7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 30, 2016 4:06 AM by Mondottica

    Creating a catalogue from an image bank and excel data

    Mondottica

      Hi all,

       

      At Mondottica, we continuously create ‘Linesheets’ for our customers to showcase the latest eyewear. I've attached an image to give a brief overview of our current process, and a video illustrating a simplified example of the way our final PDF outputs are created.

       

      At any one time, we could be working with more than 100 eyewear frames to be flowed into an InDesign document so something which takes several hours, I know can be reduced to minutes.

       

      I suspect scripting or InCatalog could be the answer but before going down a rabbit hole, I would like to hear from others. I know I'm not the first person to come across this problem so I know there's answer out there.

       

      Thanks in advance!

       

      Tabrez

       

      Process Overview.jpg

        • 1. Re: Creating a catalogue from an image bank and excel data
          John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          The InDesign-native feature Data Merge could be all you need for this.

           

          This tutorial looks like a good fit.

          • 2. Re: Creating a catalogue from an image bank and excel data
            Mondottica Level 1

            Thanks John! I'll have a go at this tutorial, and let you know if it's the right one.

            • 3. Re: Creating a catalogue from an image bank and excel data
              Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Hi Tabrez,

              in case you have to do any if => else decisions in the process you have to use a more advanced tool (e.g. InCatalog) and/or hire a scripter. Sometimes even when using tools like InCatalog one has to use some scripts to fine-tune results of composition.

               

              Regards,
              Uwe

              • 4. Re: Creating a catalogue from an image bank and excel data
                Mondottica Level 1

                Thanks Uwe (great name btw!)

                 

                I'm completely new to scripting so will rely heavily on what's out there. The way I see it, we're not the first company to have a requirement like this so there must be an answer out there. I'm happy that there will be some manual tweaking along the way which just might not be possible with scripting or any other plugins.

                 

                What site(s) would recommend for learning some basic scripting if I do go down the InCatalog route with fine tuning?

                 

                Thanks again

                • 5. Re: Creating a catalogue from an image bank and excel data
                  Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Mondottica wrote:

                  … What site(s) would recommend for learning some basic scripting if I do go down the InCatalog route with fine tuning?

                   

                  Hi Tabrez,

                   

                  first of all you have to decide what scripting language you like to learn. Most promising is Adobe's flavor of JavaScript, that's called ExtendScript since it will work on both platforms, Mac OSX and Windows. Then you need to learn the basics of JavaScript and with that the specificities that come along with ExtendScript and the InDesign Document Object Model (DOM). There are great resources out on the web, also for the "style" how to write JavaScript.

                   

                  But the most important thing you have to have is: patience.
                  The second most important thing: patience (again).

                   

                  Patience with yourself and the ability to turn frustration to ambition.

                   

                  Doing JavaScript and ExtendScript "right" requires a lot of experience. With InDesign and several versions of inDesign and with writing code. For a beginner it's absolutely necessary to know the debugging and code writing tool ExtendScript Toolkit, that comes along with every installed version of inDesign. With that and with the ESTK's Help features you could download some PDFs about ExtendScript and using the ESTK. And some code samples. Deeper understanding how things work together will come later, after you wetted your feet (or even your neck) standing into cold water.

                   

                  There are some books around for beginners (Peter Kahrel, Grant Gamble, Gregor Fellenz (German)), some video courses (Gerald Singelmann (German)) also some in English on Lynda.com, some websites for experienced scripters (e.g. Marc Autret's www.indiscripts.com) and phantastic DOM documentations from Jongware and Gregor Fellenz where you can easily find objects, properties, values, methods with some explanations.

                   

                  And there is the InDesign Scripting Forum where you can exchange experience with fellow scripters:

                  InDesign Scripting

                   

                  Best,
                  Uwe

                  • 6. Re: Creating a catalogue from an image bank and excel data
                    Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    And be forewarned:
                    Writing scripts can be highly addictive. :-)

                     

                    Uwe

                    • 7. Re: Creating a catalogue from an image bank and excel data
                      Mondottica Level 1

                      That has to be the most exciting warning I've ever come across :-)