I have 1000's of files that range from 60-300 pages.
These are currently printed on different colour stock.
We are changing the printer and can only print on white stock, so the original colour pages need to be added to the design file. Our idea is to print colour bands down the side of each page.
My question is how do we automate adding these coloured bars to the outside edges of these InDesign documents. The colours will change throughout the file and will be variable so setting up master pages will not work.
In addition, these files get updated on a yearly basis, so it is likely in the future that pages will be moved/deleted/added. So we are looking for a solution that can work around this.
If anyone has any ideas I would be extremely grateful.
What type of file are you delivering to your printer, if they are pdfs the color bars can be added on export by checking onthe color bars option under Marks and Bleeds.
I don't know how the paper color was designated, tracked, or implemented up until this point, but that, whatever it is, would have to be the nexus of any automatic addition of corresponding color elements added to the pages. I have doubts that you'll find an InDesign-native solution for this.
Your assertion that master pages won't work seems self-defeating.
I can imagine a set of master pages differing only in the color stripe, and a script that would walk through the document looking for section starts (or whatever your trigger is) at which point it would set a new master for following pages.
If the basis of the colours are 'conceptual', that is: lime green goes with grass mowers section this year; light blue with bathroom appliances, you might get away wit a mix of master pages and custom concept related-colour swatches.
I mean: the lime green would be called "grass mowers", the light blue would be called "bathroom appliances". So, next season, you change the bathroom appliances to whatever hue fits you.
A bit more, if you use an InDesign book to build your job (and a complex job with many pages and sections is a good candidate), you might benefit from a colour stnchronization to change the swatches very easyly.
I do not know it that approach might help
Best regards 🙂
As already mentioned - the printers were already colating sections.
It's possible for the printers to apply ink to the section edges after printing.
I'm not sure if it's possible for your printer - but worth the conversation
Another possibility might be to define a spot color called Edge and use that on the master page, then ask the printer to substitute whatever spot color you really need on press.
How are you printing these?
Are they being printed by a professional printer, or in-house on an office printer.
The reason I ask, is that most office printers will have a non-printable margin which would defeat your idea to have an edge band of colour.
Without using a master page scenario, you are going to have to deal with creating hundreds of bands individually on each page, script or not.
There are some scripts out there that can apply a Master Page based on things like a Paragraph Style (e.g : https://creativepro.com/topic/script-to-apply-master-page-based-on-style-sheet/
I'm not sure if you have scripting experience, but if you do, I can see modifying one of those... e.g. linking to your variable, or, a Style assigned to your variable, etc, etc.
Using something like that, I would suggest making master pages that are "Based On" one that is your base one for the first colour, and then create the additional "Based On" ones in the colour you want for each. That way if you need to make a change to your base Master, those changes will populate through the other ones.
Then there's the issue of what to do with blank pages, etc.
*Update: I downloaded a demo of Mastermatic and it's probably a good solution for you (no endorsement intended)
Thank you for taking the time to reply. There are a lot of ideas in here that have made me explore different solutions.
To answer some of your questions; We send PDFs to print using a professional printer so printing up to the bleed line is not an issue and rather than the actual edge of the paper it's a 7mm band down the left/right outer side that is required.
Unfortunately the paper colours are not allocated by any set triggers, the client dictates them so they are totally ad hoc and do not necessarily correspond to the page content.
Setting up master pages with just the bands on works as long as the page content is not locked. The original page content will disappear if it is locked and with the quality of the team I have to work with this is just too risky.
We are currently exploring object styles, setting a band up for left and right sides. We would still have to manually apply this and update to the correct colour on each page. A lengthy process but the safest option to keep consistency and existing content untouched.
"The original page content will disappear if it is locked"
No if you place the bands in a layer under the other content