3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 15, 2018 11:47 PM by Colin Flashman

    Two-page Data Merge, supress duplicate first pages in output, "multiple pages per record"

    rrs92830 Level 1

      When I search I get lots of references to “muitliple records per page” but no hits on “multiple pages per record” or “conditional pages per record”, etc.  Forgive me if this is answered before (but tell me where!).  Perhaps I just don't know what to call it...


      We need to print & send out cover letters that are followed by one or more update or “report” pages, one page per report. 


      The data file comes from a database query into two tables, one for the cover letter addressees, and the other for the reports to be attached. 


      The .csv file that is the result of that query might like be something like this:




      So the desired result might be like this:

      • John gets a cover letter and the report page for Report 902 (with InfoA, InfoB and InfoC fields)… via html email only.
      • Wendy gets a printed cover letter followed by 4 report pages, by First Class Mail, including four reports: 343, 294, 902, and 233.  Since we have both address and email address, we might postal mail the 5 printed pages, and we might also send html email.
      • Frank gets a cover letter and 2 printed and mailed reports: reports 109 and 322.  Since he only has a physical address he gets the printed mailed report but no email.

      All of the output would get copied up to our web site: html for each cover letter recipient to see, and the report .pdf’s might all be copied to the web site, visible to the recipient when they login, and emails to the recipients might include links to the .pdf’s posted online, etc.


      (In reality there are more fields but you get the idea.  Ultimately there are 10 different batches and a total of 10 cover letter masters, 900 separate reports, and 4000 addressees for the cover letters.)


      At this point I have a Data Merge in InDesign, and tagged variable fields in two different Master pages, one for the cover letter, and the other for the one-page reports.


      When I run the merge, it works, BUT I get one cover letter for each report page, and the report page.  Two pages of print per record in the incoming data.  I don’t see a way to suppress the duplicate cover letters when there is more than one report to include.


      What I want is one cover letter followed by one or more report pages, as dictated by the number of reports per addressee (or the number of csv-file lines or records per addressee).


      The first hurdle is to generate a press-ready PDF (my csv file is sorted in zip code order).  But from there I'd like a script or a plugin to help me get perAddresses named .pdf's, named .html files, etc, which can be uploaded to our web site or emailed, etc.


      Surely this has been solved and I just don't know what to call it, or how to search for it???


      THANKS all,



        • 1. Re: Two-page Data Merge, supress duplicate first pages in output, "multiple pages per record"
          Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

          In short, Data Merge (as it is shipped with InDesign) cannot do the task that you're asking.


          Data Merge can run basic one-to-one database queries, but does not function in a similar fashion to crystal reports for example. I would recommend that you investigate any third party plugins for InDesign that add to the functionality of Data Merge, such as (in no particular order):

          • Xmpie
          • Cacidi
          • Em Software
          • 65 bit
          • Teacup Software
          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Two-page Data Merge, supress duplicate first pages in output, "multiple pages per record"
            rrs92830 Level 1

            Thanks Colin,


            I’ve noticed these plugins… am now faced with the task to choose the appropriate one.


            They all look very powerful (maybe more than we need?).  Any thought on which would be most straightforward for our relatively simple need?  We don’t really need to control and interact with every frame on the pages - we just need to suppress redundant/duplicate pages.


            We’re also looking at PTI/FusionPro and ObjectifLune/PrintShopPressConnect…


            I appreciate your comments… thanks again!



            • 3. Re: Two-page Data Merge, supress duplicate first pages in output, "multiple pages per record"
              Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

              Hello again.


              I'm afraid that I can't really recommend one plug-in over another as I'm not an ongoing user of any of these plug-ins. I also have a potential conflict of interest given that I have met several of the developers during various conferences, so my best advice to you would be to download any trial versions that the vendors offer, and during the trial, determine:

              • the learning curve of the software;
              • whether it fulfils your requirements;
              • whether ongoing service for the software is/will be available, or has a community of users that can assist.
              • make sure that it will work on your operating system and is optimised for that system. In my own experience, ObjectifLune's printshop for example works better on a PC than a Mac, and other providers such as DirectSmile are available for one platform only.

              If it appears that the software mentioned may not be appropriate, perhaps consider having a bespoke script created for the purpose. Customised scripts aren't as cheap as off the shelf software given that there is no economy of scale for mass sales, but if a one-off cost can save money over the longer term, it may be worth the return on investment. Many of the scripters in the InDesign scripting forum can be privately messaged about the task, but it is unlikely that - if a request was posted on the scripting forum for this script to be written - that the task would be done on a complimentary basis and posted on the forums to remain in the public domain.