25 Replies Latest reply on Jul 26, 2017 5:26 PM by MW Design

    Merged data

    Cartwheels Kris

      Hey guys,


      I'm looking for help on a merged data issue I'm having in InDesign.


      A bit of background, so I get biweekly adverts emailed to me form a travel recruitment company, it has 8 jobs on it and each one breaks down like this:

      Business Development Manager

      NSW, $80k + Super + Com, Ref: 2940SO3

      This senior BDM position has huge potential to work with independent travel agencies across NSW to work for am award winning company and build and develop the network of agencies. You will be driven and have strong contacts within the NSW travel industry and will be looking to maximise on these relationships, relishing this diverse position. You will be an articulate communicator and you will able to manage a range of stakeholders and will enjoy the challenge of growing new business.

      For more information please call Sasha on (02) 9119 8744 or click APPLY now


      I get them through as a Excel spreadsheet I have set up for them with titles on each column and I have my indesign template that I add this text to, and it's standard every time, same layout etc. I have gone through all the relevant steps to set this up just so I can click merge data but it just only wants to add the first advert 8x over, it doesn't move 1, 2, 3, 4 etc etc... and yes, I am using multiple records.


      A friend was helping me with this and I shot this quick video to explain what's happening... so here it is if you need a better example to answer me: https://youtu.be/VOEdxGr-OT8


      Cheers guys

        • 1. Re: Merged data
          MW Design Level 5

          There will likely be paragraph returns in the larger paragraph field. To see if this is the cause, it is easiest just to open your CSV file in a text editor and it should be obvious if this what is happening--the fields should be like they appear in the CSV, but if there is a paragraph return, the explanatory paragraph where a break occurs will continue at the left edge of the text editor.


          But for 8 listings? I wouldn't bother with a merge file. Just copy the text for one record and paste it into the text editor, cleanup any needed paragraph breaks, add a hard return or two, do the next record. Once done (like in one minute), copy the whole and paste it into ID and format it.



          • 2. Re: Merged data
            Cartwheels Kris Level 1

            Thanks Mike, Did you check out the video and see that I have varying type styles through these 8 listings? Would that make what you're suggesting here possible still?

            • 3. Re: Merged data
              AnneMarie Concepcion Adobe Community Professional

              So if you start over with a clean INDD file, and  make a single text frame just large enough to hold one record's worth of data, and you connect to the data source (your csv file), nothing should happen yet, right? Except for the Data Merge panel filling in with your headers.


              Then you create a single text frame on the page, large enough to hold one record's worth of data. Be sure to work in Normal view so you can see frame edges and Hidden characters (the end of paragraph marks).


              Then you click with the insertion point inside the frame, and click once on the first field in the panel. It appears surrounded by double brackets, and you format it. Then you hit the return key and in the second line, click the next field, and so on, until you've added the last field to the text frame, and formatted it.


              At that point, you click Preview. You should see just the first record appear in that frame. That's not happening?



              • 4. Re: Merged data
                MW Design Level 5

                You only use a single text frame with one set of merge fields. You cannot have the 8 or whatever text frames all with the same merge fields. You can set it up in the multiple merge panel as to the top and left offset, gutter, etc., and ID will create the remainder of the text frames. You can also use a script called inlinemerge.jsx or something (don't have ID running to look) and you can flow in all 8 into a single frame with two columns, or perhaps each of the 8 individual frames, but the last record have a frame break applied to the style, and the list of options go on.


                Which option I would choose would depend on the job. Personally, I wouldn't use ID's mail merge. In fact, I rarely have except to help people out on the forum. There are merge plug-ins that do a far better job. But for something as simple as this, I would likely use one of the options I mentioned above if I didn't have Em Software's plug-ins.


                Oh, and unless the kind folks at Adobe have finally fixed mail merge, then just previewing a template with data can corrupt the template.



                • 5. Re: Merged data
                  Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                  Hey mate,


                  I'm trying what you're saying and here I am, I am up to being able to put one listing on one page, but then InDesign generates a new page with the next listing on it... so good and bad, how do I get all on one page? (you're kinda loosing me with the script thing, sorry).


                  What I'm trying to achieve is as much automation a physically possible with this job. There is also a link (pink text 'apply' you'll see in the video) that I want to link, I'd image this would need a script too?


                  Thanks for your time

                  • 6. Re: Merged data
                    MW Design Level 5

                    No worries. I'll make up a little sample and upload it to dropbox.com.


                    Kinda busy with family stuff right now. My wife just got back from a short trip. Be an hour or two.



                    • 7. Re: Merged data
                      MW Design Level 5

                      Well, sneaked in a couple minutes. This type of merge is just the repeating frames. It is just to demonstrate how it all works. I tweaked the data from your first post a little to make sure one can see that the data replicates properly for all records.


                      Dropbox - kristian.zip



                      • 8. Re: Merged data
                        Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                        Hey Mike,


                        I have my hands full of toddlers and babies myself at the moment, hard to get 5.


