7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 17, 2018 1:14 AM by Colin Flashman

    ID: Interactive PDF and Data Merge Conflict

    corbinlaw Level 1

      Hey all,


      We are using ID 2019 and the data merge function to create unique pdfs but are running into an odd problem. When you create then view the interactive pdf all of the frames that have data merge contents inside are clickable and attempt to redirect you to the origin path of the document (determined by the CSV from data merge). If i hover over the text/image frames from the data merge it will also show the path as well and the cursor will change to the "clickable" pointer. I have no idea what could be causing this issue. if we export the ID file as a print ready pdf there are 0 complications with the document.


      Attached is a screenshot of what occurs when i click on the text/image framesScreen Shot 2018-11-16 at 12.34.31 PM.png


      Here is what i'm running:
      Mac OS High Sierra
      Version 10.16.3

      ID: 2019 v14.0
      Adobe Acrobat Pro DC v.2019.008.20080


      any help would be seriously appreciated.

        • 1. Re: ID: Interactive PDF and Data Merge Conflict
          Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant
          • Are there other fields that behave the same way?
          • You could try removing the underscore in header column (DBF_School District)
          • What format is the source: .txt or .csv? You could try the other.
          • What is the encoding for the source: UTF8, UTF16 ?
          • Is there any formulas in spreadsheet ?
          • What application is used to generate source: Excel or other ?
          • Is there any hidden characters in data ?
          • I will assume there are interactive elements in the document that constitutes the need to export interactive PDF. If not, then export print PDF.
          • 2. Re: ID: Interactive PDF and Data Merge Conflict
            corbinlaw Level 1

            1) All the fields that are dictated by the data merge (text + image) are acting up this way
            2) Removing the underscore has no effect on the problem.
            3) it's a .csv currently. we do @image calls in the spreadsheet so i'm not sure if a .txt format would function, if it can i'm willing to give it a try, i'll have to retarget all the frames/text though, so i'd like to save that for a last resort.
            4) It's a google sheet, which i understand uses UTF-8 encoding

            5) no formulas in the spreadsheet either words/sentences and @image calls with the file path

            6) Google Sheets is used to generate the CSV via the download as function
            7) there are no hidden characters in the data
            8) yes there are interactive elements via some fillable forms hence the need for the interactivity pdf format. we create print-ready pdfs without any problems.

            • 3. Re: ID: Interactive PDF and Data Merge Conflict
              Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

              My suspicion is it is a "behaviour" of how data merge works. I say this because during a data merge, the merge fields that are in use can be found in the hyperlinks panel:

              While the data in this demo is completely fake and generated at mockaroo.com, I've redacted it for the sake of complying with forum guidelines (no doxxing)

              Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 09.04.34.png

              If the hyperlinks are deleted, then the field is no longer a data merge field, and the data merge panel behaves as if no data has been added to the document yet.

              Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 09.06.01.png

              If I undo this and have the hyperlinks again, there's no way from the hyperlinks panel to stop the hyperlinks from being clicked on... and that makes sense because the usual purpose of a hyperlink is to be clicked on.


              One workaround - that unfortunately also removes other useful and intentional hyperlinks in the document (such as real URLs, navigation buttons, footnotes etc) would be in the PDF itself - make an action that removes all links in the document (see this forum on such an action: Batch sequence to 'Remove all Links' ) and then rebuild the links from URL automatically from the following menu item:

              Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 09.26.41.png

              2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: ID: Interactive PDF and Data Merge Conflict
                corbinlaw Level 1

                Hey Colin,


                Your advice has created a partial success, with text now no longer triggering the clickable action, but images still do.Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 6.26.48 PM.png



                I created the new action via action wizard > execute javascript > then pasted in the script that you linked to. I don't know a thing about javascript so i can't really troubleshoot what would cause the weird distinction between the two. The best i can think of is that the actual text from the CSV is still a filepath, but i'm honestly out of my area of expertise here.

                • 5. Re: ID: Interactive PDF and Data Merge Conflict
                  corbinlaw Level 1

                  An Update:

                  I've found that if i do an edit>select all then right click > delete links inside of the pdf then all of the problems are removed. For some reason bit.ly links are still clickable but this may be due to adobe acrobat not allowing them to be clicked on as hyperlinks (according to a dialog box) It would be great if we could get the batch process working correctly though for future occurrences of this issue.

                  • 6. Re: ID: Interactive PDF and Data Merge Conflict
                    Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

                    I can't reproduce the result that you have shown in your post, and it isn't alternate text.

                    However, see if this helps. Using Bridge, edit the IPTC metadata of the Description of the images used in the data merge to read "test".

                    Back in InDesign, go to the variable image field and click on it with the right mouse button to call up the contextual menu and select Object Export Options.

                    Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 10.42.51.png

                    From here, go to the tagged PDF tab and change the dialog box to the following:

                    Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 10.43.51.png

                    Export the interactive PDF as you have done, and run the action that you made that strips out links. What happens in this instance?

                    On my screen, the tooltip and the URL "duke it out" to see what should appear, UNTIL I run the action that strips out the links, then only the tooltip I made in the description panel of bridge appears.

                    Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 10.51.54 (2).png

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: ID: Interactive PDF and Data Merge Conflict
                      Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

                      One other thought.


                      I'm only guessing this, but when the interactive PDFs are made, are they done in the data merge file itself by navigating to a specific record, and then exporting to interactive PDF via the file export menu (i.e. not using the data merge palette)?


                      While testing all of this, I noticed if I merged to an InDesign file first and then exported to an interactive PDF, this issue did not happen. If you are doing this en masse, may I suggest a solution that uses a script I've written, along with Peter Kahrel's "Batch Convert" script? The solution is presented here: https://colecandoo.com/2016/12/17/data-merge-pdf-export-vs-regular-pdf-export/

                      2 people found this helpful