We use data merge frequently, using the same Excel files and InDesign templates over and over. Over the past week or so, our merges have stopped working, and we get this attached error message. We have removed any placeholders in both InDesign and Excel that are not being used. We have tried creating various .csv files from Excel. What could we be doing wrong, our workflow has not changed. Thank you!
Please check the following scenarios:
Did you (mistakingly or not) change a data column title? Then the data merge panel will tell you which placeholder is not connected properly.
Did you add a new data column in excel with a space? Check the csv file, first line if there is an additional comma at the end. If so clean up that column in excel and export csv again.
Edit: There have been bugs with older InDesign versions and data merge. Try to update if there's an update available.
We have checked the column headers to make sure they are correct. The panel has not provided any info on which specific placeholder is a problem.
We have even gone back to previous Excel/InDesign file combinations that did work. They no longer work.
We tried using both InDesign 14.0.3 and 15.0.1. I will try loading anyupdates.
Please try to remove all data except line 1 (header) and 2 (first record). Export csv again. Does the error appear again?
Additionally. There was a reported bug that could be solved by removing the data source and link it once again (I know that's work but give it a try) and then save a new indesign file(other name).
I created a new Excel .csv file. It had one column header and one field of data. InDesign gave me the same error message. This was using InDesign 15.0.01. I tried your other suggestion, with the same error message result. I should mention we are working on Macs, using system 10.14.6.
I just looked up the reported bug i mentioned. The solution was to CREATE A NEW Indesign document - not to save the old one with another name (sorry for wrong info). You still may copy over layout and stuff.
Then setup the merge fields again. The unconfirmed guess was that the indesign document gathers data scrap as time goes by and creating it new should solve it.
If you are on mac we recommend give MyDataMerge a try (https://mydatamerge.com). Its new, macOS only, its easy and it extends merge functionality a lot. We only use that for data merge. Saved so much time.
Creating a new InDesign file and copying over the contents of the old seems to work. Not an ideal solution given the number of files we have, but thank you for the idea!
I looked at MyDataMerge. Another good option that I hope will prevent this from happening again. I appreciate your help in resolving this, and I pray Adobe is reading this as well.
Glad you solved it that way. Otherwise i would have been run out of ideas. 🙂
Would you accept it as correct answer so others could profit of it as well?
Data merge panel will (sort of) identify which data placeholders didn't work - the ones used have a page number - if the data item has no page number and you can see that it is in your document then that is a faulty placeholder - relink it.
What worked for me was to go to the menu "Window" and then "Interactive" - in the dropdown there is a choice for "Hyperlinks" - select this and a panel will pop up that shows all the hyperlinks in the doc. I had some ghost hyperlinks that were copying over with the formatting when I created a new doc. I deleted all the hyperlinks and tried the data merge again and it worked. Good luck to all!
Thanks for the great lead. There was definitely no unlinked placeholders but it still wouldn't work for me. I even deleted every placeholder in the document (preview button then greys out to confirm I got them all) then added a new textbox with a new placeholder - still wouldn't work.
I ended up deleting all the hyperlinks in the Hyperlinks panel that didn't have a page number. Then trying to turn on merge preview, and it worked! Without having to make a new document!
This is the real solution to this annoying problem. Starting a new document only creates headaches (if you have a complex document, with parent pages etc.), but removing the Hyperlinks works even if you want to re-use a template with placeholders already there. Thanks!
My workflow to remove all placeholders is to
Thank you so much it worked
I faced same error. So I try with very new Indesign file then problem solved. Dont use eye dropper tool even. All need to start from the bigining.
I was also getting the same error. There was definitely no unlinked placeholders but I still got the same error as the OP. I even deleted every placeholder in the document (preview button then greys out to confirm I got them all) then added a new textbox with a new placeholder — still wouldn't work.
Thanks to the tip from @Esme5FD3 I ended up deleting all the hyperlinks in the Hyperlinks panel that didn't have a page number. Then trying to turn on merge preview, and it worked! Without having to make a new document!
I had the same issue. The only way I found to trouble shoot this was to go through starting with page/spread number 1 and delete all other pages then turn on preview, if preview worked I would then undo the deletion and continue to the next page and do the same thing untill I found the first page which was throwing an errror. My problem ended up being a field on page 20 and the core issue was that some extra characters had snuck in to one of the header rows of the csv file, once I deleted these in Excel, everything worked again. I had read on other forums you could use the Hyperlink inspector to find errors but the above method was the only way that worked for me (except for remaking the entire document).