What is a catalog maker and what types are there?

product catalog generator

Table of Contents

  1. Catalog Maker Overview
  2. Types of Catalog Makers
  3. Online InDesign Catalog Maker: Pagination 
  4. Flipbook with Catalog Features: Flispsnack, FlippingBook, FlipHTML5
  5. Online Graphic Design Software: Canva, Drawtify
  6. Online Database with Catalog Features: Catalog Machine
  7. Conclusion


Catalog Maker Overview

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Catalog maker software are specialized tools designed to help individuals or businesses create professional and visually appealing catalogs for their products or services. These catalogs can be in digital format (for online distribution) or designed for print.

At the moment it seems difficult to use AI for the automatic creation of catalogs but there are several useful tools for generating the content (photos, translations, and more) that must be placed within the documents. To learn more about the topic, take a look at the AI Catalog Maker article.

Here’s a detailed look at various aspects of catalog maker software:

  • Templates and Design Options
    • Custom InDesign templates
    • Pre-designed templates for various types of catalogs.
    • Customizable layouts, allowing users to adjust columns, rows, and overall structure.
    • Themes and color schemes to match brand identity or preferences.
  • Product Import and Management
    • Options to import product details from databases or spreadsheets (PIM, ERP, DAM, e-commerce, and so on).
    • Tools to manage and organize products into categories or collections.
    • Features to easily update product information.
  • Image and Multimedia Integration
    • Ability to add high-resolution images and edit them within the software.
    • Options for adding videos or interactive elements in digital catalogs.
    • Image libraries and stock photos for additional visual elements.
  • Text and Content Editing:
    • Text editing tools for product descriptions, headlines, and additional information.
    • Support for different fonts and text styles.
    • Spell-check and grammar tools.
  • Branding and Customization:
    • Options to add logos, custom fonts, and other branding elements.
    • Ability to create a consistent look and feel across all pages.
  • Interactivity (for Digital Catalogs):
    • Features like clickable links, interactive product galleries, and embedded forms.
    • Integration with e-commerce platforms for direct purchasing from the catalog.
  • Printing and Distribution:
    • Print-ready formats and options to export in various file types.
    • Integration with printing services for easy ordering of physical copies.
    • Tools for sharing digital catalogs through email, social media, or embedding on websites.
  • Analytics and Tracking (for Digital Catalogs):
    • Tracking user engagement and interactions with the catalog.
    • Analytics on views, clicks, and potential leads.

Types of Catalog Makers


Each type of catalog maker has its strengths and limitations, and the best choice depends on your specific requirements, such as the complexity of your catalog, frequency of updates, budget constraints, and your team’s design expertise.

Catalog makers come in various types, each suited to different needs and levels of expertise. The type of catalog maker you choose will depend on factors like the following:

  • Need for business or personal use
  • Need for print, web, or both
  • Data complexity
  • Layout complexity 
  • Required level of automation
  • Frequency of updates
  • Size of your catalog
  • Available budget

Here are the primary types of catalog makers:


Best for large-scale catalog production, especially where data integration is essential. This type of software automates the catalog creation process using data from databases or spreadsheets (PIM, ERP, DAM, e-commerce, and so on), making it ideal for products with lots of specifications or variable data. Pagination is often chosen by companies with very specific requirements that cannot be met by off-the-shelf software. Professional output is available in both InDesign and PDF format

Example: Pagination


Best for businesses and individuals looking for a more accessible, user-friendly option. These tools are often template-based and don’t require extensive design skills. They’re ideal for smaller projects or for those who need to update their catalogs frequently. Output as a flipbook (HTML 5) or in PDF format.

Example: Flipsnack, FlippingBook, FlipHTML5


Best for users looking for a mix of template-based ease and creative freedom. These tools are more accessible than professional desktop publishing software but offer more design flexibility than basic online catalog makers.

Example: Canva, Marq, Drawtify


This type of cloud software combines the functionalities of a basic database system with a tool designed for publishing catalogs. This kind of system is particularly useful for businesses that need to manage product data and create simple flipbook catalogs or PDFs for marketing and sales purposes.

