5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 31, 2013 10:17 AM by Joel Cherney

    Catalog creating software?

    dr.justice2000 Level 1

      Ok, I am looking for a software product that does a few things. 1) It MUST be compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.8.  2) It will allow me to create a catalog for retail merchandise in a relatively 'user friendly' manner. 3) It needs to be able to be saved as an e-file, so that it can be sent to clients in an electronic format and maintain the catalog formatting regardless if they are using a mac or a pc. The only example of this I can think of is a pdf file where everyone uses the reader to open things and the formatting stays the same. 4) it must also be able to be sent out to a print shop to be able to communicate with the printers computers without formatting issues so that a hard copy can be generated. And Lastly, 5) we are a very small home-based business so this needs to be as cost effective as possible.


      So this is your mission, should you choose to accept it.....no, just kidding. But any help or insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch, Jenny

        • 1. Re: Catalog creating software?
          Migintosh Level 4

          The way that the catalog generators I've worked with work is similar to InDesign's Data Merge function, so if you're familiar with that, it's likely what you would encounter (only on a much more comprehensive basis). The ones that do the most are more expensive, so I'm not sure you will find one in your price range if your needs are great. Essentially, you would have your data in a spreadsheet or database, export it as a text file, and have the software format the data according to a sample you would create. It can even pull images of the products from your images folder and scale/crop them into a format you choose. If new products are added at the last minute, you can re-run the process and not have to spend the time it would take to rework your document the way you would if you had manually built it.


          I haven't had to do this for many years, so I can't recommend anything specific, but if you want to see what's possible with a product that's probably outside of your price range, look up Em Software. I worked for a company many years ago that used their Xdata plugin for Quark, but they also have InData for InDesign that's probably very similar. This isn't novice software, so expect a steep learning curve, but in the years since I've done this, there may be cheaper and easier ways to go.

          • 2. Re: Catalog creating software?
            Derek Cross Adobe Community Professional

            Hi Jenny


            Adobe InDesign is the "software product" that will do all the things you describe wanting. But buying/subscribing to the application is the easy bit, you will need to learn how to use it! Luckily if you are prepared to invest some time in undertaking this, then there are some great training possibilities. Personal training is maybe the best - and the most expensive, there are also some excellent guide books and Lynda.com have a range of online InDesign training videos. Also people on this forum will usually be able to offer solutions with particular issues.


            This video will give you a quick overview of the application:

            http://creativesuitepodcast.com/how-to-get-started-with-adobe-in-design-cc-10-things-begin ners-want-to-know-how-to-do


            Best wishes,


            • 3. Re: Catalog creating software?
              Grant H Level 4

              honestly: Pay a graphic designer to do it for you. If its done wrong it can cost you a LOT more money. You can supply the designer a exel document that he can datamerge. He/she can help you set up the exel doc up correctly too.


              • 4. Re: Catalog creating software?
                Daniel Sterchi Adobe Community Professional

                Hi dr.justice2000


                I do lots of different Catalogs in InDesign. I use, depending of the Datasource, two technologies. These two technologies are made to handle a lot of data.


                The question is, where do you get your data from? How many so to speek records do you have to handle? In which form do you get the data?


                After you have answered these three question you can think of a technology to handle the data.


                I don't use Excel or Datamerge because they can't handle the mass of data I am speeking of. If your Datasource is an Excel you can try to do you job with InDesign and csv (Datamerge). With that, your possibilities to place the record on a InDesign page are limited.

                If the datasource is a database then I use InDesign together with a third party plugin called «Easy Catalog» from 65bits.com. It doesn't cost a lot and you have full control over the layout. On top it is quite easy to learn how to use it. Easy Catalog can also handle a mass of cvs-data.


                The second technology ist XML. I did catalog with 1400 pages and more with XML and XML-Rules. InDesign can handle XML-Data. There the data have to come in XML or csv. Then you need somebody who knows to handle XML and for example JavaScript


                Well as I said it all depends in which form you get your data and how big is the mass of data you have to handle


                kind regards


                Dani (from Switzerland)

                • 5. Re: Catalog creating software?
                  Joel Cherney Level 5

                  2) It will allow me to create a catalog for retail merchandise in a relatively 'user friendly' manner.


                  honestly: Pay a graphic designer to do it for you. If its done wrong it can cost you a LOT more money.



                  You could make a PDF with InDesign that would satisfy all of your requirements but number 2. Grant is 100% correct on this one.


                  If you fill in more details, and the details instill confidence in your abilities in a forum full of print and documentation pros (e.g. "Our catalog will be made by hand, with no automation to link to Excel, because we only have twenty products, and have experience with making print brochures in PageMaker some years back") then maybe we might be able to give you some more pointers.


                  Dani's recco of EasyCatalog is a good one. I really liked my experience with InData from Em Software, but it wasn't easy. I never used EasyCatalog myself, but I helped out on a translation project and got to look over the the shoulder of a designer that used it, and it's well-named. If you're already the kind of person who is good at pushing data-driven publishing projects around, but dislike writing bits of code to duct-tape stuff together, then EasyCatalog is what you're looking for.


                  If you're not that person, then you want to hire the person that is.