said it couldn't open your example.  Peter, I'm interested in the idea of copying over the info to a new template.  But, being only so experienced with InDesign, I'm not exactly sure how to do that effectively.  I *was* able to drag what I had created in one document to a new document earlier.  But, it created a static instance of only one set of variables.  Are we talking copy the frames to a new document for placement (having previewed them in a previous document layout), and then applying the object style, say, to the troublesome frame, but without previewing it?

                                     

                                    Here's a link to a very simple set of example files with crude handwriting scans to illustrate approximately what I'm working with:

                                     

                                    https://www.dropbox.com/s/i58fy8c7mfcm7pl/Alignment%20Test.zip

                                     

                                    You'll have to fix the directory structures in the .csv file so it will work for your environment.

                                     

                                    Hopefully the three instances there will help to demonstrate my problem.

                                     

                                    Thanks again!

                                     

                                    Bill

                                    • 15. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                      Rohlfie Level 1

                                      Thanks Bernie!  I'll take a look.

                                      • 16. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                        Bernie X wrote:

                                         

                                        I am not sure what Peter is referring to, but the INDD links to a .csv data source that references four images.  Frame fitting options are set to "align bottom."  When you create a merge document, all images are aligned according to the frame fitting options, in the source doc.  No toggling previews or object styles are needed.  I've included a duplicate CS 5.5 INDD file within the link.

                                        I was typing before you posted, so didn't see your file...

                                        • 17. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                          Rohlfie Level 1

                                          Okay, so Bernie.  In your example, if you would, in the data merge panel, "select content placement options" in the drop down menu.  There, select "preserve frame and image sizes."  When I do this, the image in your example is placed right in the top left of the frame!  I laughed when I did this, because I feel like I can't win with this.  :-)

                                           

                                          Since I'm using handwritten scans of text to be printed to, in the example I posted, envelopes, I need the scan images to remain at 100% size.  If there's a better way of doing this, I'm open to it.

                                           

                                          Your example did work.  But not with that change.

                                           

                                          Thanks again.

                                          • 18. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                            I looked at your file, then created a new template file, added two frame to hold the images, created the object style and assigned it to those frames, and ran a merge with your sample data. Worked perfectly with the Fit Images Proportionally default option chosen in the merge panel, but failed when I changed that to preserve teh dimensions (I don't think you mentioned that part, originally)

                                             

                                            Probably a bug, but it doesn't make much difference.

                                             

                                            Anyway, in the long run you might be much better off purchasing a decent handwriting font and storing all this as text, which can be edited and styled to be uniform in size.

                                            • 19. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                              Bernie X Level 1

                                              Still working on this...

                                               

                                              I got your files files to work.  First, under Frame Fitting Options for your frame, check Auto-Fit.  Second, under Content Placement Options (a Data Merge option) select Preserve Frame and Images Sizes. Then move your linked graphic wherever you like in the frame.  Lastly, preview the merge.

                                              • 20. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                                Rohlfie Level 1

                                                Yes Peter, sorry about that.  The back and forth here, if nothing else, certainly identified that "preserve frame and image sizes" is contributing, if not causing the problem I've been having.

                                                 

                                                My previous iteration of this project had that very feature!  The handwriting font looked very good.  But this time around, I want it to appear, even if not as tidy, to be actually hand written.  And hence this long process.

                                                 

                                                Might you know of a way, while leaving "fit images proportionally" engaged, I might restrict the scale of the image to 100 percent?  It would appear that it is either or, no?

                                                 

                                                Thanks one more time for your help!

                                                • 21. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                  Sure, just make sure all the images are cropped to the same canvas size.

                                                  • 22. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                                    Rohlfie Level 1

                                                    Bernie, this is promising.  I'm having inconsistent results at first try.  I have to leave for a bit and will experiment with this a bit later.  One of the problems I seem to be having is the name displaying at only 84 percent, or alternately at like 155%.  But the 85% version did seem to be sitting right on the bottom of the frame.

                                                     

                                                    I'll check back later!

                                                     

                                                    Take care,

                                                     

                                                    Bill

                                                    • 23. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                                      Rohlfie Level 1

                                                      Thanks Peter!  That's an interesting idea.  If I were to batch process all the names to display on the same sized canvas, perhaps I could possition them at the bottom of that canvas, and then when they would be displayed, they'd be at the bottom naturally!

                                                      Great idea!

                                                      Thanks to both you guys for helping me trouble shoot this today!

                                                      • 25. Re: Data Merge Image Alignments
                                                        Bernie X Level 1

                                                        Close but no cigar...Bill can continue his workflow as is with my suggestion.