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I have recently discovered the variables tool, and I find it very useful to autopopulate text boxes with a list of variables from a .csv file. Once I have loaded a variable library and generated Data Sets, my next step is to generate an indivudal artboard for each item (i.e. "Data Set 1", "Data Set 2", etc.). However, the only way I have found to do this is manually click "Next Data Set", select the cooresponding artboard with the artboard tool, copy, paste, and repeat. Has anyone encountered this problem and found a solution? Is there an easy way to script this process?
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Which version of Illustrator are you using?
Can you share a sample file including some variables and some further instructions in order to clarify the matter?
You could do this: you can make such an action that copies and pastes some rectangle, then moves it a certain amount right-wards. If you make a copy of that copy to store in the new xy position, you can take your first copy and run the "convert rectangle to artboard" command in the Object > Artboards menu item.
You'd probably have a starting rectangle with a special note, make a copy of that rectangle in place, change its note to a temporary note, then you select all art on active artboard (via menu item) and duplicate it (if you wish to include all the art), move-copy that art into a new place. Then have your action select your temporary note and make a copy of this rectangle and use the convert-to-artboards command. Now your extra copy will create an artboard for you, but it will still be there, so you can clear it out as it should be the only selected item now. If not, you can do all kinds of notes so as to be able to deselect all, select just the noted rectangle and delete it.
Thanks for your reply Silly-V. If I understand your solution correctly, this would solve for replicating the artboards, but I'm unclear how I would use this approach to automatically populate the variables with the objects from each data set. This part is key, as I am ultimately trying to convert an excel spreadsheet of variable objects into a panel of artboards with the corresponding text. Am I misudnerstanding your solution?
No, you use it the same way, you use the Batch Action process to go through the variable data sets, which will automatically populate all variable text as default behavior, but in your batch action you set the "destination" to "None". Your custom action that duplicates and re-annotates rectangles and what-else, it will still be played as part of the batch action process but it won't export any files or save any files anywhere.
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Thanks for the sample file, Alex.
Silly-V already told that it may be done with an action. Basically, I agree with him, and I can imagine some different and probably promising approaches. Thoroughly listening to his thoughts, you may already suspect that any kind of action route will be kinda hell of a ride in this case. It is doable, but sooner or later inflexible (e.g. the given numbers of datasets may vary often).
I'm not quite sure, but I assume that the task can be done with a nifty script altogether. Probably way more efficient than cobbling together a bumpy action.