32 Replies Latest reply on Jan 31, 2017 12:55 PM by Pickysticks

    Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere

    Pickysticks

      Hi,

       

      I'm trying to link content from a table cell to various other places on my indesign document. Our company manufactures accessories and each item has a myriad specifications and forms (most of which repeat information found on other forms), I'm trying to devise a system where all the information goes into one form, and the other forms are linked to the relevant data- instead of manually having to fill in the same information on several forms (and raising the likelihood of mistakes).

       

      I set up a master page which contains a table with all relevant specifications and I had hoped to link cells to elsewhere in the document. It didnt seem possible to link individual cells, so I tried dropping text boxes into the cells and linking those. I was able to link them outside of the table, but the linked boxes arnt updating when I 'update all links'.help.png

       

      In the above image you'll notice that I had content collected the box associated with 'style #:' and linked it outside of the table. When I changed the value to 'style12345' and hit update all links, the linked box retained the original value of 'style1234'. I don't have any problem linking text boxes when the table isnt involved, but I like the functionality offered by tables (all below lines dropping when I have a line break, selecting all text in a cell without selecting the category).

       

      If anyone can help with my issue or suggest another means of accomplishing the same goal, I'd be thrilled to hear it.

       

      Best,

      David

        • 1. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
          vinny38 Level 4

          Hi

          I would use text variables

          Create and edit text variables in InDesign

           

          regards,

          Vinny

          • 2. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
            Pickysticks Level 1

            Is there a way to define text variables using a form such as the one above? Without having to open the text variables menu and define each variable?

            • 3. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
              vinny38 Level 4

              You could set variables based on paragraph styles:

              var.jpg

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                Pickysticks Level 1

                I'm not sure I fully understand your process- I have very little experience working with paragraph and character styles. I've created a text variable based on a paragraph style, but I'm unsure of how to contain a string within a paragraph style (so that it is represented by the text variable).

                • 5. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                  Pickysticks Level 1

                  Untitled.png

                  This is what I've got. The top text box has my style # variable, the bottom text box uses the style # paragraph style, and contains the text 'asdasd'. Given that the variable says it grabs the first text on the page, I expected that this is all that needed doing, but as you can see my variable isnt updating.

                  • 6. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                    Pickysticks Level 1

                    I think I've got it figured out now. I was working on a master page so I'm not sure if my indesign recognized the header.

                     

                    Thanks!

                     

                    I'll still be leaving the topic open, because I'm worried my workplace/network may wipe my text variables/preferences.

                    • 7. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                      Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                      Hi,

                       

                      Note if text inserted jumped on several lines, use "variables" has no sense and fails in your process!

                       

                      (^/)

                      2 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                        Pickysticks Level 1

                        Right you are.. Several of my fields often end up taking more than one line, and its just sitting the letters on top of eachother in a single line. Is there any workaround for this?

                        • 9. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                          Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                          Yeap!

                           

                          Do you mean this?

                           

                          Capture d’écran 2017-01-26 à 23.42.07.png

                          Capture d’écran 2017-01-26 à 23.43.17.png

                           

                          [On left] The table is on a specific master page. [On right] Current pages with text.

                           

                          If you change the table content as done in the second screenshot, only 1 click to update the current text!

                           

                          (^/)

                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                            Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                            Note we play with real editable text and not "variable" considered by ID as a single char!!!

                             

                            (^/)

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                              Pickysticks Level 1

                              I'm not quite sure what you've done- would you mind clarifying your process for me?

                               

                              Just to update everyone on what I've tried so far, I have two versions which both have cons:

                              links.png

                              The version which uses linked text boxes which arnt placed in a table and thus doesn't offer the functionality of a table.

                              table.png

                              This version is one of the forms with text variables which would be filled by rolling header paragraph styles (placed inside of a table) defined on a previous page. Being that text variables are a single character, my entries are unable to line break.

                              • 12. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                                Imho, don't use "variables" or "text frames links", just simply cross-references!

                                 

                                Really simple!

                                 

                                At the moment, no time to explain more! Maybe vinny38 could finish! 

                                 

                                (^/)

                                1 person found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                  vinny38 Level 4

                                  Nope... Week-end Time :-)

                                  • 14. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                    Pickysticks Level 1

                                    Its okay as long as I know what tool you're using I'll probably figure the rest out. Cross references caught my eye when I was first starting this project but I assumed it would only really work for page number references. Thanks, guys!

                                     

                                    I'll be back if run into any trouble.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                      Pickysticks Level 1

                                      Is there any way to protect the cross reference marker from being deleted? If I ctrl-A a cell to replace its contents I lose the reference. Additionally, given that the references target a document, if I rename the .id file to the appropriate style number, would the references carry over?

