1 2 Previous Next 40 Replies Latest reply on Nov 26, 2015 1:38 AM by Danny Whitehead.

    does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?

    dainiswmichel Level 1

      hey,

       

      does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?

       

      best,

      dainis

        • 2. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
          Danny Whitehead. Level 4

          It has the functionality to place images and graphic files, and to anchor them to specific text. You can also place text, and have it remain linked. We'd need to know what you're trying to achieve to give you the best advice. But having read your remark in another thread, the first piece of advice I'd give you is that InDesign is not a word processor, so don't expect it to behave like one.

          • 3. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
            dainiswmichel Level 1

            "Adobe InDesign. Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing software application produced by Adobe Systems. It can be used to create works such as posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, and books."

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_InDesign

             

            so, it should be even better than a word processor -- right?

            and as such, it should also be easier to use, with less of a learning curve -- and with better, more intuitive end-user procedures -- do you agree?

             

            if you've read some of my other posts -- you may have gathered that i am not a fan of needlessly complex end-user procedures. i have also noticed a very concerning trend in software over the last 10 years or so -- and that is: scaling back functionality and making people pay extra for even the simplest features (that were available before -- and just aren't anymore). then you get this "group of experts," who have somehow managed to burn through almost painfully obtuse user-procedures -- and these are the professionals that you then need to hire -- why? because the end user procedures have become so convoluted and backwards (and hidden), that you simply need to pay someone for having sat down and wasted a few hundred hours learning procedures that, if the software were well-designed, would not have needed to have been wasted.

             

            i took a few year break from IT and kind of wanted to return to a "better happier world." in teaching IT -- i basically preached that procedures were getting easier, that communication was becoming more and more accessible, and that we'd all be able to make media-quality anything soon -- why? because that is the direction everything WAS heading.

             

            anyway -- are you saying there are no fields in InDesign -- so i cannot include Text1,Text2,Text3 and then update that text independently? i noticed something called InText or something. also, are you saying i cannot link images -- so image1, image2, image3 -- and then if i update the image -- i can "update fields" and the new images appear? are you saying that is not possible?

             

            i'm basically asking: what field codes are available in InDesign? any? if there are fieldcodes -- where is the list and where are their available parameters?

             

            also: can you explain what you meant by "But having read your remark in another thread, the first piece of advice I'd give you is that InDesign is not a word processor, so don't expect it to behave like one."

             

            what remark? why would you give me the advice that InDesign is not a word processor? what is InDesign then, and are you saying it's worse than common word processors? (you cannot, in my opinion, get much worse than MSWord, which i'm assuming you're using as a benchmark word processor). what behavior are you assuming i expect from inDesign?

             

            are you advocating obtuse user-procedures that could easily be made easy?

             

            anyway -- in this thread -- really -- what i am asking is if InDesign provides specific document automation features -- like includepicture and includetext fields -- so updatable content fields that you can use for professional publishing needs.

             

            also, i guess i am getting less apologetic about my disappointment in software development as a community -- and i am frustrated by not having the authority to just adjust the user-procedures to make publishing more accessible to more people -- more easily.

            • 4. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
              BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

              Content can be (and in the case of graphics) can be linked externally and updated easily. Text can also be linked externally through the use of InCopy or with a third party solutions such as WordsFlow. There are also a number of products than highly automate processes that are not part of the OOBE.

               

              Frankly, it sounds like you've made zero effort to learn about these features and expect to understand a very powerful page layout application (No, InDesign NOT a word processor). It's certainly not perfect, but there's nothing else out there than can touch it.

               

              You might want to spend some quality time on lynda.com watching videos from Anne-Marie Concepcion, David Blatner and others on the topic of InDesign. This link will get you a 10-day trial if you so choose to go that route: http://www.lynda.com/trial/boblevine (full disclose: I'm a lynda author).

              • 5. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                InDesign is a page layout application, used to combine text and graphical components with absolute positoning into a coherent page. It is far more complex than any word processor (and has more typographical controls than most word processors), and has a very steep learning curve.

                 

                Complete complex document automation is doable through XML, which has its own steep learning curve, and there are a number of automation plugins on the market for the publishing industry. InDesign also has a basic Data Merge function that would allow you to build template-based documents and fill in text and images from an external data file, similar, but not identical, to a Mail Merge in Word.

