How can InDesign data merge multiple data sets?
Data merging with Adobe InDesign
The merging of data in InDesign is often done with the function Serial letter compared from Microsoft Word. However, it also offers a lot more functions. Basically, the data merge helps you with data from sources (usually .csv or .txt) to be transferred to the layout in InDesign. As standard, Excel is used for the preparation. For these instructions (tutorial) you can use the three files listed below as templates:
- InDesign file
- Excel file
- Tab-delimited text file
What is a form letter?
The term serial letter is understood to mean the personalized creations of letters, envelopes, labels or even business cards as in our example. Placeholders in a document are replaced by data from an external source.
What is data merging in InDesign?
In InDesign fields are marked with variables or placeholders, which are subsequently replaced by a automated function be filled. After all, nobody wants to fill out hundreds of business cards by hand. Microsoft Excel or a comparable program such as Open Office or Google Sheets serves as the basis for the data.
What do I need to merge data in InDesign?
Only one Data Source and one already created layout needed. InDesign can even use image links for complex documents such as catalogs or price lists. In our example, however, we limit ourselves to creating business cards.
Create a layout for a business card in InDesign
First of all, we need the data merging panel, which you can access via window → Utilities can add. The design for your business cards or the personalized letter should already be fixed, because subsequent changes are always more time-consuming.
Create and prepare data source
In our example, the data source (Excel file) consists of a total of six columns that are filled with the necessary information.
Expert tip: So that there are no problems with the phone number afterwards, you should make sure that the + Sign not with one symbol starts. Because InDesign would adopt this symbol, so you have to manually remove it in InDesign afterwards. As with a house of cards, the basis should always be structured and stable.
Export data source correctly
In order to be able to feed the data into InDesign, it is important that the data is correctly exported from Excel. Under file → Save as you can now select the file format. InDesign understands two formats:
- Tab Delimited Text (.txt)
- Comma separated values (.csv)
Merge data in InDesign
Now switch back to InDesign and open the control panel Data merging. You can use the burger menu in the top right corner (also called the control panel menu) to select the data source you want. InDesign automatically recognizes which data is created as a placeholder based on the header. In the next step you mark the area to be replaced in your layout. This is how the first name becomes the field <<Vorname>> and from surname <<Nachname>>. The brackets indicate that it is a data record.
Expert tip: Since the << >> brackets take up a lot of space, it can happen that your layout decomposes a bit. So always plan enough space and simulate the worst case in length during the design. That's the name Apu Nahasapeemapetilon longer than, of course Bart Simpsons.
Create a merged document
In the last step we create the final document. To do this, select the Burger menu → Create a merged document out. Alternatively, you can click on the small icon below the control panel menu. InDesign creates a new document for you in which all data sources are inserted.
Expert tip: The template file (in our example business card_ESY_Vorlage.indd) should always be the basis and should not be changed. Save the new document created by InDesign with the data already used under a different name. Make sure that this name is very indicative. With us we usually attach the purpose or the date to the end.
Change or update data sources afterwards
If more employees join or leave the company, the Excel file must of course be adapted and the source linked in InDesign. To do this, first update your Excel file and output the .txt or .csv format for InDesign again. Back in InDesign you can go to Data merging → Control panel menu → Update data source always keep them up-to-date.
About the author
Fabian is the founder and lecturer of the creative training. As a communication designer, I have been dealing with topics such as branding, marketing, design and workshops since 2009.
follow meLinkedIn or Instagram
You are looking for Seminars all about design and marketing? Here you will find a suitable selection:
Branding and branding
- How is credit risk measured
- What is the radial scheme of power distribution
- Have you ever eaten paella
- Is Ted Cruz the Zodiac Killer
- Should beat Pewdiepie by the T-Series
- How long has the earth been explored?
- How do you determine the titrant concentration
- Why did Stargate die
- How can the government improve small businesses
- What do the Slovenes think of Donald Trump
- Free broadband is good business
- Why is neutralization an exothermic reaction
- What the hell happened to Ted Nugent
- How different is CGI from animation
- Who makes a celebrity Wikipedia page
- Why do we learn matrix in math
- How did polearms differ from spears?
- How does the Apple file system work
- Ukraine will collapse soon
- What does so called mean
- Smoking cigarettes makes people moody
- How much should parents argue
- What are the most effective natural deodorants
- How can it be unhealthy to eat undercooked fish?