10 Replies Latest reply on Jan 4, 2017 7:53 PM by Joel Cherney

    Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes

    Crazylegsmurphy

      Hey,

      I am creating a calendar and I would like to add tide tables to each day.

       

      I have all the times and tides in an excel file, but the problem is that I can't figure out a way to populate the text boxes in the design.

      For example, I have one 11x17 page for February. On that page I have each day and on each day I have two AM times, two PM times and the tides for each of those times (8 text boxes).

       

      I need to figure out how to take the data from the excel file and populate the appropriate text boxes, so the correct times and tides are on the correct day.

       

      I've tried data merge, but I can't seem to control the placement of how the text boxes populate.

      Any ideas?

       

      Thanks,

       

      CLM

        • 1. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
          fenjas29325284 Level 4

          Once I made a similar calendar and wrote a little tutorial.

          It's created with a german version of InDesign and I translated the text in a rush - hope you'll understand it.

          It will give you just an idea of a workflow - certainly it does not include all your options.

           

          Wochenkalender mit InDesign und Excel

           

          Fenja

          • 2. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
            Crazylegsmurphy Level 1

            Hey,

             

            Thanks for the reply. My wife is German so she can understand it.

             

            Unfortunately it appears like you're doing a typical data merge. If so, this doesn't really help as I already have the calendar designed, and all the text fields in place.

             

            I don't want to generate more pages or text frames, I just want to populate the ones I already have.

            • 3. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
              macpawel Adobe Community Professional

              Maybe is it possible to prepare table in one text frame?

              It's easy to put data from excel to indesign table

               

              pawel

              • 4. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
                Crazylegsmurphy Level 1

                Hey Pawel,

                 

                It isn't difficult, however it isn't really practical in this case. There is a LOT of data when dealing with tides/times. To create a table for each one wouldn't be much faster than just manually importing the data as I would have to first import the data into Excel, then create a table for each day, then export that to Indesign.

                 

                This would make a bunch of extra steps. All I need is for Indesign to populate each text frame using the columns in the Excel sheet in order. Then I can do one column for each month.

                 

                I can do this with Data Merge, but it won't populate pre-designed text frames. It wants to generate them, which means I would have to import the data, then manually move them all to the correct spots. That will take a long time as well.

                • 5. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
                  Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  You could potentially format the data in Excel, then use a VBA script to export 365 nice high-res images, then manually place 365 images into the calendar.  I can't think of any way to programmatically assign text frames in ID to corresponding cells in Excel. (Outside of doing way more heavy lifting than, say, doing the data merge in a separate document, and then copy/pasting 365 separate days from the new doc back into your calendar.)

                  • 6. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
                    Crazylegsmurphy Level 1

                    Not a bad idea, but I wouldn't feel comfortable using images of text, especially if right before going to the printers I decide to alter the style of the text or something.

                     

                    I don't really need to assign a text frame to a corresponding Excel cell, I just simply need to have the text frames fill up with the correct information.

                     

                    One idea I was experimenting with was linking all the text frames for a given month. Then, cutting the cells and pasting them into the text frames. It then populates each one, essentially making each text box a paragraph. It is clunky, and not ideal, but it is an option. If I decide to go with this option, I am really going to have to check to assure that the text is sitting in the correct spots.

                     

                    I wish data merge could solve this though. I can't understand why no one, in the history of Indesign has wanted to populate text boxes in an existing design, from an Excel file. It strikes me as so odd that there is no option to simply assign a text box to a column as per usual, but indesign just fills in each additional text box until it runs out of them.

                    • 7. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
                      Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      I can't understand why no one, in the history of Indesign has wanted to populate text boxes in an existing design, from an Excel file.

                      I have tagged up manually placed text frames to import XML in a workflow such as you describe. I didn't suggest that because I think of these tasks in terms of the number of clicks they need to be completed, and I don't see how manually tagging up, what, 2660 separate text frames? could possibly be more efficient than any of the other suggestions in this thread.

                       

                      Can you post some screen shots of your project? That might generate some fresh ideas.

                      • 8. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
                        Crazylegsmurphy Level 1

                        Sure.

                         

                        Below is March. The tides with sample data are at the bottom of each day. The "MAR - Week 1" is an illustrator layer that will contain a graphical representation of each tide shift.

                         

                        As you can see, there is no real way that this could be generated using data merge. There are days with only three tides, and some months have six weeks.

                        Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 2.23.31 AM.png

                         

                        Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 2.25.04 AM.png

                        • 9. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
                          fenjas29325284 Level 4

                          Unfortunately it appears like you're doing a typical data merge. If so, this doesn't really help as I already have the calendar designed, and all the text fields in place.

                           

                          I don't want to generate more pages or text frames, I just want to populate the ones I already have.

                          Oh, I see. For my calendar i got my dates also from Excel.

                           

                          Your screenshot looks a bit like created with InDesign Calendar Wizard by Scott Selberg.

                          However, there is a holiday feature, that's highly customable - have a look in the User Guide.

                          Computers make no difference between holidays and tide times - one *.txt file is as good as another.

                           

                          Fenja

                          • 10. Re: Importing tide data and filling pre-designed text boxes
                            Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            As you can see, there is no real way that this could be generated using data merge. There are days with only three tides, and some months have six weeks.

                             

                            No disrespect, but I disagree entirely. It's totally doable with data merge, assuming your tide data is formatted correctly. It's just not fast. You could make a separate InDesign document with paper size perfectly matching one day of your calendar, then do a multi-record merge, then save that 365-page doc and place it into your calendar. If I recall correctly you could simply fill up the place gun with the entire tide-data file and then click 365 times.

                             

                            So, while it's not elegant or easy, it's doable.