Perhaps you don’t know, perhaps you have always just used Microsoft Word for it – but you no longer have an excuse. Adobe InDesign does data merge (or ‘mail merge’ for all you Word users out there) and it seemed like a task and half to find a decent, straightforward, no-bull tutorial on the web for how to just use it – so here’s a basic step-by-step.
Layout your design
It’s pretty easy – just design your item (let’s say a name tag) like you would any other design. Put in some dummy text for now, no problems.
Create your data
You’ll need the information you’re going to use in a tab separated .txt file – you can do this by exporting it from Excel or Numbers. Put in column headings – InDesign needs them. Something tricky to note here, InDesign can Data Merge image files if you like – but their column heading needs to start with an @ symbol, and their content needs to be a relative path to the image file you’re going to merge. eg- “/images/variable-named-image-.jpg”.
Hook up your data
Pick your data file through the Automation -> Data Merge Panel -> Select Data Source link in InDesign. Then the panel will list out the values you can data merge – just drag these out into the appropriate text/image boxes in your file. And that’s it – you can preview values using the preview function on the Data Merge Panel, or just hit the Create Merged Document link and you’re done. Now that wasn’t so hard – and didn’t need a 10 page tutorial + video to explain.