                • 6. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                  Danny Whitehead. Level 4

                  dainiswmichel wrote:

                   

                  so, it should be even better than a word processor -- right?

                  No more than a harp should be better than a piano. I'm not going to waste any more time correcting misconceptions, so unless you've decided that InDesign isn't the appropriate kind of software for your needs, it would probably be better to ask how to go about specific tasks.

                  • 7. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                    dainiswmichel Level 1

                    hey Danny, you mention "misconceptions" you apparently assume i have. could you list three that you are absolutely sure i "have?"

                    • 8. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                      dainiswmichel Level 1

                      thnx for your reply.

                       

                      just theoretically, in software where user-procedures are unnecessarily time-consuming and obtuse, would you use the term "learning curve?"

                      • 9. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                        BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        I have to agree with Danny. You’re not interested in learning how to go about anything.

                         

                         

                         

                        I can picture you going to a foreign country and being upset because they don’t speak your language.

                         

                         

                         

                        If you have some real questions, check your ego at the door, and start a thread for them. Otherwise you can continue to carry on here if it makes you happy, but I’m done.

                        • 10. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                          Danny Whitehead. Level 4

                          Moving on... Do you have a particular task you'd like help with? Or a suggestion of how you'd prefer a particular 'unnecessarily time-consuming and obtuse user-procedure' to be carried out in InDesign?

                          • 11. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                            dainiswmichel Level 1

                            it's not that i've made 0 effort -- it's that i "stepped away" from IT, IT teaching, IT consulting, etc. for a few years -- and i've now "stepped back in" with a few high-level projects.

                             

                            i am just shocked that "kinda complex" stuff i was doing in 1996 (for example), is now just plain broken in MS Word. it just doesn't work anymore. cross-platform compatibility -- oh just forget that!
                            the latest iMovie -- does not have the functionality of iMovie '06

                            i recently had to redo a simple slide presentation using Premiere -- why? because MSPowerpoint is just simply broken. it was and remains a very simple program -- and well -- certain functionality just plain doesn't work anymore. and wow -- talk about cranky user procedures with Premiere's text titles. wow. face-palm level bad.

                             

                            it looks like inDesign is one of very few software applications that can even handle what i need to do -- so then, OK, take a step up and use PageMaker-Turbo (inDesign) & get confronted with bad user procedures disguised as learning curve. i find that disappointing.

                             

                            about 3 years ago, i published a book using InDesign, so i figured, i'd check it out again for a project i'm doing now. for me, i guess i just expect software usability to be a greater priority for software companies. i get frustrated comparing how to software could work -- with how it does work.

                             

                            regarding lynda, it's this video that preceded the creation of this thread: Import a folder full of pictures, one per page | InDesign | lynda.com - YouTube

                             

                            basically -- if you put me in charge of the user procedures -- users would be able to complete that procedure much much much much much more easily.

                             

                            i guess i can understand advocacy of: at least with inDesign, you can get it done. but it does not mean the user-procedures couldn't be designed to reduce learning-curve to "next to none."

                             

                            you won't sell me on "bad user procedures disguised as learning curve." you also won't find me advocating forcing a user population to go through repeated cycles of "learning" disposable procedures.

                             

                            anyway, if i were in charge -- you would see.

                             

                            also: i am not saying i won't get a high quality professional result with inDesign -- i will -- i just wish end-user advocacy played a greater role at Adobe (and not in "teaching" bad procedures, but in improving the procedures themselves).

                            • 13. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                              joet082964 Level 3

                              Are you here to ask a question or complain about what InDesign doesn't do to your liking? If the latter is true, you wrote a book about it, so make something better.

                               

                              Stop wasting the time of the helpful people here like Bob, Peter and Danny.

                               

                              Ask a productive question related to a project you need help with or move on and build something better.

                              • 14. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                dainiswmichel Level 1

                                you know what would be a cooler response?

                                 

                                brainstorming how the user-procedures could be made better, faster, and easier.

                                 

                                i've marked Peter's response as "correct," and i certainly do not find BobLevine to have been helpful here. Bob -- my dad actually knows someone named Bob Levine (probably not you though) -- and i am a real person -- and a kind one.  i don't appreciate your comment about me personally -- at all -- in particular because of how inaccurate and projective it is.

                                 

                                i am legitimately fed up with a "software world" that presents obtuse user procedures -- and sells them to the masses as "learning curve."

