18 Replies Latest reply on Jan 22, 2017 7:53 AM by Colin Flashman

    In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.

    davidjstudios Level 1

      We have run across a stumbling block to get a document completed with a near term deadline.

       

      Situation:  using CS6 creative suite.

       

      Have a church directory with photos on pages, then with a roster of all members listed on the following pages.

       

      We want to use and excel spread sheet with all info to merge into the INDD file.

       

      The excel sheet is exported as a CSV file format.

       

      while in indesign, we have set up a single text box, selected the data merge function, selected the data source (our csv file), and then entered the appropriate fields into the text box, formatted fonts/bold, etc.

       

      we want the final to look like two columns, with a single text box in each column, linked/threaded, so all of the data will spread across all the text boxes, then we can place and space accordingly.

       

      When doing this, we only get one record to show in the text box, but can preview each record in the same box.

       

      How do we get it to go into all the threaded text boxes?

       

      Thank you,

        • 1. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
          Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

          InDesign's Data Merge feature can't data merge multiple records into the one text frame like you describe in your opening post. I've written a comprehensive list of what the multiple record feature can/cannot do here: https://colecandoo.com/2013/12/28/data-merge-multiple-record-madness/

           

          You can perhaps try one of the various plug-ins for InDesign that are intended for catalogues as they should be able to handle this task, or a lower-tech option that uses a javascript to take a data merge file and recombine it into one massive textframe. The downside to the script is that once the script is run, the data is no longer live, so if a change is made to the database, the whole thing has to be done again. The script is available here: Downloads | Ozalto  and it is the inlinemerge script.

          • 2. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
            Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

            Instead of using data merge, import the text as simple text and apply the formatting via Paragraph Styles, possible with nested Character Styles.

            To work efficient do following:

            1. Don't create empty cells, if they are empty fill them with the same letter combination which is not found anywhere else.
            2. Export as a text file, try to use a version which separates each cell with a full return.
            3. Set up your styles. Each cell entry from Excel has to have its own Paragraph Style.
            4. In the Paragraph Style definition specify the Next Paragraph Style. For the last Paragraph Style, the Next Paragraph Style has to be the first one.
            5. Select all your text in InDesign, click with the right mouse button (or its equivalent) on the Style in the Paragraph Style Panel and apply Style and Next Style from the context menu.
            6. Column breaks should be done via the Paragraph Style > Keep Options.

            Clean up at the end unneded paragraphs via a GREP find and replace.

            • 3. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
              MW Design Level 4

              Consider InData, a plug-in by Em Software. Download the trial, try it.

               

              I use that plug-in all the time. It is a time saver and works far, far better than ID's native "dumb" merge that is really meant for address labels and the like.

              • 4. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                davidjstudios Level 1

                Thanks for all of the replies and the links to plug-ins, etc.  However, being a bit stubborn, as we have done this task before in INDD cs6, we are flustered to recall exactly how we did this, therefore trying to find a solution.

                 

                Please see shapshot attached for the layout we have previously done, with the linked/threaded text boxes.dir roster snap.JPG

                 

                Just seems we are missing a step in the process to get this accomplished.  We get the data into indd, but will only show the first of the list in the text box.  We can click on the preview and it will flow through each contact individually in the same box, but just unable to get all to flow through.

                 

                Additional ideas or solutions are appreciated.

                • 5. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                  BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  If you can't remember how you did it, how do you know it was a data merge?

                  • 6. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                    davidjstudios Level 1

                    Gee Bob, seems logical to me based on the threaded snapshot.  In addition, we have shared with you that is was via a datamerge, and we have the samples of prior work, just unfortunate we seem to be missing a step of some sort.

                     

                    Really appreciate your dry sense of humor with your reply, and we do consider such reply to be extremely beneficial to resolving our question.  Give yourself an A+ for effort however.

                    • 7. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                      BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                      As already point out to you, there is no way this was done with InDesign data merge.

                       

                      You’d have more luck copy/pasting that text with the proper paragraph styling (with next styles used judiciously).

                      • 8. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                        BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        Another thought would be trying to set it up as a table. I haven't tested it but you can try it.

                        • 9. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                          John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          davidjstudios wrote:

                           

                          ...seems logical to me based on the threaded snapshot.

                          Actually, your screenshot shows a result Data Merge can't provide, so Bob's question isn't all that erroneous.

                           

                          Data Merge's Multiple Record layout features deliver each record in a discreet text frame, cloned from your original one, with as many such clone-frames as data-source records, lain out according to page-fit of the frames-size. (In other words, if 12 copies of your original frame will fit between the margins you set, then you'll get 12 framed records per page.) This results in a very grid-like structure of multiple frames. Conceivably, those frames could subsequently be cut-and-pasted (thus anchored) into threaded frames of your making to establish a "flow," but even then, the frame-per-record scheme would persist, as opposed to the free-flow text depicted in your screenshot.

