19 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2012 1:54 PM by Amy_J_Sanderson

    Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document

    Amy_J_Sanderson

      I looked in the InDesign help and under Limitations for merging multiple records it reads:

        

      You cannot merge multiple records if the data fields appear on a document page in a document with multiple pages, or if data fields appear on multiple master pages.

       

      I'm using InDesign CS 5.5. I produce a 4-page newsletter printed on both sides as a booklet, folded and stapled and each folded page size is 8.5 x 11 (a four page booklet on 11×17 paper) I want to print our 250-name mailing list on the outer cover but have discovered that it only prints the whole thing then staples it or I need to manually print each issue per name.

       

      Is there a way around this? If we have to use a third party software, would you let me know what to look for? Any suggestions are appreciated.

       

      Thanks for your help.

      Amy

        • 1. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          How many names are you trying to put on each newsletter? I suspect only one, and that you've misiniterpreted the Help file. That warning applies to putting multiple records from the data file on the SAME page, like a sheet of labels.

           

          Just so you know, using Data Merge to do a mailing where you are addressing multiple copies of a static document is potentially VERY inefficent. Data Merge needs to make a page for every page that will be printed, so if you have a 4-page newsletter with 1,000 subscribers you will wind up with a 4,000 page document just to get the name and address on one page, and your printer will be re-processing all those duplicate pages for each newsletter. If you have a commercial grade copier/printer there may be a variable data printing module availble for it that will merge your list at print time so you need only send a 4-page file and print 1000 copies (or you can send the job out to a printer who can handle this kind of work), or if you want to print in-house anddon't have VDP capabilities, I recommend doing two files.

           

          The first file should be the side of the sheet that doesn't change. Print that first as a single page doing x plus a few extra copies (in case of jams in the printer when doing the second half) where x is the number of newsletters you need.  The second file is the other side of the sheet with the addresses, which you do as the Data Merge, and will end up as x pages. After printing the first side, flip the stack and reload so you are printing on the blank side, then send the merge document, asking for one copy.

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          • 2. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
            Amy_J_Sanderson Level 1

            Hi Peter,

             

            Thanks very much for your prompt reply!

             

            Your solution sounds doable. Of course then we will need to manually fold each newsletter seperately, but may be less time consuming than printing labels and sticking them on which is what we do now.

             

            Our printer is newish, so I will check with our IT department and see if there is any way to add a variable data printing module that we can leverage at the printer level.

             

            I really appreciate your help!

             

            Thanks again

            Amy

            • 3. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              Be warned... VDP is NOT inexpensive, so if this is a small group or non-profit it's probably not viable.

              • 4. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

                To print a 4 page book (duplexed, folder and stapled), it sounds like you need to send 4 single pages to your digital printer. And the imposition is done at the printer along with the stapling. When you merge your document, you are essentially creating a 1000 page document, and the printer does not know there are 250 individual books within the stream.

                 

                If you are willing to compromise some production, here are my suggested workarounds.

                 

                1. Create a document that is in spreads (11 x 17) (4-1 and 2-3). Then do your merge. You will end up with a 500 page document that you could at least duplex print. You would have to manually collate, fold and staple.

                2. Merge your document as you have been, print each 4 page set individually.

                • 5. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                  Amy_J_Sanderson Level 1

                  Hi Jeffery,

                   

                  Yes, that is correct. I hoped that there was some way to indicate seperate records in InDesign thereby creating seperate documents for each booklet.

                   

                  What I will probaby wind up doing is printing the 2-3 spread seperately, then printing the merged 4-1 pages by feeding them into the bypass or printer tray then folding them individually.

                   

                  It's too bad that there is no way to separate these records in InDesign. That's really what I was looking for. Either that, or a print GREP that would allow the printer to seperate each booklet, but alas, such is not forthcoming!

                   

                  I'm still holding out for some plug in that might make this magical request real.

                   

                  Thanks again!!

                   

                  Amy

                  • 6. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                    venaseph Level 1

                    You should be able to accomplish that at the copier/printer itself.

                     

                    We have a multipage newsletter that we do VDP (adressing/mailing info) and just export the newsletter in spreads and then a seperate merge file of just the pages with the VD and merge at the printer. Works fine but all thru the interface on the server that runs the printer.

                     

                    We use to just export one giant file with VD and Static information and tell the konica minolta to just staple/fold at x page which also worked. There should def be a way to do it at your digital press, at least if it's the sort of machine that I'm imagining your working with.

                    • 7. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                      Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

                      If you can submit PDFs directly to your printer, then I would suggest a PDF page utility that separates the PDF via page ranges. There are freeware utilities along with online services that can do this.

