Adobe Certified Expert - InDesign CS2
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Episode 7: The Urge to Merge

Inspired by a question from a listener, this week’s episode takes a detailed look at InDesign CS2’s Data Merge function, which allows a level of automated, data-driven publishing and page creation options that can prove to be a powerful tool and a genuine time-saver. It’s not perfect — and I talk about that, too — but it works and works well.

Download the episode here (22:42 | 5.2MB), or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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6 Responses to “Episode 7: The Urge to Merge”

  1. Fantastic podcast! very helpful. Any chance of re posting this in a video podcast?

  2. In fact, I have. Check out Episode 43: Data Merge for a video tutorial on data merge.

  3. Tony Sharpe says:

    Great tutorial thanks. I had a problem with Excel 2007 rejecting the “@” at the start of the field name as an invalid function. I found a workaround on the web that fixes it, start with an apostrophe before the @ so you have ‘@Photos which works fine.

  4. That’s correct, Tony. The video episode I did more recently on Data Merge specifically mentions that.

  5. Hi there,
    I work for a nonprofuit and we do an enoemous amount of marketing through mailings. Mostly difficult is our 1/4 sheet post cards that need to be mail merged and printed. We just purchased a Konica c500 with the external Creo harddrive and it is a variable data system. We quikly learned that we need to updgrade to a variable data software such as print shop mail in design. Now indesign was the preferable product for a million reasons, and as I have found there are a bunch of different plug ins that help with the customization we would want (Darwin In Data etc)
    My question is, what is the best way to create a 1/4 sheet post card with a graphic on the fromt, and an addressed side on the back, then mail merge the addresses on to the mailing side of the post card and print the entire document at once with 4 graphic front pages and 4 different addressed pages ont eh reverse side.
    In publisher you have to either print all of the fronts (page 1 of the publication and print multiple opies per sheet) and then print all of the merged reversed sides seperately (just printing the merged publication pages multiple pages per sheet)

    We are trying to print the whole document correctly with one run through the printer because it is obviously mush faster that way.

    We are told we need to create an overlay with in design theat will print on the front side of all post sheets (4 times on the page, and then print the merged reverse side on the back. I cant seem to get any answers from adobe on whether all of this intracate crap is possible. I am jsut an average person trying to do a simple thing that is apparently pretty high tech! LOL
    can somee body PLEASE help me with this?

  6. Ruth —

    This is a HUGE question, with a lot of specifics about systems with which I am not familiar. Even if I were, this is essentially an entire project process solution you’re looking for, which I can’t provide. Based on my “old school” training in traditional printing, the solution of running the “common” side in advance and then going back for a second variable-data pass sounds like the path of least resistance to me.

    But I’ll throw it out there to anyone else lurking on the blog. Is there a solution anyone wants to recommend here?