Example: Catalog Machine

Online InDesign Catalog Maker


Pagination is a catalog maker cloud-based service specifically designed for automating the creation of custom catalogs. This type of tool leverages the power of cloud computing to offer an accessible, efficient, and scalable way to produce professional-quality catalogs. 

Let’s take a look at Pagination’s key features:

  • Data-Driven Automation: The core of a cloud catalog maker is its ability to automatically create catalogs using data from various sources. You can import data from spreadsheets, databases, or other digital formats, and the software will use this data to populate the catalog.
  • Template Customization: Users create custom InDesign templates that define the layout of the catalog, including where images, text, and other elements will appear.
  • No Need for Graphic Design Skills: Since the process is largely automated and template-driven, users don’t need to have graphic design skills to create a professional-looking catalog.
  • Cloud-Based Accessibility: Being cloud-based, this software can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Scheduled Updates: Changes to the product data can be updated on a scheduled basis, ensuring that the catalog always reflects the most current information.
  • Advanced Customization in InDesign: Once the catalog is generated in InDesign format, designers can use the full range of InDesign tools to fine-tune the design, adjust layouts, and add advanced graphical elements.
  • Multichannel Output Formats: The software typically supports various output formats, suitable for both print (InDesign and PDF) and digital distribution (light PDF).
  • Scalability: Cloud-based solutions are scalable, meaning they can handle both small and large catalog projects without the need for additional hardware or software infrastructure.
  • Reduced Time and Cost: By automating much of the catalog creation process, these tools can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with catalog production.


Pagination offers three pricing plans that differ in features such as the number of available product layouts, a higher number of item numbers and images, more storage space, and advanced layout rules.


Pagination Cloud Catalog Maker is ideal for businesses and organizations such as retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers that:

  • Create big catalogs or price lists once a year
  • Frequently update and publish catalogs,

It streamlines the process of catalog creation, making it more efficient and less prone to errors than traditional, manual methods

This type of solution is particularly beneficial for companies looking to minimize the overhead of catalog production while maintaining high-quality, up-to-date marketing materials.


Flipbook with Catalog Features


Flipsnack is a cloud-based catalog maker and digital publishing platform that allows users to create, share, and embed interactive online catalogs, magazines, brochures, and other types of digital flipbooks. It’s designed to be user-friendly, making it accessible for both professionals and individuals with little to no graphic design experience. 

Here’s a detailed look at Flipsnack:

  • Interactive Flipbook Creation: Allows conversion of PDFs into digital flipbooks with a realistic page-flipping effect. Users can also create catalogs from scratch using the platform’s design tools.
  • Templates and Customization: Provides a wide range of customizable templates for catalogs, brochures, magazines, and more. Offers design tools to personalize the look and feel, including colors, fonts, and layouts.
  • Multimedia Integration: Ability to embed videos, audio, links, and interactive elements in digital catalogs. Users can add images and GIFs to enhance visual appeal.
  • Branding Options: Options to include brand elements like logos, custom backgrounds, and branded colors.
  • Collaboration and Sharing: Features that allow collaboration with team members during the design process. Options to share catalogs online via email, social media, or embedding on websites. Provides a unique link for each catalog for easy distribution.
  • E-commerce Integration: Ability to create shoppable catalogs by linking products in the catalog to online stores.
  • Analytics: Offers analytics to track viewer engagement, including views, time spent, and interactions.
  • Privacy and Security: Options to set privacy controls, including password protection for sensitive materials.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Ensures that catalogs are accessible and look good on various devices, including smartphones and tablets.


Flipsnack offers various pricing plans, including a free version with basic features. Paid plans provide additional features like more templates, increased storage, and advanced analytics.


In summary, Flipsnack is a versatile catalog maker that caters to various needs, from marketing to education. Its ease of use, combined with interactive and multimedia capabilities, makes it a popular choice for creating engaging digital catalogs and other flipbook-style publications.




FlippingBook is an online software tool that specializes in converting traditional PDF documents into interactive, digital flipbooks. This format is often used for online catalogs, magazines, brochures, reports, and other types of publications. The main appeal of FlippingBook lies in its ability to enhance the reading experience by making digital documents look and feel more like real, page-turning books. 