                          • 10. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                            davidjstudios Level 1

                            Appreciate the follow up.  However, Adobe says it can be done, they are the ones who showed us last time, They will not provide support since we are CS6.  If we had CC, they would walk us through this process.

                             

                            While we don't like disagreeing in a forum, we do believe it can be done, just have to find someone who knows how to do it.

                             

                            Unfortunately, this is not you at present time.  Thanks though.

                            • 11. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                              davidjstudios Level 1

                              John,

                               

                              Hate to disagree, but this creation is one provided to us by Adobe support before they ceased supporting CS6.

                               

                              Guess we need to find someone who has CC and call support to show us again.

                               

                              We spoke with support yesterday, and it can be done, but not for us since on cs6.

                              • 12. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                                BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                Good luck. Do come back and let us know what you come up with.

                                • 13. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                                  John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Yes, I'll be very interested to learn about the aspects of Data Merge I've somehow overlooked..

                                   

                                  Maybe you could remind Support that the addition of QR Code capability to Data Merge is the only advancement of CC's Data Merge over CS6, and since you don't need it, the procedure you need for CS6 would be identical to CC.

                                  • 14. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                                    MW Design Level 4

                                    The only way I know of is a script to link all the merged frames, delete all but the first frame and reflow that frame to the pages.

                                     

                                    But really, that plug-in is the best money you will have spent if you have X number of these jobs to do. Data like your screen shot shows is merged and is all laid in seconds once the merge is written (which is reusable on future jobs). I don't know how long you have tried to resolve this, and I don't know what your or the business you own/work for is worth. I do know what my time is worth.

                                     

                                    So yeah, please let us know Adobe's solution. Rent CC for a month and give them a call.

                                     

                                    Mike

                                    • 15. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                                      Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

                                      I 100% stand by my statement in my first post that Data Merge feature can't data merge multiple records into the one text frame like you describe in your opening post. There have only been a few innovations in Data Merge in the entire lifespan of InDesign such as QR Codes, using UTF-16 text and some minor behind-the-scenes bug fixes.

                                      Thank you for supplying the screenshot of the finished file, but without seeing the "base" file (i.e. the file with the field codes that can be toggled on/off) there's no way to conclude that your finished file was indeed created with Data Merge that was strictly off-the-shelf with Adobe InDesign.

                                      What I think is more likely is that either Ozalto's script (here's the link again: Downloads | Ozalto  ) or a plug-in was used. Watch this video to see how Ozalto's inlinemerge script was used: Using Indesign for catalogs with inline merge - YouTube

                                      <LATE EDIT>

                                      Without importing the excel file and manually formatting it, the only other way that this could be accomplished with Adobe InDesign off-the-shelf would be if this was an XML import, but that has nothing to do with Data Merge.

                                      • 16. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                                        davidjstudios Level 1

                                        Well, took some time, but we are pleased to say that after much conversations with Adobe INDD support and much research, trial and error, that we have successfully found the solution to our original question and problem.

                                         

                                        Using data merge, merging a CSV file format, a new and original document blank, with no other data or pages, creating one single text box, then going through the standard data merge process using the multiple records process, (can use single record, but takes much longer and lots of pages), omitting blank fields, and formatting the text to our style,

                                         

                                        Once the document is created with the merged data, it places the information individual text boxes on the page, matching the original text box size and format.

                                         

                                        Then click on the text box thread link, and proceed to link the boxes together, stepping from box 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, and so forth as the data will then flow through the original text box until full, then flow to the next matching text box.  You will need to resize the original text box as the data flows, and each subsequent linked text box until all boxes contain all the data merged.

                                         

                                        Viola, works like a charm.  Had we done this at creation of the original document as a master page and layout, this would have worked in the existing document.

                                         

                                        The error we were making was using an existing document, not as master page, and trying to do this.  There are conflicts doing this with existing data, non master page, it will not work, but once in a new document, worked great.

                                         

                                        Thanks everyone for all of the feedback, deadline met and onto the next project.

                                        • 17. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                                          MW Design Level 4

                                          As mentioned above, there are free scripts that will link all those text boxes together. One can then delete all but the first one, drag out the frame size, and then have ID create a new frame on page two, flowing out to as many pages as needed. Then it is all in linked frames that one can then do as desired in that publication or put into another publication. This can take seconds of work with these scripts versus all the manual linking and sizing.

                                           

                                          The plug-in I mentioned obviates this and works in the original document.

                                           

                                          Mike

                                          • 18. Re: In Design - Data Merge with threaded text boxes, rosters, etc.
                                            Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

                                            To support what MW Design said in his last post, I have gone out of my way and dedicated the creation of my latest video to this exact topic, as it comes up from time to time and I think the video can make it a bit clearer for everyone once and for all: Episode 16: Data Merging into the same Text Frame - YouTube

                                            So ultimately there are many ways to accomplish this task, but none of them are a simple turn-key one-step solution using Adobe InDesign's Data Merge feature by itself - it involves post-processing the data; knowledge of XML; or the purchase of a dedicated plug-in.