3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 19, 2015 3:56 AM by tobya18487493

    Excel to InDesign Catalogue workflow - ?

    tobya18487493 Level 1

      Hi (first timer here)

      I've looked at some similar threads here but not found an answer or got lost with scripting/tagging of which I know nothing! So here goes:


      I produce catalogues for a client across 7 or so brands, up to 130 pages each for PDF distribution. The client currently does some editing of prices and listings themselves in ID CS6. I have CS6 and CC. There are around 5 products per page, each in it's own table - they look like this:

      Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 1.45.46 pm.png

      individually each table is split/merged like this:

      Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.01.30 pm.png

      The tables all sit in a text frame that flows across pages, so a product can be removed and everything shuffles back within that range/story..


      The prices and other data are sourced from an Excel spreadsheet and we are looking to automate the process of updating the catalogues from the Excel data...


      I've looked into data merge and used it for some simpler projects, but for these it didn't work because:

      • In Excel each item is a new row if it's a different colour option, whereas in InDesign this is shown as one product with several variants in the lower right

      • Data merge creates a new ID file not linked to the Excel, so any edits have to be made in XL and a whole new ID file generated and any edits made to ID are lost in this way. I think there will always be manual work to do in ID, particularly with those colour swatches, not to mention title and contents pages, header rows etc etc

      • There are often small variations required to the tables as per above image. Data merge appears to work well for simple repeat work like business cards etc but not for large flowing docs with variables.


      We will look into a 'linked' XL file, manually 'placing' all the data into table cells in ID. To this end the client has asked for a 'reverse engineered' XL sheet ie one generated from an ID catalogue. I've looked at the 'merge tables' script in an attempt to put them all together and export to an XL file. These tables did not want to be merged - the top row would split back into two cells and the text disappeared. I looked at other threads re ID table to XL...


      I wonder if there is a workflow that would save more work than it creates!?