                                       

                                      I'm also having trouble referencing an empty cell, and having the reference update when I put content in the cell (even if I apply a paragraph style to the cell).

                                       

                                      Thanks for all the help guys- I wish this was as simple as linking a cell (I'd think this would be a popular function).

                                      • 16. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                        Pickysticks Level 1

                                        asld.png

                                        This is whats happening when I replace a referenced cells contents (with ctrl-A), or attempt to reference an empty cell. I get a flag indicating that the reference is missing.

                                        • 17. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                          Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                                          When you create a link as the CR, ID inserts a "blue-metachar" marker ":"

                                           

                                          Capture d’écran 2017-01-27 à 20.52.06.png

                                           

                                           

                                          If you replace "Sith" by "Jedi", take care to not remove this marker!

                                           

                                          Yes we could write, if time, a script that would find all the contents of this 2nd column on this master page, search each term in the current pages, e.g. as: "Sith" and replace them by the corresponding cross-reference (to be created) to make the link!

                                           

                                          Just 1 click!

                                           

                                          … But, personally, no time!

                                           

                                          (^/)

                                          • 18. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                            jane-e Adobe Community Professional

                                            Pickysticks wrote:

                                             

                                            Its okay as long as I know what tool you're using I'll probably figure the rest out. Cross references caught my eye when I was first starting this project but I assumed it would only really work for page number references. Thanks, guys!

                                             

                                             

                                            Obi-wan has the right idea to use Cross References, imho.

                                             

                                            Cross references can go to a named anchor or to named Paragraph styles.

                                            You can use the default formats or create your own. "Full paragraph" would work for you.

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                            I don't know of any way to lock the hidden marker, and deleting it will break the cross-reference. I can think of two choices:

                                            1. Find / Change

                                            2. Work in Story Editor

                                             

                                             

                                            If you are working with a group of people, you might want to hire someone who can write a plug-in or script to make it fool-proof. It would be worth it to not have someone ruin the document. Otherwise, it requires care.

                                            1 person found this helpful
                                            • 19. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                              Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                                              Hi Jane,

                                               

                                              An interesting comment for David!

                                               

                                              If the Table terms number isn't too great and their content clearly identified and different, he could create only one single CR for each term! and, when done, for each, play a simple grep find/replace to find each one, e.g., in my sample: "Sith" (as static text) and replace it by "Sith" (as a CR). I should use a condition to "lock" this process! [We can talk about this later if David plays in that way!!]

                                               

                                              (^/)

                                               

                                              [ I know: As BarbBinder already said: "does anyone ever know what Obi-wan is doing?  ]

                                              2 people found this helpful
                                              • 20. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                jane-e Adobe Community Professional

                                                Obi-wan Kenobi wrote:

                                                when done, for each, play a simple grep find/replace to find each one, e.g., in my sample: "Sith" (as static text) and replace it by "Sith" (as a CR). I should use a condition to "lock" this process! [We can talk about this later if David plays in that way!!]

                                                 

                                                 

                                                My GREP knowledge is about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 — maybe a 3. I've learned a lot by working through what is posted on the forums.

                                                 

                                                The GREP search can change static text to cross-reference?

                                                 

                                                How do you create a condition to lock it down?

                                                • 21. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                  jane-e Adobe Community Professional

                                                  Pickysticks

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  Another thought that occurred to me is Data Merge.

                                                   

                                                  Do you have multiple tables with different info or one table in each document?

                                                   

                                                  You would put the info into an Excel table, put a code for the header (Meeting, etc.) into your table, and Merge them in the Data Merge panel.

                                                   

                                                  All the edits would be in Excel.

                                                   

                                                  Post if you want more info on this process, if you think it might work for you.

                                                  1 person found this helpful
                                                  • 22. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                    Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                                                    Jane,

                                                     

                                                    About post#20:

                                                    A cross-ref. is a "live" text [not as a variable]. So it could be simple to select one and search all text and replace.

                                                    About the use of a condition, if you insert it in the Grep request above, you could have this [after copying one CR]:

                                                    Find: Text (The CR Text)

                                                    Replace by; ~C

                                                    Find Format: No condition

                                                    Replace by Format: Condition

                                                    That means that if you insert later new text, you will only need – without risk – to launch this regex again: it  will only catch the new data!

                                                    If the user use conditions (no printed), it's easy for other users to make copy/paste. So less error risk!

                                                     

                                                    About post#21:

                                                    Data merge or the use of EasyCatalog/XML could be recommended but without no real info about David's catalog, no other comment.

