4 essential ways from Excel to InDesign
The pagination of Excel data into InDesign is one of the most requested types of workflow.
There are four widely adopted approaches to link Excel with InDesign.
Save Excel as .txt/.csv
Single product style
flat catalog; certificates
Place Command Options
However, in our opinion Place Command Options are best used in the population and updating of product sheet tables. Yes, population AND update, since one of the features that this method offers is the creation and maintenance of the links between spreadsheet files and the InDesign document.
Basically, you map a single product style, which is copied and injected once for each row of you data file. We need to write a data file instead of an Excel file: this is the first deviance from the straight path of Excel to InDesign. To use InDesign Data Merge you have to “save as…” your data as another plain text format (a .txt/.csv).
Aside from that, for all the projects focused on a single product style, repeated for each record of your Excel spreadsheet, Data Merge will become an indispensable tool. Data Merge is the standard method for paginating business card batches, yearbooks, deck cards, certificates, etc. automatically. It is also good for creating a price list or a long stream of product sheets.
Features include: creation and maintenance of the links between spreadsheet files and the InDesign document; product styles are inserted automatically and new pages are added; the product styles are inserted as a standard floating object, hence it is easy to customize a page after the initial pagination; image fitting options.
The “save as…” step is just a simple additional, but be aware that it could expose you to the infamous “Save as glitch*”. We help to solve this issue with our “Export as Unicode free Excel add-in”.
Learn how to create a simple car catalog with Data Merge.
With attributes and tables, you can control the layout of quite complex documents such as calendars, complex pricelists, and technical catalogues. XML import takes into account the category of your entities, allowing you to create breaks: table breaks, page breaks, category breaks (a.k.a. chapter separators), and document breaks.
To generate the XML from Excel, you can start with the following simple tutorial.
The XML import enhances the graphic control you can have of your layout thanks to a carefully thoughtout data structure. This method lets you take advantage of a concatenate text frame (like the Master Text Frame option you find in the new document options). This lets you build a flow of objects paginated inline with the text. In this way, if you need to delete some paginated objects, the following objects flow back automatically. That’s nice!
How to make a Catalog with XML Import