Variable Data Printing

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by nhamze, Nov 18, 2006.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Location:
    Hartford, SD
    #1
    Does anyone know a low cost solution for this I have a excel database of about 1000 names that I send mailings out to and I would like to do it via variable data printing. My cousin owns a printshop and does it with quark and an xtension but that xtension only works with his indigo. I wanted something that works on a regular laser printer.


    Thanks
    Nick
     
  2. macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #2
    Mail Merge in Word.

    Check the Help file for instructions.
     
  3. macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #3
    Printing on the Indigo is probably the way to go for variable data, and some of the best digital printing you can get anyway.
     
  4. macrumors 603

    zelmo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Mac since 7.5
    #4
    I've got two Kodak NexPress 2500's that would give that Indigo a run for it.:D

    Seriously, though, you can't go wrong with an Indigo, iGen3, or NexPress.
    But if you want something low-end, do what the 'RAM says.;)
     
  5. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    #5
    From there, I'd print the resulting file to a PDF and then take it to a print/copy shop with a high speed black and white digital copier like a Canon ir7095 (there are color models as well, if that's what you need). Should be fast, relatively cheap, good quality and save a lot of wear and tear on your desktop laser printer.

    Snark
     
  6. macrumors member

    mymacluvsme

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Location:
    concrete jungle
    #6
    I work at a printing company in the mail dept (we're the only ones in the company that use windoze). We are currently in the planning stage of upgrading to digital printing for the purpose of short-run jobs and personalized bulk mail using variable data. We will probably get either an Indigo or a Nexpress.

    What software could I use?
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    jdl8422

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Louisiana
    #7
    The company I work for does variable printing all the time. We usually print mailers from 11x17 to 18x22 on the web press then feed them into the iGen. I'm assuming most variable printing is the same, but on ours you have to use black text on 12% or less background. Also the print head is only 9in wide so that may limit you. I know our minimum run is around 50,000. If you need any further help just email me or pm me.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #8
    Am I the only person who thought of Filemaker when reading this? FMP should import the Excel data and you can create any number of layouts to accommodate different letter templates ...

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    Behind the lens
    #9
    This has come up on a project of late...

    And I use InDesign.

    I figure that there must be a built in way to connect an Excel database file to an InDesign document in a way to do this variable data printing.

    From what I can see, its not built in and requires $$$ plugins.

    Anyone else use ID and VDP?
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    The exurbs, MN
    #10
    I use FusionPro for VDP work. It's a solid VDP option and isn't too expensive at $599. Most of it's functionality is through Acrobat, though you can specify variable fields in InDesign. It's pretty straightforward to set up a simple VDP piece, yet it allows for complexity via JavaScript rules.

    Another product I've used is Print Shop Mail - it's a standalone software that uses PDF files for static backgrounds. It seems more restrictive than FusionPro, and is more expensive ($1000+)
     
  11. macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    Behind the lens
    #11
    Ouch, and all I want is a simple mail merge built into ID.

    Seems my printer (shop not device) does this themselves at their end, just mark up the text boxes and excel file correctly. :cool:
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    The exurbs, MN
    #12
    Most print shops using digital print equipment should have the capability to handle the VDP - it has become one of the value-added services printers are getting into as selling only ink on paper is increasingly difficult and low-margin.
     
  13. macrumors member

    flrazor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    #13
    InDesign does have built-in VDP/Data Merge support, at least I know CS3 does and I've used it (recently) to merge a mailing list for personalized mailing labels for a corporate job.

    You'll need to save your Excel file (with column headers) in CSV format in Excel's Save As dialog for InDesign to read it. Open your ID document, then go to Window > Automation > Data Merge. It outlines the three steps you need to do in order to make the merge work:

    1. On the palette options menu (upper right) select Choose Data Source and navigate to your CSV file and open it.

    2. Drag the field name into your document's text where you want it to be placed and format accordingly. Use the palette's preview to see the merge data for each record and correct formatting as needed.

    3. Click the Create Merged Document button in the lower right of the palette, answer some questions about your target document, then click Ok and ID will create a new document with your data merged into the document as you requested. Since it creates a new file, don't save over your original layout so you can reflow the info or adjust the layout if needed without having to do it over and over in your new document.

    Check the Help for more information on getting set up and for figuring some of the finer points out. I was able to do this in about 30 minutes from not knowing ID had this capability built in. :)
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #14
    Cannot format my text!!!


    Thanks for this advice about creating variable data printing. I am close to completing my goals but stumbling at the last hurdle!

    Name;Company;Address;Address 2;City;
    Postal Code;Country;;>>

    this is how my data looks and no matter what i try to do to correct the format it still prints this way.....what am i doing wrong or what do i need to do? is this a problem with the excel document or with my settings in indesign?? please help!
     
  15. macrumors member

    flrazor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    #15
    The first thing I'm seeing is semicolons used between data fields, is that your CSV file that is giving you those, or is that from your InDesign document? Sorry I didn't specify earlier, but the CSV file (if you have a choice of formats) should be CSV-Comma Delimited.

    The CSV file (if you open it in TextEdit) should look like this:
    Name,Company,Address,Address 2,City,Postal Code,Country

    Followed by each entry formatted the same way. (Excel does this for you when you Save As)

    Otherwise, if that's how your info is listed in InDesign, you need to have a << at the front and a >> at the end of each different variable name. Dragging the variable from the data merge window into your document should place the variable for you pre-formatted.

    If your CSV file is correct and your variables are entered right, then please share your steps so I might be of more assistance to your specific issue.
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #16

    I was given a excel spreadsheet from a client that had the title, name, address fields correctly placed in line one. Then i saved it as a CSV (comma delimited) file. Went into in design and imported the text using the dat merge palette and 'select data source'. This was the text that was placed into my text box when i dragged the data file from that data merge palette. As far as i know i made all the right steps but have no idea how to format the text. I cannot edit the text while i'm in the data merge tab, but when i select the script tab (from the data merge palette) i can format the text as i like. However, when i select preview or merge data it changes back to the text in my last message with the semicolons!

    any help would be welcome! thanks
     
  17. macrumors member

    flrazor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    #17
    The thing that I'm concerned about from your message is not being able to edit the text when the data merge tab is up. You still should be able to use your tools and edit when a palette is being used. I'm worried that might be something wrong with the software, but maybe Adobe might have some more insight if it's a software issue. I have not seen this in any data merge I have done and your steps are all correct aside from not being able to edit things.

    Before you Preview, does your mailing block look something like this (or whatever line order you prefer)?

    <<Name>>
    <<Company>>
    <<Address>>
    <<Address 2>>
    <<City>>, <<State>> <<Zip>>

    There might be an option in one of the menus for the data merge that might be on or off that is causing a problem. On the option for the Data Merge palette, go through the Content Placement Options window. The setting will be different for every document, but one thing I saw in mine when I first started was by default it had a merge limit of 50 per document that I turned off.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    iHEARTcartoons

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego
    #18
    This worked perfect! Thank you for the help :)
     

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