                                 

                                joe, regarding "doing it better," well -- you know -- i have considered it -- but if this odd human defensive backlash against "constructive criticism perceived as negative" could just somehow how be averted -- then i could just step in and improve existing user procedures -- instead of needing to "rebuild the publishing world."

                                 

                                to me, it is clear, for example, that someone who has purchased an automobile is actually a very good person to talk with regarding how that particular automobile could be improved. the argument: well then build your own car and make it better -- is a common -- but not a very productive or compassionate response.

                                 

                                my original question was about the use of text fields. it hasn't "exactly" been answered, but i have enough to go on.

                                 

                                i think, though, that the answer is pretty much: no, but you can achieve similar results using XML, DataMerge, and third party documentation automation solutions.

                                • 15. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                  Keep in mind that InDesign is really a professional-level application, in spite of all the marketing hype and pushing it to amateur users, and it contains a LOT more features than an entry-level layout app like Publisher or any word processor, and each version gets more complex as new features are added to satisfy user requests. It wouldn't surprise me if ID is the most complex program that Adobe produces -- it's a lot more complex than Photoshop, and hardly anyone thinks that's easy to learn.

                                   

                                  I suspect that some of what you might find "obtuse" is designed the way it is because that's how it works in the world of commercial printing, on printing presses. Designing for that world requires a lot of specialized knowledge about color and papers and inks and how they are combined. There are dozens of lengthy and difficult to understand books on color and color management, and how to get the same color across multiple outputs, for example. Do you need to understand that to make a one-off birthday card for your mother? Maybe not, but it will most likely look nicer if you do. It took me about ten years of working in this field, including doing prepress, and producing hundreds of jobs for press and talking to printers and attending press checks before I really understood what can and can't be achieved.

                                  • 16. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                    In 1996 the world of desktop publishing was in its infancy and what the available applications could accomplish was very limited compared to what can be done in InDesign, even as old as CS2 or CS3 which have been "obsolete" for years.  I used to do my own tune-ups on my '69 Dodge Dart, but I don't have the training or equipment to do them on my Prius...

                                     

                                    The InDesign team at Adobe is actually pretty receptive to user comments (and if you think ID is hard to use, try Quark), and many things have been added, changed and even simplified because of user feedback. Do you have concrete suggestions? Can you make a case for how they will benefit a large number of users so the cost to benefit numbers make sense (Adobe still answers to shareholders)? Submit them at Feature Request/Bug Report Form

                                     

                                    Are you sure it makes sense to do all of the kinds of automation task you want in the layout application? If these are really writing/word processing tasks it might make more sense to do them in the word processor and import the finished documents for final formatting. While it is certainly possible to write a novel entirely in ID, I think most authors would find it easier and less restrictive to the creative process to do the writing in Word. For text I need to write longer than a few paragraphs I always find myself starting Word.

                                    • 17. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                      John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      dainiswmichel wrote:

                                       

                                      basically -- if you put me in charge of the user procedures -- users would be able to complete that procedure much much much much much more easily.

                                      In charge of what? Designing the user experience, or programming it? They are two very different disciplines.

                                       

                                      That said, and in any case, to me (just my impression...could be wrong), your attitude toward "user procedures" seems typical of someone who wants the software to do more...be more "automatic"...take more of the "procedure" out of the users' hands, and make assumptions (which would actually have to be presumptions on the part of the developers), about what the user wants. <THAT is exactly what seasoned professional users do not want.

                                      • 18. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        but it does not mean the user-procedures couldn't be designed to reduce learning-curve to "next to none."

                                         

                                        You have to consider the complexity of the print destination—and InDesign is still primarily a print application. If the destination could always be a $100 inkjet printer then your next to none learning curve could exist. But ID also has to accommodate a document with highend typography, needing color managed process and spot colors headed for an 8-color press, perfect bound with gatefolds and die cutting. The learning curve for understanding that kind of print process and correctly constructing a document for it is high, and is reflected in the software.

                                        • 19. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                          dainiswmichel Level 1

                                          the user experience -- quite directly -- the procedures themselves.

                                           

                                          nah -- you'd love what i'd put out. all the power -- none of the hassle -- ez access to backend stuff. all of the control, none of the bs.

                                           

                                          software that teaches as it goes. software that serves -- not software that you have to "learn."

