4 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2011 9:57 AM by peter minneapolis

    Can you import multiple tables into InDesign using csv/xml files to create a product catalogue?

    lwiddowson

      I am trying to create a product catalogue which contains lots of tables with multiple rows and want to know whether it is possible to import the data from Excel...

       

      All of the examples I have come across via tutorials etc only show product catologues which contain one product with one set of data, like the image taken from the link below. Each product has a name, description etc and then a table with only has one row of data.

      Example.jpg

      http://tv.adobe.com/watch/instant-indesign/automating-a-catalog-with-data-merge/

       

      I want to create something similar, but for each product table to have multiple rows, as each product comes in different sizes. Then a new table would need to be created for the next product. I have added an image to explain myself better.

       

      Price List.jpg

      I didn't think this was possible to create via using data merge and merging multiple records, so I started looking into importing XML files and using tags and the structure panel to see if it could work that way, but I can't get my head around it and was wondering if anyone knew if this was possible or had any suggestions on the best way to do this?

       

      Thanks!!

        • 1. Re: Can you import multiple tables into InDesign using csv/xml files to create a product catalogue?
          Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Importing as data merge would work but you'd need to preset up the tables and insert the Data Field into each cell. Which is a lot of work, I think.

           

          For the second one I'd be inclined to just import the excel file as is from Excel using File>Place.

           

          Then use Table Styles and Cell Styles to format the content.

           

          http://layersmagazine.com/indesign-tables-style.html

           

           

          Especially for the second one because you can assign a Cell Style to the left hand column. Which could apply the Fill colour and the Paragraph Style at the same time.

           

           

          For Table and Cell Styles I always clear the Cell and Table Style Overrides BEFORE applying the Table Styles.

           

          1. Apply Fill colour to the Left Cell as needed.

          2. Create a Cell Style for the Left Cells

          3. Create a Table Style and assign the Left Cell the "Cell Styles" you just created.

          4. Clear Overrides to the Cell Styles and Table Style

          5. Apply the Table Style.

           

          If you don't clear the Cell Style override you'll wonder why the Table is not updating. It's because the Table Style applies the Cell Style, but if you have a Cell Style manually applied then the manually applied Style is used over the Style applied through the Table Style.

           

           

          For the 1st one I've never done a project like that so I can't really recommend a workflow for you.

          • 2. Re: Can you import multiple tables into InDesign using csv/xml files to create a product catalogue?
            lwiddowson Level 1

            Thanks for your help Eugene, I will give that a go, but with the number of tables and pages I will be working with on this catalogue I don't think this is the most efficent way of working- I just haven't found the most efficient way yet! I will give it a go though and see how long it takes.

            • 3. Re: Can you import multiple tables into InDesign using csv/xml files to create a product catalogue?
              Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Once you have the table style setup it's pretty straightforward.

               

              Select the table, clear cell styles, apply table style.

               

              It would be great to automate this, perhaps a script could be written to do this?

               

              1. Import the excel file

              2. Clear cell overrides

              3. Apply Table Style

               

              Providing you've got it all set up.

               

               

              Once you do it once it's pretty easy to change everything in the document at the same time. Cells can all change colour by altering the Cell style for that Fill colour. The paragraph style can be changed to make it larger text, smaller text, tighter or looser leading.

               


              I'm fairly sure it's an extremely efficient way of handling it.

               

               

               

              When you go to File>Place and click Show Options

               

              you can select the Cell Range

               

              You can apply a style to the Tables on import

               

               

              I just tried it here myself and it works great.

              • 4. Re: Can you import multiple tables into InDesign using csv/xml files to create a product catalogue?
                peter minneapolis Level 4

                lwiddowson wrote:

                 

                I am trying to create a product catalogue which contains lots of tables with multiple rows and want to know whether it is possible to import the data from Excel...

                 

                All of the examples I have come across via tutorials etc only show product catologues which contain one product with one set of data, like the image taken from the link below. Each product has a name, description etc and then a table with only has one row of data.

                Example.jpg

                http://tv.adobe.com/watch/instant-indesign/automating-a-catalog-with-d ata-merge/

                 

                I want to create something similar, but for each product table to have multiple rows, as each product comes in different sizes. Then a new table would need to be created for the next product. I have added an image to explain myself better.

                 

                Price List.jpg

                I didn't think this was possible to create via using data merge and merging multiple records, so I started looking into importing XML files and using tags and the structure panel to see if it could work that way, but I can't get my head around it and was wondering if anyone knew if this was possible or had any suggestions on the best way to do this?

                 

                Thanks!!

                 

                If you're thinking of XML, this book might help:

                 

                http://www.amazon.com/Designers-Guide-Adobe-InDesign-XML/dp/0321503554

                 

                 

                HTH

                 

                Regards,

                 

                Peter

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