                        I opened the file you sent, looks like what I have got and anytime I just make another field to add the second listing it just shows the same listing again... Maybe I'll shoot another quick Vid for you later to show you what I mean.


                        Thanks mate

                        • 9. Re: Merged data
                          Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                          But my original looked like this, I think thats what you're trying to show me here if I'm not mistaken?


                          • 10. Re: Merged data
                            Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                            Hey Mike,


                            I open your dropbox link and see a text doc with a bunch of fields and an indesign doc. I open the indesign doc and see that you have one text box with the data field set out. If I create another box and add the fields it just duplicates, if I expand that text box and add new field it duplicates... I'm still totally missing how you get all the listings on the one page?

                            • 11. Re: Merged data
                              Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                              Thanks for the help and yes that is what is happening, my problem is as soon as you add in another record and preview it the record is duplicated

                              • 12. Re: Merged data
                                SJRiegel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                The way data merge works, you document should start with one set of record placeholders per page. You then use the Multiple Record Layout tab to specify positioning. InDesign will create the records on the page based on those values. 

                                Your template should look like this (with all header and footer info on the Master Page, and only one instance of the record on the document page.

                                Screenshot 2017-07-16 08.24.02.png

                                I used Mike's template to demonstrate. You have to set the margins and gutters in the dialog to specify positioning.

                                Screenshot 2017-07-16 08.17.18.png Screenshot 2017-07-16 08.17.34.png

                                • 13. Re: Merged data
                                  MW Design Level 5

                                  As SJRiegal shows in the screen shots and as I mentioned, only one frame for placeholders can be used. the multiple layout controls how they repeat with each new record.


                                  So just open the template, open the merge panel and Preview the Multiple Record Layout and you will see all 8 records. Or, merge to a new ID file.


                                  But the key is that unless you want each record to repeat n times, there can only be one text frame and only one set of placeholders in that single frame.



                                  • 14. Re: Merged data
                                    AnneMarie Concepcion Adobe Community Professional

                                    You only put the data fields in ONE text frame. Only one text frame for the fields should be on the page. To make the different records appear on the same page, you open Create Merged Document from the panel menu, and in there, choose Multiple Records from the dropdown menu.


                                    I made a little video, excuse the air conditioner noise, it's hot here in Chicago! ;-)


                                    • 15. Re: Merged data
                                      Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                                      Thanks for making a video AnneMarie! I can's access it though

                                      • 16. Re: Merged data
                                        Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                                        OH yeah... that works! Great, thanks for the help Mike. I need to try a couple of things out and might have another one or two questions so I'll leave this discussion open as I won't get to it until a bit later today.

                                        • 17. Re: Merged data
                                          Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                                          Fantastic, it's making more sense now!

                                          • 18. Re: Merged data
                                            MW Design Level 5

                                            Anytime. That's why we're here.



                                            • 19. Re: Merged data
                                              AnneMarie Concepcion Adobe Community Professional

                                              whoops! sorry about that. Try this:

                                              DataMergeBasics - YouTube

                                              1 person found this helpful
                                              • 20. Re: Merged data
                                                Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                                                Hey AnneMarie, sorry it's taken ages to get back to you, it's been busy here! Thanks for the video, make a lot more sense now!!!


                                                Just one question, with the url, my client gives me a url to input into the document but they don't what the actual url in there just applied to a piece of text which says 'Apply now', is there a way of doing that?



                                                • 21. Re: Merged data
                                                  Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                                                  Actually Mike, same question to you too, see if you can get this.


                                                  So like I was saying to AnneMarie, in one of the columns in my excel sheet I have a url, this needs to be applied to the piece of text which says 'Apply now', do you know if I can achieve this still within the data merge?



                                                  • 22. Re: Merged data
                                                    MW Design Level 5

                                                    Hello Kris,


                                                    I'm not aware of any method to create such a link during a merge. It can be done via a script post-merge, though...


                                                    So here is the test file I uploaded showing the merge being done:



                                                    And here is a screen shot after running a script I have:




                                                    The script is one that Kasyan Servetsky wrote that I have used in the past, but modified for this purpose. I'll get it uploaded in a little bit.



                                                    • 23. Re: Merged data
                                                      MW Design Level 5

                                                      Sending a private message with the download link in a few seconds.


                                                      Do test the script...then test the script again. Should be fine.



                                                      • 24. Re: Merged data
                                                        Cartwheels Kris Level 1

                                                        Oh awesome Mike, that exactly what I need... so if i'm in the Indesign doc, how do I move this script into the panel and does it go in User or Application?

                                                        • 25. Re: Merged data
                                                          MW Design Level 5

                                                          Great, Kris.


                                                          One such set of instructions are found at:


                                                          How to Install InDesign & InCopy Scripts


                                                          Once copied to the appropriate folder on your computer, it will remain there until a reformat or what not. So do make sure to back up that ZIP file as once in a while I delete everything from my dropbox folder.


                                                          If you get stuck, just give the forum a shout. Someone's always around.