Articles, Blog

InDesign CC Timesavers 1: Data Merge

November 12, 2019


Hi. My name is Riotta Scott, and I’m with the Division of IT’s IT Training Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Today
I’m going to show you how to insert data from a data source like a
comma-separated or tab-delimited file into a text frame in an InDesign file. Our
document is a letter-sized, double-sided booklet, and when we print it, we can fold
it in half so it has a front cover on one side, and this mailer on the back
side, and the inside will have the contents. This is a text frame, so if I double-click that, I switch to my Type tool, and my cursor is already blinking in here. And
this is where we’ll put the data set from the records that we’re going to open in just a moment. So to open that we’ll go to Window, hover Utilities, and choose
Data Merge. And that opens this Data Merge panel, and it has instructions here on
how to get it to work. If you forget what I tell you here, it’s right there. We’ll click the panel menu and choose Select Data Source. And this is the one I want: subscribers.csv. So I’ll select that, click Open. And then you can see that it has put the headers from the
fields on my CSV file here. And let me just show you what that looks like. So
this is just a regular TXT file — text file — that I created in Notepad, and I
saved it as .csv instead of .txt, because that’s necessary to get these
things to recognize what you have here. So the first line shows first name, comma, last name, comma, street, comma, city, comma, state, comma, zip, comma, email. And then the lines after that… each entry before a comma should correspond with whatever is up here. That creates our columns. So we have first name, last name, address, city, state, zip, and email address. And, by the way, these names are real — these are all the trainers that work for IT: Kyle, David, Mel, and myself, Riotta, but all the addresses and everything are fake. So… just so you know. OK. So again, we’ll make sure our cursor is blinking in here, and the first thing we do is just click whichever field we want to add
here, and in this case I want to add first name, and then I’ll press the spacebar on
my keyboard before I click last name. Then I’ll press Enter on the keyboard to
do the next line. And I just need Street there, and I’ll press Enter. Click City, press comma on my keyboard and space. State, space, Zip. Alright. So everything’s there the way we
need it. We can click the preview box here, so we can actually see what’s going
on here. And there’s my name and it’s showing me the fourth record already. Usually it
shows shows the first entry, but I think because I ran through this a few times
before I started recording, it showed me the fourth record. But this is a controller
here, so we can go through our records. And if I click here, I can go through one
at a time. There’s Mel, there’s David, there’s Kyle. Or you can go all the way to the last one. We only have four record sets here, just because we wanted to make this a little easier. So we’ve scanned through them. We see nothing’s wrong. We’re
good, so now we’ll click the Create Merged Document button. And what it’s going to do is copy all of this into a new document — we’ll see a new tab up here — and that new document, then, will have four sets of these, because we have four sets
of records. If we had more records it would have however many we decided to set up.
So let’s just go ahead with that and I’ll show you a few other things. So click that button. This is the Create merged Document dialog, and you can make changes here.
Maybe you only want to do a range of records at a time, or something like that…
but I’m going to accept the defaults and go ahead and just click OK. And this message
popped up to let us know that there was no overset text when they
merged the records. That’s important to know because perhaps you have someone
with a really long name or really long street address and it’s too big to fit
in the text field we created, so it’s nice to know if we need to go and fix
anything. So I’m just going to click OK to dismiss that dialog. And notice that we have two documents
now: the original, and this one that’s actually merged, and it’s the same
file name, but it has added a hyphen and a 1. And over here in the pages panel we can see that here’s the first document. It has all four pages, and if we double-click to go to the back document, that one has Kyle’s name. Go to the next one… that’s David’s name. The next one should be Mel’s, and it is. And there’s mine. So we could print this out and it would be ready to fold.

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