                                           

                                          it's often called "just in time knowledge delivery." it'd be beautiful & it is really really really annoying to need to learn throwaway procedures.

                                           

                                          humanity has been "at" publishing for at least a few thousand years. adobe should not be creating the equivalent of crews of monks who need to transcribe the bible (pictures and all), for hours on end. throwaway procedures -- need to be thrown away.

                                          • 20. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                            SJRiegel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            dainiswmichel wrote:

                                             

                                            software that teaches as it goes. software that serves -- not software that you have to "learn."

                                             

                                            Sounds like this software would have to have the ability to read minds. Otherwise, how does the software figure out what exactly I am trying to accomplish with it on a given day, so that it know what to "teach" me that day?

                                            • 21. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              it is really really really annoying to need to learn throwaway procedures.

                                               

                                              Then don't. If you think print is dead stop using or learning software designed for outputting to complex printing processes.

                                              • 22. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                joet082964 Level 3

                                                the user experience -- quite directly -- the procedures themselves ... software that teaches as it goes. software that serves -- not software that you have to "learn."

                                                 

                                                The Future of UI in Modern Day Software

                                                • 24. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                  dainiswmichel Level 1

                                                  Sounds like this software would have to have the ability to read minds.


                                                  no it would not

                                                  • 25. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                    dainiswmichel Level 1
                                                    Then don't. If you think print is dead stop using or learning software designed for outputting to complex printing processes.

                                                     

                                                    are you advocating needlessly complex procedures? is that your objective? why do you find it fair to tell me what to "stop" doing?

                                                     

                                                    i am talking about efficient end user procedures. what's wrong w that?

                                                    • 26. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                      dainiswmichel Level 1

                                                      i reported that fake link as abusive.

                                                       

                                                      it is not acceptable forum behavior to turn the conversation towards criticizing forum members personally. (it sounds like you are the kind of person...) this thread is not about "the kind of person" i am.

                                                       

                                                      it is also not acceptable forum behavior to post fake links. i hope the admin team will remove them.

                                                       

                                                      it is perfectly acceptable for me to be critical of the software i am using and the procedures it makes its end-users go through to accomplish specific results. while über-positivity in the corporate environment is often the norm -- a software company basically gets a virtual gold-mine -- if a select group of users is actually willing to complain about the software they've purchased.

                                                       

                                                      i have found reasonable solutions for my initial questions -- though actually -- they're not really elaborated upon in this "discussion."

                                                       

                                                      i think it takes courage, in this scenario, to "complain," mostly because removing the complexity of the procedures i am talking about -- also removes the necessity of particular jobs -- because the jobs could be automated. the thing is, the automation would need to be done right -- with the software as a servant -- and not presenting users with needless complexity. however -- by "complexity," i do not mean code -- or aversion to "actual complexity," i mean: needless complexity that could be removed from the process entirely with intelligent design and compassion for the end-user experience.

                                                       

                                                      just because software can get a job done -- does not mean the software is doing a good job of getting that job done. and it also does not mean that the software developers are doing everything they can to make the user experience more pleasant -- and more powerful.

                                                       

                                                      right now, i am doing a project where it looks like inDesign is just about the only commercial product available that can get the job done. that leaves me in a bind -- because i really don't think adobe has done a very good job with its end-user advocacy.

                                                       

                                                      at least -- the customer feedback loop is in place -- here -- in this forum -- but it does not appear that this community has a "let's make these products better" focus. user feedback loops can also be problematic, in that demand is often gauged by number of customers who "want" a change or a procedure -- the problem there is that most such requests are like little pin-pr1cks -- and result in: OK now our software can do X too! yay! -- which is a process that often mistakes frequency for quality, and also leaves out the "bigger picture" so to speak.

                                                      • 27. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                        I think you might get a more favorable response here if you gave concrete examples of what procedures you find cumbersome and what you would do to improve them in ways that would work for all users.

                                                         

                                                        I'm sure that some things could be improved (and the ID team is pretty responsive to users, so file your requests at Feature Request/Bug Report Form), but I'm also quite sure that InDesign is far less cumbersome to use than any other program I've used for page layout during my career. Some things are a matter of code rewrites, some are a matter of what else do you break if you change "x" and some are a matter of do MOST users benefit from such a change, or would they find it undesirable.