                                                     

                                                    (^/)

                                                    1 person found this helpful
                                                    • 23. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                      jane-e Adobe Community Professional

                                                      Obi-wan,

                                                       

                                                      When you use the word  "condition" do you mean

                                                      • a GREP condition

                                                      • a condition in conditional text?

                                                       

                                                      Again my GREP knowledge needs work! When I see the word "condition", my mind jumps to Conditional Text. I don't think that's what you mean though, so I am clarifying.

                                                      • 24. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                        Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                                                        Jane,

                                                         

                                                        Your mind jumps well! Conditional text!

                                                         

                                                        The idea is simple:

                                                         

                                                        If you search for "no conditional" text and apply a condition to it, when you'll try to find it again with the same request, you won't be able to!

                                                         

                                                        (^/)

                                                        2 people found this helpful
                                                        • 25. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                          Pickysticks Level 1

                                                          Hey guys! Great to see so much discussion and help flying around here. I had only anticipated to work on this project during my weekday hours, so I've not checked in since Friday.

                                                           

                                                          First, I'll shed some light on the context of my table:

                                                           

                                                          For each style (unique accessory), our company maintains several different documents (a CAD document, a product specification page, a linesheet, and art files). Additionally, we maintain tracking charts and contact sheets, which organize information from several styles in an easily digestible format.

                                                           

                                                          Several of these pages will display the same string of information which may be found on another page. ie, the 'full size' of a scarf is found on every aforementioned document. The 'fixture type' is found on the CAD, product specification page, and linesheet.

                                                           

                                                          Our company (I'm a new hire) runs into a myriad of issues because there is no centralized location to input data. First and foremost, when there are more changes to make, more mistakes can be made. People often don't know which document has up to date edits and subsequently the data in other documents may be altered to include erroneous information. It is incredibly time consuming to open every document and alter every value individually, especially when our manager gives us a bogus edit or wants to slightly alter the wording of something. The list goes on.

                                                           

                                                          There are other issues outside of data entry with our templates, but I think its best to start with the data, and to make sure I can properly link any number of documents to one source of correct and up to date information, and to worry about the design after (function before form).

                                                           

                                                          That being said, maybe you guys could offer me an alternative solution, or we could continue pushing down the avenues we've already established.

                                                          • 26. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                            Pickysticks Level 1

                                                            I'm a little behind on a lot of the tools you guys are referring to, so I'm not aware of their functionality. This is more of a pet project for me, something I knew could be bettered through use of indesign, but I typically work in illustrator and photoshop- using indesign for simply layouts.

                                                             

                                                            Obi-wan, if I understand this correctly:

                                                            Obi-wan Kenobi wrote:

                                                             

                                                            If the Table terms number isn't too great and their content clearly identified and different, he could create only one single CR for each term! and, when done, for each, play a simple grep find/replace to find each one, e.g., in my sample: "Sith" (as static text) and replace it by "Sith" (as a CR). I should use a condition to "lock" this process! [We can talk about this later if David plays in that way!!]

                                                            Do you mean to say that entering information in my cell would find/change the previous value in the background? I unfortunately have no experience scripting in indesign, and someone would have to write that for me. I'll continue working with solutions that I'm able to implement.

                                                             

                                                            I've also not worked with conditional text- someone may have to enlighten me as to its functionality and how it might serve to accomplish my goals. If I'm understanding obi-wan correctly, it would be used to apply a tag of sorts to my values, which would allow other processes to either ignore or reference the associated string?

                                                             

                                                            That being said, the solution I reach will have to be one which doesnt require my coworkers to use find/change, or access any of indesigns tools. Data must simply be entered into a cell and processed. They arnt at all familiar with the program.

                                                             

                                                            @jane-e I'd be interested in hearing whether you think data merge would be a viable solution. If you think it could work I'll certainly give it a try.

                                                            • 27. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                              Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                                                              David,

                                                               

                                                              You'll need a deeper consulting approach [with the creation of a centralized database …]!

                                                               

                                                              I can't discuss and help you more in the context of this forum!

                                                               

                                                              (^/)

                                                              • 28. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                                jane-e Adobe Community Professional

                                                                Pickysticks wrote:

                                                                 

                                                                That being said, the solution I reach will have to be one which doesnt require my coworkers to use find/change, or access any of indesigns tools. Data must simply be entered into a cell and processed. They arnt at all familiar with the program.

                                                                 

                                                                @jane-e I'd be interested in hearing whether you think data merge would be a viable solution. If you think it could work I'll certainly give it a try.

