Top design tips: Data merging and Print Booklet in InDesign

Top design tips: Data merging and Print Booklet in InDesign

For my latest roundup of clever little hints to help speed up your workflow, I’ve aimed my designer vision squarely at Adobe InDesign CS6. Specifically, the Data Merging feature, which lets you quickly customise a document, much like Mail Merge but for whole elements of layouts, and Print Booklet – an oft-overlooked tool for producing professional printed proofs. Enjoy!

Data Merging in InDesign CS6

I’ve used the Data Merging feature in Adobe InDesign CS6 a few times before, but was reminded of just how effective it is recently when a particular job came up. We were asked to create and print 50 proposal documents in-house to send out to companies, with personalised company logos, contact names and company names on each of the 15 pages. Initially the designer involved thought they’d have to create 50 documents, and each one would have to be manually put together – placing 50 logos and ‘finding and replacing’ company names. But the neat little Data Merging script meant we could cut out that tedium. Here’s how it works:

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– You’ll find the panel under Windows > Utilities > Data Merge in InDesign CS6.

– Using this panel will allow you to assign areas of an InDesign document with tags that link back to a CSV file. The CSV file should contain all the personalised elements you require.

– The small example below shows we need to personalise a full company name, company name (shortened version is applicable) and we want to add a photo change – in this case a company logo.

– Once we have the CSV file with our 50 companies, we need to load it into the Data Merge panel. Go to the flyout menu and click ‘Select Data Source…’, then find your CSV file.

– The fields from the CSV file should now appear in the Data Merge panel.

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– Now it’s simply a case of telling InDesign where it needs to put this information. This is done by selecting the type that need to be personalised and then clicking the correct data. InDesign will insert << Company Name >> (or the appropriate data tag) where this data needs to be added.
– To add a photo change, create a blank Frame and then select the data source to fill this, in our case @Photos.
– Once you’ve added all your data fields, you’re ready to create a PDF or a merged InDesign document. There are further options to explore at this point but basically if you click OK, InDesign should create your personalised document for how ever many versions you require.
And that’s it – simple customised documents in a fraction of the time it would take to individually make changes for each company. If you get stuck, there’s more information on data merging at the InDesign community help page.


Print Booklet in InDesign CS6


We produce a range of printed marketing material at Jigsaw24, including catalogues of varying page numbers. For mocking up proofs to check and get internal approvals on, we use another handy little feature tucked away in InDesign – Print Booklet. This allows you to take your chronologically prepared pages and print it as printers pairs. It’s a very useful and straightforward feature for proofing, or if you want to get a flavour of how your document might be working.
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Simply head to File > Print Booklet to open the options menu. From here, you can choose what kind of page arrangement you’re after – 2-up Saddle Stitch, 2-up Perfect Bound or Consecutive. You’ll also find extensive options for creeps, bleeds, margins and more. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but there’s more information about all the options and troubleshooting at Adobe’s community help site.
– Like what you see? Both these features are available in InDesign, and we’ve currently offering great savings when you upgrade from CS3/4 to Adobe Creative Suite 6!
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