13 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2011 8:51 PM by Screen472

    xml tags to INDD

    Screen472

      This has GOT to be easy.

       

      Jane types up one of her daily 40 business card orders in Word.  She uses the same word doc every time.

      She sends it to Eddie who cuts & pastes each name, title, email address etc etc into the same INDD bus card doc.

      The fields never vary in either Janes word doc or Eddie's indd doc.

       

      Wouldn't it be nice if Janes info could be gotten into SIMPLE xml tagged info and Eddie could import these SIMPLE xml tags directly into his 'ready and waiting' indd tagged & structured indd?

       

      Is this possible?

       

      HOW?

       

      I dont want to mess any more with Word xml, Word xml schemas, third party anythings costing lots of money and time I surely dont have.

       

      I have also tried creating a pdf form in indd/acrobat that i thought would simply send me the SIMPLE xml tags that i could import but so far (13 attempts over 6 months) no workee dumkopf!

       

      Isn't there something that GENERATES these tags for INDD to import????

        • 1. Re: xml tags to INDD
          Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Um.

           

          Yeah, but I don't think you're going to like the answer.

           

          I dont want to mess any more with Word xml, Word xml schemas, third party anythings costing lots of money and time I surely dont have.

           

          If you don't have time, spend money. If you don't have money, spend time. If you have neither time nor money, then give up, because all of the free solutions (that I know of) require that you write part of the solution yourself.   You can set up an XML schema yourself, import it into Excel, map it to cells of the table, import a "generic" hand-tooled XML file that matches your schema, and then set Jane up with an install of Excel 2007 that exposes the Developer tab so that she can export tagged XML data.

           

          If you already know how to do all of that without researching it, then Bob's your uncle. Otherwise you'll either have to learn how to do it, or to buy a product that does it. I don't know of any free products that do this. All of the ones that I know already are either like Oxygen which is a commercial product, or are specialized lexicographer's databases that are free but have nothing whatsoever to do with your kind of project and therefore can't be used in your workflow without significant changes, which defeats your "no time" requirement.

           

          But I'll ask around - maybe there's something obvious that I don't know.

          • 2. Re: xml tags to INDD
            Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Actually, you can ignore the "then give up" part of my advice because I realized how little I know about the total world of free stuff that might help you here; I just don't know what to suggest because I'm the guy who sets up the awkward XML + Excel kind of workflow outlined above.

            • 3. Re: xml tags to INDD
              Screen472 Level 1

              Yes.

               

               

               

              I have ventured a bit into what you speak - word, word schema's, excel

              tables, exporting, importing etc. 

               

               

               

              Problem is Jane CANNOT do any of the things that would be required.

               

               

               

              What she CAN do is fill out an Acrobat form and send it (its xml) to me. 

               

               

               

              The jungle part starts with getting that xml data out of the acrobat form

              and into a bleeding simple xml set of tags.  

               

               

               

               

               

              So on my end I either decipher the Acrobat forms jungle

               

              or

               

              set up a word schema based on her word doc. (and hope to hell she never

              changes it), and then route it through excel.

               

               

               

              Its just a lot of work.

               

               

               

               

               

              best,

               

               

               

              Paul

               

               

               

              PaulThePrinter@ProductionCityPrinting.com

               

              619/252-2072

              • 4. Re: xml tags to INDD
                Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Unfortunately, you're right; it's a lot of hard work. My first three or four XML projects went off without a hitch, because all of the XML content was exported from carefully managed databases, and the exports were set up so that no XSL transformations were necessary.  That made these projects extremely easy. You are not in that situation.

                 

                I was advising that you set up the schema-having Excel workbook yourself, and to tell Jane "Please fill out this Excel sheet and email the file to me." Then you'd do the export and stuff - if you're even considering this kind of automation, it goes without saying that the Janes of the world don't do this, the Pauls do (because the Pauls are more likely to understand XSL).  I think that an Excel-based method like the one I describe like this will actually be much, much easier than doing XSL transforms on the output from Acrobat. Also easier than using Word's abilities in this area, I suspect.

                 

                However, if you give me a bit more detail (you are talking about FDF, right? Or something else?) then I'll see if there isn't some easy way to do it just using an Acrobat form. 

                • 5. Re: xml tags to INDD
                  ja3754 Level 2

                  Instead of going the XML route, could this be done by Data Merge?

                   

                  Change Jane’s Word doc so the fields are separated by tabs and each record is separated by a return, then save as plain text. The text file can then be imported using InDesign’s Data Merge panel.

