7 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2016 8:30 AM by Obi-wan Kenobi

    Making a catalog from an existing file


      I recently got asked to work on a catalog at my company, which I agreed to. I have worked on catalogs in the past but all much much smaller then the one we have. Our catalog has 15k+ products at 606 pages. The person that did this job before me used some kind of database plugin for InDesign that pulled all the data from an outside source. The picture, manufacturer number, in house number, price, and item description were all populated using what ever plugin he used. I have the InDesign files of last years catalog, and I have been able to make the necessary changes thus far for next year. But today I was informed that there would be around 2k price changes. What I am wondering is if there is an easy way to populate these new prices. Each price is within a table that is within a text box and inside another text box so the product flows from one page to another. If there is not a free easy way to do this would there be something I can purchase for this?


      The issue that I am seeing is the old prices are already in the file with the picture and descriptions etc how would they then be pulled from a document without manually linking each table to the document? And if that is the case where I have to manually link each item, wouldn't just changing the prices be more cost effective in the short term?  Any recommendations would be helpful.

        • 1. Re: Making a catalog from an existing file
          Loic.Aigon Adobe Community Professional



          You should investigate the plugin question. Does your company own that plugin ? Would they be willing to acquire it.


          I know Easycatalog which I use and sell and updating data such as prices is just really easy and painless. I wouldn't imagine updating 2K prices by hand



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          • 2. Re: Making a catalog from an existing file
            Migintosh Level 4

            I don't have a solution, but a few things for you to consider. It may or may not be possible to update your current document with new prices in one click, even with the plugin. Some work similarly to InDesign's Data Merge, where it's possible to both create a static file from a data file (which you wouldn't be able to update), or a dynamic file (which you would be able to update), but I can't say whether either would be able to deal with adding or deleting products from the catalog. You may be able to change some prices in existing entries, but it may have trouble doing that if there are more or fewer entries than last year. Catalogs I've worked on more than 10 years ago (done in Quark with Em Software's plugin called X-Data) were done by generating a new Quark file each year, rather than updating last year's file. All of the formatting was still done by the plugin, but it did so from an updated data file with all of the new prices.


            P.S. This isn't a plug for Em, but they had a plugin called InData for InDesign, which I think they still have, but it's pricey, and isn't something you can master in an hour.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Making a catalog from an existing file
              chrism10409190 Level 1

              My company does not own the plugin, and getting them to spend money is like pulling teeth. But with a simple cost analysis I might be able to persuade them. But the problem I am having is if a plugin can't look at the data already in the document and do a "data merge" if you will, then each price would still have to be linked to a database thus doing pretty much the same amount of work.

              • 4. Re: Making a catalog from an existing file
                chrism10409190 Level 1

                In theory I would link each image, description, manufacture number, our part number, price, and vendor logo to a database using a plugin like your talking about and auto generate a catalog using the database and InDesign styles and tweak as needed. That is what the person before me did (also I believe he used Easycatalog), but I do not have the plugin nor do I have access to his database (currently working on building mine). What I am trying to do is simply use the file I have and just change the data that has changed from last year IE the prices (also I believe he used Easycatalog). Here is what I am facing, if a plugin cannot do what I need it to, in this case a data merge of sorts, then I will have to go in and manually change all the data that differs from last year. Ideally next year the catalog could be generated using a plugin like you mentioned, but I need to deal with whats in front of me first and I am not sure the best way.

                • 5. Re: Making a catalog from an existing file
                  didiermazier Adobe Community Professional

                  You can either work with easy catalog, but it is not cheap, or InData which is a very robust solution that I use for years to build big catalogs (30K+). It is scriptable and very versatile. The con are that you need to write a few lines of (simple) code; On the Em software site there is a fully functional try out (limited to 50 records), so you can check if it suits your needs.

                  • 6. Re: Making a catalog from an existing file
                    Loic.Aigon Adobe Community Professional

                    Real question is how much money do they spend by having you running after 2k prices to update while you could be working on much higher value projects


                    But to get back to your current trouble. Updating prices through an indesign script would mean knowing the price before and the updated price. I mean the data source should say here is what is the price you are looking for and what is the price you should mark now.


                    However saying so, one can easily figure the possible hiccups. It's likely that dozens of items share a same price. However they may not have a same updated value. So It would mean knowing exactly how to target prices not only by its value but also thanks to other criterias. If the price is part of a group that is linked to the SKU for example, that might work.


                    No magic solution here.



                    • 7. Re: Making a catalog from an existing file
                      Obi-wan Kenobi Level 5



                      Can you show us ID pages (with Invisible items – Text blocks, Chains, Chars, … ?