                      • 8. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        You might want to pay a trip to the scripting forum: InDesign Scripting

                         

                        IT's possible someone there can come up with a way to either automate doing a series of one record merges using the range property, or a way to split the merged file into a folder full of individual files (and even to automate a print command), or to send a series of print commands with ranges for individual newsletters.

                         

                        Ultimately, though, I think printing one side, then the other, and folding (there are some fairly inexpensive desktop folders if the quantity is daunting to do by hand) is going to be faster.

                        • 9. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                          Amy_J_Sanderson Level 1

                          @ Venaseph,

                           

                          Our printer doesn't havet that functionality unfortunately. I just checked.

                           

                          @Jeffrey,

                           

                          You wouldn't happen to know what that utility is would you? Do we have to purchase seperately?

                           

                          @ Peter,

                           

                          I will check the InDesign Scripting page.

                           

                          Thanks,

                          Amy

                          • 10. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                            Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

                            I will state that I have never tried any of these but here is what a google search finds:

                             

                            free online (for a range, select more)

                             

                            free open source util

                             

                            commercial app with free trial

                            • 11. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                              Rik Ramsay Level 4

                              Hi Amy,

                               

                              Unless I have misunderstood your original question, you should be able to do that all in InDesign and send straight to the printer as a pdf, in one file.

                               

                              If you set the file up so all the artwork in on master pages, including your merge fields, when you merge it creates a separate file per merge.
                              This way you can either:
                              Run the merge and get separate InD files for each set of merge fields, add all files to a book, export the book as a pdf, then print the pdf;

                              --OR--

                              Merge to pdf and print the result. If you set up a pdf default profile you will get the pdf exactly the way you want it.

                               

                              Hope this helps.

                              Rik

                              • 12. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                Sure it can be done in one file, but the point is that the printer needs to process all of the pages in the newsletter for each copy. If you send it as two files, you are only processing 50% (in tha case of a 4-page folded piece like this) + 1 page of the total number of pages that need to be printed, so instead of waiting many seconds, or perhaps minutes between prints you only need to wait between the processing of the address pages, the others will print as fast as the printer will run. This will cut the print time nearly in half, and that may be quite a bit of time, depending on the size of the run and speed of the printer.

                                • 13. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                                  Rik Ramsay Level 4

                                  I guess you would just need to weigh up the time difference between printing each side separately, making sure you put the paper back in the right way then folding/stapling yourself, as opposed to sending a bunch of prints to a printer and letting it do it's stuff. For a file as small as 4 pages, I would doubt there would be much time between prints if you sent them in one go. I would tend to agree with you if there were more than 4 pages, where 2 sheets of paper are required. I was focussing more on the OPs requirement for single files.

                                  • 14. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                                    Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

                                    Run the merge and get separate InD files for each set of merge fields

                                    How is that possible?

                                    • 15. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                                      Rik Ramsay Level 4

                                      In the above case, you would set up the entire document in master pages (i.e. 4 master pages). The data merge fields would then be on one of those pages. The actual document pages don't get touched except to give them each a master - page 1=master A, page 2=master B etc. Once data merge runs, it generates a new InD file for each merge so that the data is kept with the masters and is "Live" I guess you could say. After that, I would typically add all the resulting documents into a book so you can change all the styling in one go if you need to and also for exporting/printing purposes. There is also a script, http://www.kahrel.plus.com/indesign/pdf_individuals.html, which allows you to export the book as individual pdfs.

                                       

                                      Hope this helps.

                                      Rik

                                      • 16. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                                        Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

                                        Is this a new data merge feature for CS5/5.5 ?

                                        • 17. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                                          Rik Ramsay Level 4

                                          I don't think so. I know it at least works with CS4. Looks like there may be another way of doing this without the masters though - published in 2008... http://indesignsecrets.com/break-up-a-data-merge-document-into-many-files.php, or combined with the master solution.

                                          • 18. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                                            Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

                                            Thanks, I didn't know that option made individual documents!

                                            • 19. Re: Data Merge: Multiple records in a Multiple Page Document
                                              Amy_J_Sanderson Level 1

                                              Dear Rik Ramsay,

                                               

                                              No more calls we have a winner! This is the solution I've been looking for the whole time!!!!!! Thank you sooooooooooo much!

                                               

                                              One thing to note: I've tested this using the master pages for my data merge as you recommended before I saw the whole magical "Record Limit Per Document" option. I am using a smaller test file of eight records instead using the whole list of 250. Doing this merge even with the small # of records is slowing my computer to a crawl, and I've got 4GB of RAM. Every time I switch to an individual INDD file there is a lag of a few minutes per file. It seems like the ID is working (and really hard) possibly to access the data for each record over and over since it's in the master. I will test again using my document and connect the data merge in the document, rather than the master pages and also see if I can export individual files to PDF. This may be faster.

                                               

                                              I'll keep you posted.

                                               

                                              Thanks again,

                                              Amy