                  • 6. Re: xml tags to INDD
                    peter minneapolis Level 4

                    ja3754 wrote:

                     

                    Instead of going the XML route, could this be done by Data Merge?

                     

                    Change Jane’s Word doc so the fields are separated by tabs and each record is separated by a return, then save as plain text. The text file can then be imported using InDesign’s Data Merge panel.

                    You beat me to it, but I'd add the possibility of typing into a table, to make it easier to separate fields and records.

                     

                     

                    HTH

                     

                     

                    Regards,

                     

                     

                    Peter

                    _______________________

                    Peter Gold

                    KnowHow ProServices

                    • 7. Re: xml tags to INDD
                      John Hawkinson Level 5

                      Wow, this thread got confusing.

                       

                      Data Merge is the way to go, without question.

                      XML in InDesign (and elsewhere) will cause you hours-to-days-to-years of tearing your hair out, and may not get you where you want to be.

                       

                      Data Merge would be easiest if Jane could use Excel and type the data into a spreadsheet with the columns set up. Then Eddie exports the Excel file to CSV and runs the Data Merge.

                      As Peter and ja3754 point out, it also works with a text file. The only problem there is that if Jane makes a mistake and puts in two tabs or eliminates one, then the whole thing can get screwed up and and it may not be obvious to Eddie why.

                      • 8. Re: xml tags to INDD
                        Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        FYI:

                        XML in InDesign (and elsewhere) will cause you hours-to-days-to-years of tearing your hair out, and may not get you where you want to be.

                        I used to disagree with John's capsue summary, here... now I agree completely. 

                         

                        Also, I'm kind of bewildered that I didn't see the obvious Data Merge solution. There are some circumstances where it's not flexible enough, but I have a hard time imagining the (monolingual) biz card project that couldn't be done with Data Merge.

                        • 9. Re: xml tags to INDD
                          John Hawkinson Level 5

                          What a step backwards! I had hoped, Joel, that either you would convince me that XML is the way the truth and the light, or perhaps that you would start answering everyone's XML questions ;-).

                          Oh well.

                          • 10. Re: xml tags to INDD
                            Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Well, if your project is "make a dictionary with the XML output from this specialized lexicographer's database" and you can get the DB architects to perfect XML export so that there is absolutely zero XSL necessary, then it's a dream. I'm still on track to be the guy answering everyone's XML questions, in say six to twelve months... but someone else is going to have to wear the "XML Evangelist" badge. Yuck.

                            • 11. Re: xml tags to INDD
                              Screen472 Level 1

                              Hi Guys,

                               

                              Thank you all for your input.  (I've had a busy day and am just now getting

                              to your responses)

                               

                               

                               

                              Truly it seems weird to me that Adobe makes this xml to indd template thing

                              APPEAR to be a workflow and yet it's fraught with tufts of hair in

                              everyone's hands.

                               

                               

                               

                              Taking last nights xml advices together with some of my earlier endeavors

                              with Word, XML and Acrobat Forms I think I actually made a little more

                              progress in that I have successfully gotten an excel file to export the

                              exact simple xml file that INDD now appears to recognize.

                               

                               

                               

                              Later this evening I hope to have time to continue working in indd to run

                              through the ;import xml' to 'bc template'.

                               

                               

                               

                              The secret was getting (creating) an xml schema that Excel could use in

                              doing the XML mapping.  Once the excel cells are mapped to the schema it

                              easily exports just the tags for the card.

                               

                               

                               

                              best,

                               

                               

                               

                              Paul

                               

                               

                               

                              PaulThePrinter@ProductionCityPrinting.com

                               

                              619/252-2072

                              • 12. Re: xml tags to INDD
                                John Hawkinson Level 5

                                Paul, we were serious.

                                 

                                If you're already using Excel, there is no reason to use XML instead of Data Merge. You will make it much more complicated, harder, and you will stress yourself out and hurt yourself. And the UI is bad.

                                 

                                Just export to CSV from Excel, and use InDesign's Data Merge. It's so easy!

                                • 13. Re: xml tags to INDD
                                  Screen472 Level 1

                                  Thank you  John,

                                   

                                    Actually I have not had time to explore my xml nor the Data Merge since I

                                  started the discussion - and I intend to.  I truly appreciate your attention

                                  to this and I apologize if it seems I have ignored anyone's advice.

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  best,

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  Paul

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  PaulThePrinter@ProductionCityPrinting.com

                                   

                                  619/252-2072