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Fix Data Merge Errors in InDesign

Adobe Employee ,
Aug 21, 2020

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Using Data merge, you can merge a data source file (CSV or TXT) to create multiple versions of an InDesign document. It is possible that you encounter error messages in this process. See the table below for the common error messages associated with data merge and how to troubleshoot them. 

 

Error Message 

Reason 

Solution 

The data source cannot be opened. 

When the source file (exported from Microsoft Excel as a CSV or TXT file) is still open in the application.  

Close the Microsoft Excel document and try again. 

The selected data source has one or more empty field names. 

One or more field name in the header row is missing. These include blank columns as well which must have a field name. 

  • Check the source file for missing field names. 
  • Remove any blank columns. 

The data source file you selected either has no records or is not a supported file format. 

  • Importing a Microsoft Excel file instead of CSV or TXT file. 
  • Importing blank or incomplete TXT file.  

 Check the file name and save it using the format dropdown in the save dialog box.

There is a least one data placeholder that cannot be found in the data source. 

Mostly occurs when updating data sources. Common causes include: 

  • Renaming field headers 
  • Incorrect data source selection. 
  • Corrupt field name. 
  • Start a new Data Merge project. 
  • Re-link the updated data source. 
  • Check the field names and field headers.  

Not well-formed 

Two or more colons are in the field name (neither at the start or end of a field name). 

 Delete colons in field names when creating a database for a Data Merge file. 

Content contains characters that cannot be encoded. 

The data source is a PDF or Ai file that isn’t intended to be used as Data Merge database.  

Select CSV or TXT file instead. 

Generic extended parser error. 

  • The data source is an HTML file that isn’t intended to be used as a Data Merge database. 
  • There’s a colon within the field name. 
  • Select CSV or TXT file for Data Merge. 
  • Keep the colon at the start or end (or both) of the field name.  

The data source references one or more missing images. 

Referenced links in the image fields of the data source are missing.  

Fix the links in the Data source and then update the data source.  

Import failing without any error message. 

  • The first line of the file has no value. 
  • Mismatch in fields of the header rows and database rows.  
  • Add a header row with field names. 
  • Update missing field names 

 

Thanks to our ACP, Colin Flashman who had authored this information on indesignsecrets.com where you can find more information. 

If these solutions do not help and you need more assistance, reply to this post providing details of the Error Message and the procedures you performed before it. We will do our best to help. 

TOPICS
How to, Import and export, Performance

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Fix Data Merge Errors in InDesign

Adobe Employee ,
Aug 21, 2020

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Using Data merge, you can merge a data source file (CSV or TXT) to create multiple versions of an InDesign document. It is possible that you encounter error messages in this process. See the table below for the common error messages associated with data merge and how to troubleshoot them. 

 

Error Message 

Reason 

Solution 

The data source cannot be opened. 

When the source file (exported from Microsoft Excel as a CSV or TXT file) is still open in the application.  

Close the Microsoft Excel document and try again. 

The selected data source has one or more empty field names. 

One or more field name in the header row is missing. These include blank columns as well which must have a field name. 

  • Check the source file for missing field names. 
  • Remove any blank columns. 

The data source file you selected either has no records or is not a supported file format. 

  • Importing a Microsoft Excel file instead of CSV or TXT file. 
  • Importing blank or incomplete TXT file.  

 Check the file name and save it using the format dropdown in the save dialog box.

There is a least one data placeholder that cannot be found in the data source. 

Mostly occurs when updating data sources. Common causes include: 

  • Renaming field headers 
  • Incorrect data source selection. 
  • Corrupt field name. 
  • Start a new Data Merge project. 
  • Re-link the updated data source. 
  • Check the field names and field headers.  

Not well-formed 

Two or more colons are in the field name (neither at the start or end of a field name). 

 Delete colons in field names when creating a database for a Data Merge file. 

Content contains characters that cannot be encoded. 

The data source is a PDF or Ai file that isn’t intended to be used as Data Merge database.  

Select CSV or TXT file instead. 

Generic extended parser error. 

  • The data source is an HTML file that isn’t intended to be used as a Data Merge database. 
  • There’s a colon within the field name. 
  • Select CSV or TXT file for Data Merge. 
  • Keep the colon at the start or end (or both) of the field name.  

The data source references one or more missing images. 

Referenced links in the image fields of the data source are missing.  

Fix the links in the Data source and then update the data source.  

Import failing without any error message. 

  • The first line of the file has no value. 
  • Mismatch in fields of the header rows and database rows.  
  • Add a header row with field names. 
  • Update missing field names 

 

Thanks to our ACP, Colin Flashman who had authored this information on indesignsecrets.com where you can find more information. 

If these solutions do not help and you need more assistance, reply to this post providing details of the Error Message and the procedures you performed before it. We will do our best to help. 

TOPICS
How to, Import and export, Performance

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Aug 21, 2020 2
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 23, 2020

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Thank you so much for this important post!

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Aug 23, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 23, 2020

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Aug 23, 2020 0
Adobe Employee ,
Aug 23, 2020

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Hi Colin,

 

I'd seen your post on InDesign secrets and I completely liked the way you've collated the information there and I wrote a similar post in Adobe community because we did not have any dedicated help article for the same.

 

Regards,

Sheena

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