                                                                 

                                                                Try Data Merge on a small sample and see if it works

                                                                https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/data-merge.html

                                                                 

                                                                The panel is pretty self explanatory, and if any one has done Mail Merge in Word, they know the concept. You edit the data in Excel, and merge a base document into a new document.

                                                                1 person found this helpful
                                                                • 29. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                                  Pickysticks Level 1

                                                                  So I've got the basic idea of data merge down and its certainly promising. I'm wondering now if theres any way to make the excel spreadsheet look more like a table so that entering data is less confusing (being limited to a column header and a value in the following row makes for a very long/unwieldy excel doc).

                                                                   

                                                                  The only thought that comes to mind is that I could potentially link a normal looking excel spreadsheets cells to my data merge base- inputting data on the normal sheet and having it be reflected in the data merge doc, and finally on indesign.

                                                                   

                                                                  Any ideas?

                                                                   

                                                                  Untitled.png

                                                                  • 30. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                                    jane-e Adobe Community Professional

                                                                    I only have an iPad tonight, so I do not know if this will work in Data Merge. (It should.)

                                                                     

                                                                    In Excel you can link to another cell.

                                                                    Click in the cell you want to be in (the one for InDesign)

                                                                    Type =

                                                                    Click in the cell with the data (The one for your users)

                                                                    Excel will pick up the syntax. You can then copy the formula across the row or column.

                                                                    These two tables can be on different sheets.

                                                                    1 person found this helpful
                                                                    • 31. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                                      vinny38 Level 4

                                                                      Hi there,

                                                                       

                                                                      If you intend to use the Data merge feature - which looks like a good idea in regard of many of your considerations - you should keep a couple of things in mind:

                                                                      Yes, the idea is first to create an good-looking Excel document (XLS, XLSX, XLSM...), meaning with identified headers, table style and so on... All datas will be stored here, and this is the file that your colleagues will work with. Nice and easy.

                                                                       

                                                                      Pros (non-exhaustive) :

                                                                      • You can lock cells, in order to avoid unwanted modifications. I.e. locking headers is a good start since Data merging process is based on those headers.
                                                                      • You can add image paths to your document. See Merge data > Image paths
                                                                      • You can use macros
                                                                      • Excel Filters are very helpful to display the products you want to append
                                                                      • You only need to create one document : what you call the "data merge doc" is just a "save as" copy of this document, that will be saved in a specific type : CSV or TXT basically.
                                                                      • Centralizing data into Excel doc may be useful to output XML documents that could be used on a website.
                                                                      • Using the Index + Equiv formula in Excel, combined with locked cells will give you great control of your datas, minimizing risks
                                                                        exc.jpg

                                                                      Cons/warnings (non-exhaustive):

                                                                      • You can't work with sub-levels. See index + equiv point above.
                                                                      • You can't place several values in one cell. Never use hard returns, meaning your colleagues must be aware of that.yres.jpg
                                                                      • Warning: Don't use commas in text if you intend to save as CSV. Same comment about colleagues
                                                                      • Now, the most important thing: Using data merge means that you must work with a unique INDD Layout. Is it exactly what you want? One page per product (product = 1 excel line). All informations should fit in this page. Since you haven't showed us how the intended result should look like, it is still hard to confirm Data merge is the right work around. The following quote is quite unclear to me:
                                                                        I'm trying to link content from a table cell to various other places on my indesign document

                                                                       

                                                                      Hope that helps, let us know if you manage to go through this.

                                                                      Vinny

                                                                      1 person found this helpful
                                                                      • 32. Re: Linking Cell From Table to Elsewhere
                                                                        Pickysticks Level 1

                                                                        Thanks for the information Vinny!

                                                                         

                                                                        Soft brakes have been applied to my project as we're getting busy with designs at the moment. This is more of a side thing that I don't think my manager would fully appreciate until its complete. We're pretty disorganized.

                                                                         

                                                                        Now that I'm back in the office I'll share some screengrabs of some of our forms, to give you guys a better understanding of what I'm working with.

                                                                         

                                                                        line sheet.png

                                                                        contact sheet.png

                                                                        cad.png

                                                                        excel.png

                                                                        So, these are few of the forms I work with, and the excel documents I've been working on.

                                                                         

                                                                        The bottom excel document is my csv file, and I had attempted to define names which linked to cells in the organized excel file on top. I put the names in each of the csv files cells and saved the file, only to find that the csv wouldn't retain the name information- only the final value. I suppose using a non csv while structured in the same way, and saving the file as csv when outputting data would work, but I'm guessing there are less cumbersome solutions.

                                                                         

                                                                        When I'm more free to work on this project I'll see what I can do with your suggestions, Vinny, and will report back here. Thanks!