I am a professional novice when it comes to my Adobe skills. Although I have been using the products at my job for many years, and loving them, I am not “trained”. So…
I want to create a catalog (the product catalog I have now is over 500 pages, created by another product, that shall remain nameless, that I inherited) where I can have many product tables with varying details, but they always will include a part number and prices. Sometimes the prices are single column, sometimes they are multiple columns. Additionally I’d like to have a column header for the prices that indicates price breaks (1-4, 5+, etc).
I am convinced there is a way to create my pages “artistically”, place the tables of product data on the pages, and whenever I need to update pricing using an external import type process like an Excel spreadsheet with part numbers, prices and column headers I can. Am I CRAZY? Is this possible? Some kind of automated process to fill data in a mass upload type way for multiple thousands of parts, year-end year out.
If you have strictly text-based tables, you can link to an Excel file, using Table and Cell styles. The tables can flow across multiple pages or can be numberous stand-alone tables (these can be saved as separate Excel files or as separate worksheets in an Excel workbook).
If you want updates in a "artiistic" page layout, you will need a third-party plug-in. These are generally not inexpensive. If you are interested in some products, let me know and I'll list some.
If you are dealing with QuarkXPress pages, check out Markzware's Q2ID plugin.
I'm not sure what strickly text based tables means.
What I was thinking of was being able to link one large external spreadsheet of data containing only the look-up field and the pricing information. Then linking it with the hundreds of small independent tables in the InDesign document that would have the link field and the other fields for pricing that would need to be populated. Kind of like the Vlookup process in Excell.
What you describe seems like I would still need to create individual excell tables and place those in my ID document. That doesn't help eliminate the manual process of maniuplating each table, or am I still not understanding this?
Text-based tables are tables that contain only text, not graphics. Below is an example of an 89-page table (not a catalog price list, but same concept). This could easily be linked to an Excel file if continual updates were required. You don't technically need to link to individual worksheets--you could link to Excel named regions too. When the Excel file(s) are updated, the InDesign tables can be automatically updated.
If you need to link to individual fields spread around the page layout rather than in a table format and you want to auto-import referenced graphics, you will need a database plugin. Most of these can work with CSV, tab-delimited, and Excel files; some can connect directly to a database. (InDesign has a basic Data Merge function, but I suspect it won't do what you want.)
If you could upload a screen capture of the type of layout you want to create, it would be helpful.
This is helpful, almost with you.
Here are two pages that represent most of how my catalogs look. Some offers are more artsy, but all product prices are presented in the tables you see.
The tables themselves could be linked to an Excel files since they are pretty straight forward. Be sure to use only Table can Cell styles (Paragraph styles are linked via Cell styles).
If the layouts, including tables, are static (not flowing between columns/pages), then your workflow is pretty simple--just place the tables in their own text frame while linking them.
If you layout DOES need to flow across columns and pages, the tables cannot be part of the text flow AND linked to an Excel file. However, you can use inline text frames, which in turn contain the linked tables. You will need to place the table (probably on the pasteboard area), size the text frame, cut the frame, and paste inline. Be sure to set the inline text frame to auto-adjust the height with the Text Frame Options.
I'm not sure what you mean by the tabels flowing across pages. Each table will be independent as you can see in the samples. So I think I’m good there.
So I have an InDesign document (catalog) with 100 pages. On those pages I have, say, 400 tables of varying size, with regard to the number of items in each one. This document will change very little from year to year: a few pages added here and there, a few pages may go a way. This process you are suggesting will allow me to simply change my Excell spreadsheet, without going in and changing each of those 400 tables individually (provided I use the same Excell file names etc), yes?
Can you walk me through setting up one small table like you are describing? I’ve gone into InDesign and created tables, but I don’t see how I am supposed to do the linking?
>>This process you are suggesting will allow me to simply change my Excell spreadsheet, without going in and changing each of those 400 tables individually
Yes, this is correct--but the document needs to be set up correctly for everything to work.
A couple of questions:
Are you saying I need to create 400 individual Excell tables and place those?
But, at some point, you will have 400 individual tables that you will place and apply ONLY Table and Cell styles with a link. (The link is in InDesign's File Handling Preferences.) You tables should be able to be formatted with just a few clicks each.
Thank you. I think I understand. I'll need test this out and see how it's done. Once I do it I'll be OK, but until then I'm still anxious. I was hoping not to have to create so many elements. I was hoping to have a database situation were I could have a mass of pricing data and then link any ables I created in InDesign see the part number and then through a link realize it needed to go pull the assigned pricing so in fact I would have only one massively big Excel spreadsheet (in theory) linking to 400 (in theory) tables in any one InDesign document.
If I can make your process work with minor maintenance after the fact I have no issue with creating multiple linked tables.
Wish me luck.
If your Excel data is coming from a database anyway, you might want to look into using a database plugin that can pull the info directly from your database (if your budget allows).
Here are just some options:
I wouldn't trust the database I have to work with further than I have to throw it right now. I usually extract what I need process it with a couple scripts given to me by my IT people and it comes out as a spreadsheet. However, I will look at these programs you suggested.
I really appreciate your help.