I don't think it's doable with an .ai file.
However, here's a workaround: you could try saving your illustrator file in EPS format and select "Use artboards".
This would save multiple separate EPS file:
- filename.eps (Your original file not to be used in the data merge process)
- filename-01.eps (artboard 1)
- filename-02.eps (artboard 2)
- and so on...
Hope that helps
Of course, exporting as EPS includes all the EPS problems—no transparency, no color management, etc. I'd put that in the category of a "hack."
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with Illustrator there is an option to save every artboard as separate AI file.
Why not using this?
From my German AI CC 17.1.0:
"Jede Zeichenfläche in einer separaten Datei speichern"
( "Save every artboard to a separate file" )
That would be available, if you do a Save As to a new name for an already saved AI file.
would be saved to:
This function is already available with AI CS6.
Sweet... I didn't know this one. Sounds like the answer to me
at least it's a passable workaround.
Hm. Saving multiple artboards to multiple AI files…
Would that work if artwork is exceeding the artboard and extend to other artboards?
Yes. Just tested that. Mutual elements of different artboards are saved to every individual AI file.
Cool. Did not expect that.
FWIW: The correct answer would be a feature enhancement of datamerge.
Think of PDFs with multiple pages, not only AI files with multiple artboards.
It appears that, for now at least, that what I am asking is not possible. Applying an Import option (i.e. Artboard or page number reference stated as "filename.ai:pagenumber") to a image reference in a CSV for data merge. This would be a great upgrade in future versions.
The safest work-around for now will be to select Save Artboards as separate files. This option is in the dialogue box that opens immediately after the Save As dialogue box.
I think I will keep a master AI file with multiple artboards and then also save to separate art boards and use those as the referenced artwork in the CSV.
Thanks for the work around Laubender
Fwiw, I did send a feature request