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How to minimize the amount of manual interaction in InDesign?

Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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I am looking for a workflow suggestion for a directory listing. I would like to either use a datamerge, or prepare data for import, (knowing there would be data manipulation required in either process). Below is basic sample data of what I am provided and finished layout. Please keep in mind there are many other columns of data including address, web, email, affliation icons, etc.

 

The basic sample data (spreadsheet) is like this:

Company Contact Country
ABC Company Name 1 USA
ABC Company Name 2 USA
Incorporated Name 3 Canada
Incorporated Name 4 Canada
Incorporated Name 5 Canada

 

The finished layout will look this:

ABC Company
USA

Name 1

Name 2

Incorporated
Canada

Name 3

Name 4

Name 5

 

Open to any workflow suggestions that would minimize manipulation, and hopefully some automation.

 

<Title renamed by moderator>

 

 

 

TOPICS
Import and export , Performance , Print , Scripting

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Either complete overhaul of the spreadsheet - or custom script.

 

Right now - DataMerge won't be able to process this data as the information for a "single" record is in a multiple lines. 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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I would just leave subsequent Company and Country fields blank, export your spreadsheet out as a tab-delimted txt, flow it and replace tabs with returns, then find replace blank lines with nothing.

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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But Country should be before Contact as well? 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Sure, flip the columns. 

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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How will you determine where new "record" starts??

 

Ok, got your idea - but what with formatting - styles? 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Concat some tags to the startinng Company/Country, and FR to style after import: 
Screen Shot 2023-01-04 at 2.17.54 PM.png

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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😉 then why not just import the table, style columns and convert to text with the same separator - enter 😉 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Sure, that's another way to do it that doesn't require an overhaul of the spreadsheet or a custom script. But I hate tables, so there's that 😉

 

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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But your way leaves text without formatting with a lot of manual work - so I don't think your private preferences matter 😉

What matters is the simplest way for the OP to achieve the goal... 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Friend, FYI, your propensity for always believing you are right and others are wrong is off-putting to others trying to help. 

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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??? At which point I'm claiming that my way is the only way?? 

 

It's you who suggested wrong solution - just because you don't like tables?? 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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My solution led to your solution. Your initial solution was "completely overhaul the spreadsheet or custom script", which we now know is wrong. I was half-joking about tables, but said your solution worked just fine too. 

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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I was just pointing out that your personal preference doesn't matter - the same as mine - adding a smile - it's you who took it way too much personally...

 

And why do you assume that my 1st suggestion is wrong? OP have not confirmed if your solution will fit his needs??

 

Also, from the original post:

 

Please keep in mind there are many other columns of data including address, web, email, affliation icons, etc.

 

So why are you assuming that EVERYTHING will be in one column?? 

 

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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And your idea to "leave subsequent Company and Country fields blank" - would require the same amount of work as doing the "proper" database - manually or using Excel macro or script in the InDesign - and then you have much greater functionality...

 

So you've proved my point anyway 😄

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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OK. Loic's answer is probably right then. Not the first thread I've seen where you have to have the final word. But we'll leave it at that. Cheers. 

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Not sure what is your problem ... 

 

Loic's answer COULD be right - but we don't know OP's budget, how often he will need to do it, how many changes, finall layout, etc. - so why are you drawing the conclusion? 

 

I'm pretty sure it's a place where we can discuss solutions to the problems - at no point in time I've ever claimed that any of my ideas are "the only one" - if anyone have a better one - then I'm happy to learn something new.

 

So me asking "why" - in order to learn something new and also let others to learn something new - is wrong? Is it a policy here not to ask too many questions - or it's just you having some kind a grudge against me ??

 

Or really others think the same?? 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Guess I'm just having a bad day, but your response to my tables comment, smiley face or not, left a sour taste. Sorry I responded the way I did. No hard feelings. Cheers. 

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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No problem, I sometimes also have a bad day - especially last few months - so we are good. Wish you a better day tomorrow. Cheers

 

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Valorous Hero ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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From my experience, while everything can be scripted by all means, mounting structured documents is probably best achieved with commercial plugins such as EasyCatalog or InCatalog. I know better the former and I think that the money you may want to save with a script will be widely saved with those products 😉

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Guide ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Don't think such expensive tools are really needed to do this simple thing 😉 

 

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Valorous Hero ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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Point is, mounting catalogs and directories often require more than simple tricks. IMHO, for non-developers, it's sometimes more comfortable and invest-prone in the long-term. But I do agree, not only it's my personal opinion and yes as I said, scripting can do much 😉

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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While I would like to perform this task with the application set that I have, I could consider a commercial plugin. I hope you don't mind a few questions regarding EasyCatalog and InCatalog.

  • I need to perform a lot of additional data cleanup, like consistent phone format, remove "www." from website, Change UPPER case to Sentence case, etc., can the plugins perform these functions?
  • Can the plugins do conditional formatting, like change the color of a company name whether the company is US or International?
  • How well do the plugins handle empty records, fields and lines? Indesign datamerge can remove blank lines, but leaves tags behind.

TIA

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Advisor ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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It just took me 10 min. to achieve the initial question with 5 simple Grep Find/Replace.

 

... Envoyer la suite et Bonne Année à Tous !  😉

 

(^/)  The Jedi

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Guide ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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Yes, initial example is piece of cake - but there is more to process. 

 

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