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combine InDesign files with custom TOC

Explorer ,
Mar 15, 2023 Mar 15, 2023

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My company is working on developing curricula that will include a core set of lessons and a large number of add-on lessons. Customers will then choose their core lessons and any number of add-on lessons. Essentially each customer will order a custom book. I am trying to figure out if this process can easily be done in InDesign, and I would like ideas on where to start my research.

 

I have two main questions:

  1. Is there a good way to combine Indesign files to create a custom book. I am familiar with InDesign Books, but since each book will be different, I wasn't sure that option would work.
  2. If I can combine files, what about the table of contents? Is there an option besides the normal table of contents feature that looks for certain styles. I could use that but I've struggled to be able to do good formatting beside just doing it manually.

 

Basically, I'm trying to figure out where to start researching if these things are feasible.

 

Thanks!

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Import and export , Print

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Community Expert ,
Mar 15, 2023 Mar 15, 2023

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If it's workable, I'd publish each lesson/chapter to its own PDF, with modular page numbering  (say, "XYZ–1" etc.) Each should have its own self-relevant TOC.

 

I'd then assemble each book from the relevant PDFs.

 

I'd then use a TOC template file and delete all the unused entries. It would list only the order of the lessons included, with (probably) a descriptive paragraph). Export to PDF and add to the book stack. Send to print or whatever.

 

To do anything else, to have the whole process dynamic and generate custom page numbering and a detailed TOC, would involve something a lot closer to a database/assembly script than anything InDesign can do inherently. If the volume is so high that, say, ten minutes to assemble and package a book is too much — and I'd assume that there were many "standard editions" that could be pre-prepared — then ID is going to be only a small part of the process.

 


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Mar 16, 2023 Mar 16, 2023

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Thanks for the reply! I also discussed with one of our other designers here. She suggested using the book feature and just updating the TOC each time. I think if I set up my styles properly that would not be difficult to do.

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