                                                        • 28. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                          It would be one thing if you were offering constructive ideas. Instead you're trying to tell us that a hammer is a lousy screwdriver.

                                                           

                                                          You've done nothing but complain about the complexities of something that is inherently complex. You are not the first to come here and do it and the others have received the same responses. All I'm getting from your posts is that you want to know InDesign, you don't want learn InDesign.

                                                          • 29. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                            am doing a project where it looks like inDesign is just about the only commercial product available that can get the job done.

                                                            Quark XExpress

                                                            • 30. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                              John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                              dainiswmichel wrote:

                                                               

                                                              -- you'd love what i'd put out. all the power -- none of the hassle -- ez access to backend stuff. all of the control, none of the bs.

                                                              One example couldn't truly substantiate such a lofty claim, but it might make your posts worth reading.

                                                              • 31. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                Danny Whitehead. Level 4

                                                                dainiswmichel wrote:

                                                                 

                                                                right now, i am doing a project where it looks like inDesign is just about the only commercial product available that can get the job done.

                                                                And the chances of our helping you with that project are reduced with every post you make that vaguely pontificates without a single specific question, complaint or proposed solution.

                                                                • 32. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                  Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                  And replying to the original poster feeds his desire to pontificate even more.

                                                                  • 33. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                    dainiswmichel Level 1

                                                                    Steve, commenting about people in third person on threads they either started or are engaged in is:

                                                                     

                                                                    a) acceptable forum behavior

                                                                    b) rude

                                                                    c) other

                                                                    • 34. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                      dainiswmichel Level 1

                                                                      Peter, that makes sense, it's just that participating in such a manner essentially forces me to provide services for free in an environment that likely isn't interested. If Adobe MVP's vehemently advocate procedures that pretty much necessitate the "use" of Adobe MVP's, just to get tasks done that could be either automated -- or made much more effective from a user interface design perspective -- then really -- if i were to come in and even suggest saving clicks and increasing efficiency -- then quite likely people who see their jobs and livelihoods as dependent on time-consuming procedures -- would come in and protest.

                                                                      • 35. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                        dainiswmichel Level 1
                                                                        Instead you're trying to tell us that a hammer is a lousy screwdriver.

                                                                         

                                                                        no i am not

                                                                        • 36. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                          dainiswmichel Level 1
                                                                          Quark XExpress

                                                                           

                                                                          thanks for the suggestion -- i found solutions for my original requests above -- and i also marked the answer i felt was most correct and most helpful. beyond that -- this is kind of a debate-thread i guess :-)

                                                                          • 37. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                            dainiswmichel Level 1
                                                                            One example couldn't truly substantiate such a lofty claim, but it might make your posts worth reading.

                                                                             

                                                                            yeah, i've been considering writing a book. it's odd though, because many of the improvements i've been able to make are buried in professional projects i've done over the years. also, i've been concentrating on other aspects of my life and career...

                                                                             

                                                                            maybe i'll do a write up on my blog.

                                                                             

                                                                            i created a computer training methodology that i paid my way through grad school with...anywayz...maybe...i have been thinking about becoming more vocal on user interface design -- but it really is likely that i would get massive backlash (as evidenced here).

                                                                            • 38. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                              dainiswmichel Level 1
                                                                              And the chances of our helping you with that project are reduced with every post you make that vaguely pontificates without a single specific question, complaint or proposed solution.

                                                                              Danny, the original issue has been resolved since I marked Peter's answer as correct. This thread is, I guess, some kind of "watercooler debate" or something -- for now -- I need to head back to my workstation.

                                                                              • 39. Re: does indesign have functionality like "includetext" & "includepicture" fields?
                                                                                dainiswmichel Level 1

                                                                                Also, Steve, projecting into other people's desires and being critical of your assumptions about them is:

                                                                                 

                                                                                a) the creation of a strawman argument

                                                                                b) assumptive, logically flawed logic

                                                                                c) indicative of the need for therapy

                                                                                d) bullying

                                                                                e) all of the above

                                                                                 

                                                                                Unfortunately, even though that psychological habit is becoming more & more common, honestly, it's neither fair nor kind. I understand it can be appealing to want to bully someone, but please don't target me.

                                                                                 

                                                                                I'm sure you're a really friendly fellow & would like to correspond peacefully, productively, and kindly.

                                                                                 

                                                                                thnx,

                                                                                dainis

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