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Help to develop a large product catalog

Community Beginner ,
Sep 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023

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Hello, I have some catalogs to develop, these catalogs have an average of 200 pages, with around 9 products on each page. My concern is that after assembling the entire catalog, in the future I may have new items to insert, so if I need to include a new item on page 10 for example, what could I do for the rest of the catalog if I reordered it correctly and automatically? Is there any way to do this? because when I add this item on page 10, all other items would have to move forward.

Any tip will be of great help, thank you!

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People's Champ ,
Sep 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023

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It really depends on the design of the catalog.

If you go for a straightforward grid of products on each page, it is possible to construct the ID file in such a way that things shift if you add or remove a product.

But if each page is more highly designed, then obviously you can't expect miracles. Subsequent pages would need to be redesigned.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023

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Can you show an example of a few pages? Basically, to get what you are after you would use anchored objects. You could put the text for each item in one text frame as either tet or a table, put the images for the item in picture frames, then group them. THis group can act as one object that you can paste into a text frame as an anchored object. The text flows from page to page. Adding an item would just reflow the following items to other pages.

 

This could also be done by just anchoring the image or images for each item and having the text flow in the document, provided the styles or tables are styles properly. If each item is always hte same size and occupies the same amount of space on each page it is probably doable, although complicated and not something I recommend to a new user.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023

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I haven't started creating the catalog yet, I'm collecting information to know the best way to create it, I have great knowledge with Illustrator and Photoshop, but in indesign I've never done a complete job with so many pages

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Community Expert ,
Sep 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023

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[...] so if I need to include a new item on page 10 for example, what could I do for the rest of the catalog if I reordered it correctly and automatically? Is there any way to do this? because when I add this item on page 10, all other items would have to move forward. [...]

 

TaW has already addressed the manual way of doing this; one long story with one threaded text frame on each page, with a simple grid layout of text content and inline anchored images, perhaps in a table. There are lots of ways to pull this off, but if this explanation isn't immediately obvious to you, you might have to pursue some education in long document wrangling in InDesign before our answers are useful to you.

 

There are third party products - catalog plugins - that may be useful to you . This post by Colin Flashman offers URLs for five catalog plugins that are frequently referred to around here; I've used a few of them, and they all had useful functionalities with some kinds of limitation, so it's worth looking at them and/or downloading demos to see how well they work for your circumstances.

 

If you've ever used InDesign's Data Merge functionality, you might be able to use it for catalog layout. I've done so before, but never with anything particularly visually stimulating. It's great for frequently updated price lists, though. 

 

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023

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I'll take a look at the plugins, I'm researching the best way to do this work before starting it, thank you for the information

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People's Champ ,
Sep 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023

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Once you've settled on a design, I recommend you post back here with some screenshots of it, and people will be able to tell you if it's practical to build an ID file based on such a design that is flexible in the way you require.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023

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There is very simple solution - make each product as a separate INDD file, export as PDF - for speed - then place each PDF as InLine graphics in a threaded Story. 

This way, you can easily add / remove / change order of the products. 

 

If you work on a PC - I've crested tool - BuildCatalog - that creates all the products from a database - DataMerge on steroids - from Excel file - exports PDFs automatically, then let's you place all the PDFs in specified order.

 

Each product can be build from a specified template - so if you have sections or different products - it's not a problem. 

 

What's more, it helps you to resize products - you use keyboard to switch between the products and resize them - then opens each resized product and moves elements inside the file - title / subtitle / description / photo(s) / table / icons / etc. - so it will "look better" - you can set relationships between the elements - title 5mm from the top, table 5mm from the bottom, description 5mm above the top edge of the table, etc. 

 

You can of course add extra elements - like headers, etc. 

 

And you can make it multilingual - import all languages from the start - or add later - each langue on a separate layers - plus common layers. 

 

You can turn on/off languages / layers to export PDF in a specific language, create index. 

 

And of course update content at any point - like prices. 

 

▒► ID-Tasker / ID-Tasker Server - work smart not hard ◄▒

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Community Expert ,
Sep 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023

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Why PDF? You can place InDesign files directly in another InDesign document.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023

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Yes, you can - but it will slow you down enormously - PDF is treated like an image - is not "interpreted", only preview is displayed, which works waaaay quicker. 

 

▒► ID-Tasker / ID-Tasker Server - work smart not hard ◄▒

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Community Expert ,
Sep 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023

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Hi Scott,

and here another argument pro PDF instead of placed InDesign pages:

If you work in an environment with many contributing users you must be sure to use the exact same version of InDesign for every placed InDesign page. You will get into trouble as soon as the main document stays in one version, e.g. InDesign 2023, and a placed InDesign document page will be saved with a newer version like the upcoming InDesign 2024.

 

Not so when you are using PDF files (best PDF/X-4 files with transparency intact and not downsampled images).

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Expert )

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