Here are some of the key features and advantages of FlippingBook:

  • Interactive Flipbook Creation: FlippingBook turns static PDFs into engaging flipbooks with a realistic page-flip effect. This not only makes the documents more attractive but also more engaging and easier to navigate.
  • Rich Media Integration: Users can enhance their flipbooks with interactive elements such as embedded videos, links, and GIFs. This feature is particularly useful for creating dynamic marketing materials or educational content.
  • Branding Options: FlippingBook allows the customization of flipbooks to match a company’s branding. Users can add their logos, customize the background, choose colors, and even customize the design of the flipbook player to align with their brand identity.
  • Hosting and Distribution: Flipbooks created with FlippingBook can be easily shared and distributed. They can be hosted on FlippingBook’s cloud, embedded into websites, shared via direct links, or even integrated with email campaigns.
  • Accessibility and Mobile-Friendliness: Flipbooks are designed to be accessible and readable on various devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones, ensuring a good viewing experience across all platforms.
  • Tracking and Analytics: FlippingBook provides analytics features, allowing users to track how their documents are being viewed and interacted with. This includes data on the number of views, most-read pages, click-through rates, and more.
  • SEO Optimization: Some versions of FlippingBook allow for the flipbooks to be indexed by search engines, helping to improve online visibility and reach.
  • Offline Access: Flipbooks can often be downloaded for offline viewing, making them accessible without an internet connection.
  • Security Features: FlippingBook provides various security options, including password protection, encryption, and control over who can access the document.


FlippingBook offered various pricing plans, each designed to cater to different needs and scales of use. Each plan often comes with variations in the number of flipbooks you can create, the number of pages per flipbook, the level of customer support, and additional features like SEO optimization and offline viewing. For exact pricing, it’s best to visit the FlippingBook website or contact their sales team directly. They may also provide personalized quotes based on your specific requirements and usage expectations.


FlippingBook is popular among businesses and professionals looking for a more interactive and engaging alternative to traditional PDFs. It’s widely used for marketing materials, catalogs, corporate reports, educational materials, and digital magazines, offering an enhanced viewing experience that can be more appealing and accessible to a modern audience.


FlipHTML5 is a digital publishing software that enables users to create interactive and engaging HTML5 flipbooks from PDFs or images. It’s designed to transform static, print-ready files into digital publications that mimic the experience of reading a physical book, complete with the ability to “flip” through pages. This type of software is particularly popular for creating online magazines, catalogs, brochures, eBooks, and other types of digital documents. 

Key features and benefits of FlipHTML5 include

  • HTML5 Flipbook Creation: FlipHTML5 converts PDFs and images into HTML5 flipbooks, making them viewable on a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. This HTML5 technology ensures compatibility and a smooth reading experience across different platforms.
  • Rich Media Integration: Users can enhance their digital publications with interactive elements such as videos, audio, links, and animations. This makes the content more engaging and dynamic compared to traditional PDFs.
  • Customization and Branding: FlipHTML5 allows for customization of the flipbook’s appearance. Users can add their logos, choose backgrounds, and customize the design to align with their branding and design preferences.
  • Online and Offline Access: The software provides options for both online and offline viewing of the flipbooks. Users can publish their flipbooks online on FlipHTML5’s platform, embed them into websites, or distribute them as offline versions that can be opened on a desktop without an internet connection.
  • SEO Optimization: Flipbooks created with FlipHTML5 are optimized for search engines, which means they can be indexed and thus have the potential to increase online visibility and reach.
  • Analytics and Reporting: The platform offers analytics tools that help track the performance of the flipbooks. Users can get insights into page views, reading patterns, link clicks, and other engagement metrics.
  • Interactivity and E-commerce Features: FlipHTML5 supports the addition of e-commerce elements like shopping carts and product links, which is particularly beneficial for digital catalogs and online stores.
  • Ease of Use: The software is designed to be user-friendly, allowing individuals with minimal technical or design expertise to create professional-looking digital publications.
  • Multi-platform Distribution: Users can share their flipbooks on social media, via email, or through direct links, in addition to embedding them on websites.
  • Subscription and Cloud Storage: FlipHTML5 typically offers different subscription plans, including free and paid options, and provides cloud storage for hosting digital publications.


