InDesign offers powerful features to automate creation of content, where you can bring in data from external files and place them on your layout. For example, your client likes the new business card design and just ordered new business cards for every employee. And as is normal practice, has sent you an XLS with the employee details and an inflexible deadline.
You’ll need to jump right in!
We’ll use the layout as a template and place data from a CSV file into this layout. So save your XLS file as a CSV file.
Connect layout to data
- Open the layout in InDesign. The basic layout shows the elements as you’ve designed them.
- Choose Windows > Utilities > Datamerge.
- From the panel menu choose Select Data Source and browse to the CSV file and click OK.
Note that the first row in the CSV file is used as the column header, and they are displayed in the panel.
- Now drag and drop the elements from the Data Merge panel to the layout. Or select the text that you want to replace and then double-click on the element in the data merge panel. The result should look something like this.
- Save the file.
Preview the layout with actual data
You are now ready to preview the content.
- In the Datamerge panel, check Preview.
- Use the arrow buttons at the bottom to preview the data.
- Make any adjustment that might be required.
- Save the file.
Create merged document
After you have previewed all the records you can create the merged document.
- To create the merged document and generate the PDF choose Export to PDF from panel menu.
- TIP: Choose Create Merged document , to create InDesign document.
- Select the options as they suit you. I’ll choose single record per page. After specifying the options click OK.
- Specify the PDF settings and click OK.
- A PDF is generated that contains the generated records.
Send the PDF for printing
Your printer (or you) should be able to use the generated PDF for printing.
If required, you can use Acrobat and create a composite PDF that contains multiple business cards on each page. We’ll use Acrobat’s tile printing feature to create a combined PDF.
- Open the generated PDF in Acrobat.
- Choose File > Print and select the Adobe PDF printer.
- Under Page handling specify the following:
- If you’re happy with the Preview Composite results, click OK. The PDF is generated.
In this small tutorial you learnt how to:
- Use InDesign CS Data merge feature to automate data placement in the layout
- Create a merge document or PDF
- Use Acrobat tile printing feature to create a composite PDF.