Keep inDesign formatting in place when a linked file is updated

Explorer ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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I am about to embark on a project in which I'll build 12 prices lists in inDesign. The information from the lists will come from a single massive Excel document (about 1,000 rows x 8 columns) that's controlled by someone in a different department. Each price list will use a subset of the Excel data and there will be some overlap between the lists so I want to keep the Excel as the master document. What I'm "worried" about is this: typically, when a linked Excel sheet is changed, the modified information will revert in inDesign to its original formatting. I don't want that to happen. Is there any way that I can set it up so that if the link is updated, the formatting stays as is? I'm willing to use whatever "technology" would work – libraries, plug-ins, etc. 

If it IS possible, what is the optimum way to import the Excel data into inDesign? Thank you to anyone who can help.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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The only reliable way to do that I've heard of is to use WordsFlow from Em Software:

 

http://emsoftware.com/products/wordsflow/

 

You cannot do it by using InDesign's linking capabilities by themselves.

 

 

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Explorer ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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Thank you. I'll look into that right now.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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1000 rows isn't much for Excel--I have a file with over 1,000,000 rows. 

 

You want to create "named regions" in Excel for your various import regions--or you can copy the rows to separate worksheets and paste with links in Excel.

 

InDesign will keep all formatting IF you use only Table and Cell styles. You apply your paragraph styles through cell styles. Don't do any edits, direct formatting, or merging in InDesign--do it in Excel. 

 

David Creamer
Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Certified Professional, and Adobe Certified Expert

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Explorer ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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Thank you for your input. I have bad dreams about formatting text in Excel from previous experience. Also, the keeper of the Excel file doesn't have the same fonts I use for the price lists. But the idea of applying text through cell styles in InDesign has possibility. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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You don't do (or import) any formatting from Excel--just the geometry. Bring the Excel file in as "unformatted". 

 

I've attached a workflow that I use. 

 

David Creamer
Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Certified Professional, and Adobe Certified Expert

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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Just to clarify my term "direct formatting"...

Don't apply paragraph styles or text formatting directly to the table text in InDesign. Create a cell style that links to the paragraph style. Sorry for the poor phrasing.

 

David Creamer
Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Certified Professional, and Adobe Certified Expert

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Explorer ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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I appreciate that you sent that document. It's very useful. Thank you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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To add to David's reply regarding using Cell styles, etc., I have a lesson on this in my InDesign Tables Course on LinkedIn Learning. If you have an account, take a look: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/indesign-tables/working-with-linked-word-and-excel-documents

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Explorer ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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Thank you Diane. I will look for it now.

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