FlipHTML5’s pricing includes a Free Plan for basic use and three paid plans: Pro offering more features and capacity, Platinum Plan for comprehensive features and higher storage, and an Enterprise Plan providing custom solutions for extensive business needs. 


FlipHTML5 is popular among marketers, publishers, educators, and businesses looking for an effective way to create digital publications that are more interactive and engaging than standard PDFs. Its ease of use and rich feature set make it a valuable tool for enhancing digital content and improving reader engagement.

Online Graphic Design Software



Canva is a popular online graphic design platform that simplifies the process of creating digital graphics. Known for its user-friendly interface and a vast array of templates and design elements, it caters to both professional designers and individuals with little to no design experience. 

Here are key aspects of Canva:

  • Ease of Use: Canva is designed for ease of use, with a drag-and-drop interface that makes it simple to create designs. This user-friendly nature makes it accessible to people who aren’t professional designers.
  • Templates and Resources: It offers a wide range of templates for various uses, such as social media graphics, presentations, flyers, posters, business cards, and more. Alongside templates, Canva provides a large library of images, icons, fonts, and other graphic elements.
  • Design Tools: Users have access to basic graphic design tools, allowing them to edit images, manipulate text, and customize layouts to create unique designs.
  • Collaboration Features: Canva enables collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on a design simultaneously. It’s useful for teams to create consistent branding and design work.
  • Platform Availability: It’s a web-based tool, which means it’s accessible through a browser. Canva also offers mobile applications, enabling users to design on the go.
  • Multiple Applications: Canva is used for a broad range of purposes, from creating marketing materials and social media content to personal projects like invitations and greeting cards.
  • Printing and Publishing Options: Canva also offers options to print and ship certain designs like business cards and flyers, and integrates with social media and other platforms for easy publishing of digital designs.


Canva offers a free version with a substantial number of features, and paid subscriptions (like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise) that provide additional functionality such as a more extensive library of resources, advanced design tools, and the ability to create brand kits and templates.


Canva is widely appreciated for making graphic design more accessible to non-designers, reducing the need for complex software for everyday design tasks. It’s used by individuals, businesses, educators, and non-profits worldwide.




Marq (formerly known as Lucidpress) is a web-based design and brand templating platform. It’s primarily aimed at enabling businesses and organizations to create, manage, and distribute branded content efficiently. Marq is popular for its ease of use and the way it streamlines the design process, especially for teams that need to maintain brand consistency across various documents and marketing materials. 


Here’s an overview of its key features and functions:

  • Brand Templating: Marq allows organizations to create and use templates that adhere to their branding guidelines. This feature ensures that all marketing materials, regardless of who creates them, stay consistent with the brand’s identity.
  • Collaboration Tools: The platform supports real-time collaboration, allowing multiple team members to work on a document simultaneously. It’s particularly useful for teams spread across different locations.
  • Drag-and-Drop Interface: The user-friendly interface enables users to create professional-looking materials without needing advanced design skills. It includes a drag-and-drop editor for easy layout and design creation.
  • Customization and Flexibility: Users can customize templates with their text, images, and other elements. Marq offers a balance between template structure and creative flexibility.
  • Asset Management: The platform provides tools for managing digital assets like images and logos, making it easy for users to access and use approved brand assets in their designs.
  • Cross-Media Compatibility: Marq supports the creation of various types of content, including print materials, digital documents, and online content.
  • Integration: It can integrate with other business tools and systems, enhancing workflow and data consistency.
  • Distribution and Publishing: Users can export their creations in multiple formats and even publish them directly from the platform.


Marq typically offers various subscription plans, including free and paid options, catering to different business sizes and needs. The paid plans usually provide access to more advanced features, increased storage, and better support.


Marq’s focus on brand control, ease of use, and collaborative features makes it a valuable tool for businesses looking to streamline their content creation process while maintaining a strong and consistent brand identity.



