Hi, I'm asking this on behalf of a coworker. She has an InDesign document that has many tables with product information, including pricing. She's interested in changing the pricing from an external source, primarily because different customers get different pricing. Each row does have a unique identifier (product ID) so as a database guy I believe that should be helpful. The rows also include images, so I'm not sure if that's a problem if the solution is to use something like a CSV.
I'm savvy with scripting and programming and such, so that shouldn't be a problem, but if there's an easier solution for her to maintain it that would be ideal. She's not experienced in scripting and such, but could probably maintain something if I get it started for her.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Most simple catalogs can be built with Data Merge. InDesign can accept comma-delimited or tab-delimited raw text. The first row of entries in your CSV is the name of each data merge field, and if you name a data merge field with an ampersand at the beginning of the name, then that column can include file paths to images (on your local drive for certain; I suspect that it would handle a \\servername\path as well but I can't remember and cannot test right now).
If it's more than InDesign's native Data Merge tool can handle, there are third-party tools like InCatalog and InData that allow for more flexibility.
Datamerge won't allow further data updates. If you need to save money, you could think of using XML but it has its limits too.
I know it's a budget but when it comes to catalog, I do recommend plugins. I am personnaly more involved in EasyCatalog but I have alaways heard good stuff from InCatalog too.