Drawtify is an online graphic design software, similar in concept to platforms like Canva and Adobe Spark. It’s designed to provide users, including those without professional graphic design experience, with an intuitive and accessible way to create a wide range of visual content

Here are some key aspects of Drawtify:

  • Template Library: Drawtify offers a range of templates for different types of graphics such as social media posts, flyers, logos, banners, and business cards. These templates serve as a starting point for users to create custom designs.
  • Design Tools: It includes various tools for graphic creation, including vector drawing capabilities, photo editing, and layout design. This makes it versatile for different types of graphic design tasks.
  • Customization: Users can customize the templates with their text, images, colors, and other graphic elements, making each design unique to their needs and branding.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The platform is designed to be user-friendly, with a drag-and-drop interface that simplifies the design process.
  • Rich Graphic Elements: Drawtify comes equipped with a vast library of graphic elements like icons, shapes, fonts, and stock photos, which can be used to enhance designs.
  • Animation Features: Unlike some of its competitors, Drawtify includes features to create simple animations, adding an extra dimension to the graphics.
  • Online and Downloadable: Drawtify is primarily an online tool, but it also offers a downloadable desktop version for offline work.


Drawtify typically offers both free and paid subscription options. The free version might have limitations in terms of features and access to design elements. Paid plans usually unlock the full range of tools and resources, and they may offer additional benefits like higher quality exports and more extensive asset libraries.


Drawtify positions itself as an all-in-one design solution catering to the needs of entrepreneurs, small businesses, marketers, and even hobbyists who require professional-looking designs without the complexity or cost of advanced design software.

Online Database with Catalog Features


catalog machine-interface

Catalog Machine is an online software tool designed for creating and publishing digital catalogs, brochures, and price lists. It’s primarily aimed at businesses and marketers who need to produce professional-looking product catalogs without requiring extensive graphic design skills or resources. 

 Here’s an overview of what Catalog Machine offers:

  • Easy Catalog Creation: Users can create catalogs from scratch or by using pre-designed templates, making the process more accessible for those without advanced design experience.
  • Product Database: Catalog Machine allows you to build and maintain a product database, where you can store and manage product information, including images, descriptions, prices, and SKU numbers.
  • Customization: There is a range of customization options for layout, design, and branding, allowing businesses to align the catalogs with their brand identity.
  • Import and Export Functions: The platform supports importing data from external sources like Excel, CSV files, or eCommerce platforms, and exporting finished catalogs in various formats such as PDF or HTML.
  • Online and Offline Access: Catalogs can be published online, shared via links, or downloaded for offline use, providing flexibility in how they are distributed and viewed.
  • E-commerce Integration: Some versions of Catalog Machine may offer integration with e-commerce platforms, allowing for easy updates of product information and pricing.
  • Updates and Revisions: The software simplifies updating catalogs, making it easier to add or remove products, change prices, and make other revisions without starting from scratch.


Catalog Machine typically offers different pricing plans, including free and paid tiers. The free version may have limitations, while paid subscriptions provide access to more features, greater customization, and larger product databases.


Catalog Machine is particularly useful for small to medium-sized businesses looking for an easy-to-use, cost-effective solution for creating and managing product catalogs.


In conclusion, the realm of digital catalog creation and design is rich with diverse tools and platforms, each catering to different aspects and needs of the process.

From specialized online InDesign catalog makers like Pagination, which appeals to those who prefer professional-grade design capabilities and are familiar with Adobe’s ecosystem, to interactive flipbook creators such as Flipsnack, FlippingBook, and FlipHTML5 that enhance user engagement with dynamic digital experiences, there’s a tool for every specific requirement.

For those seeking more generalized graphic design solutions, platforms like Canva, Marq, and Drawtify offer versatile and user-friendly options. They’re ideal for creating not only catalogs but a wide range of marketing materials, with features that accommodate users of all skill levels.

On the other hand, for businesses that require an integrated approach to managing product databases alongside catalog creation, Catalog Machine stands out as a robust option.

The choice among these tools will largely depend on the specific needs, technical proficiency, and desired outcomes of the user or organization.

Looking for a Powerful Catalog Maker?

Publishing a catalog is a challenging task that can put pressure on even the best marketing teams. You can use Pagination, the product catalog generator to automatically import your data and create your catalog in just a few seconds in both InDesign and PDF format.

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