DesignMerge FAQ: Variable Link is Empty

May 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

A DesignMerge Variable Link is Empty when a record does not contain any data for that Link.  DesignMerge provides several options for Empty Links.  Here is a description of each of these “If Link is Empty” options:

* Flag as Error

A merge session will fill the Link with the global No Data Error, which is specified on the DesignMerge “Preferences” window (you may access the “Preferences” window by selecting “Preferences” from the “DesignMerge” menu).  By default, the No Data Error is “Empty Field!” Please note that if you select this option for a Variable Link and a record does not have data for the Link, then the No Data Error (by default, “Empty Field!”) is what will be printed for that merged Link.

* Ignore

Will not merge the Link; the Link will continue to display what it contained before that record was merged into the document.  For example, if the Link was displaying “Address_2” before merging this record, the Link will display “Address _2” after the record is merged into the document.

* Delete

Will completely remove the Link from the merged page.  In the case of a Picture Link, the entire box will be deleted.

Please note that during a File or Print merge session, which merges each step of records into their own copy of the original page(s), DesignMerge will delete the Link without displaying any warnings.  Deleting the Link on one of these copies will not delete it on the original page so the Link will still be present for later records.

However, during a Test merge session, which operates on the original document instead of a copy, DesignMerge will by default prompt you to choose whether you wish to “Skip”, “Delete”, or “Flag & Continue” the Empty Link.  Normally, you will prefer to “Flag & Continue” so the Empty Link will remain on the page for later records to use.  If you choose to Delete the Empty Link during a Test merge session, the Link will no longer be present for other records, even if those records have data for that Link.

* Substitute

Will use the data entered here. For Text Links, the text that is entered here will be merged into the Link.  For Picture, Article, or GroupPicture Links, DesignMerge, will assume the text entered here is the file name or full path name of an external file that DesignMerge will attempt to locate and import.

* Remove Empty Links

If you have chosen “Delete” for the “If Link is Empty” setting, then you may also wish to enable “Remove Empty Lines”.  When this option is on, DesignMerge will remove the line that the Empty Link was on if there are no printable characters on the line (the line is blank). The other lines in the box will move either up or down, according to the formatting that you have applied to that text.

Eastern Michigan University Teaches Variable Data Printing With DesignMerge!

May 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, Testimonial 

Eastern Michigan University is located in Southeast Michigan, approximately 30 miles west of Detroit.  The College of Technology offers a course in Digital Imaging and Reproduction which is part of the Communications Technology major.  Communications Technology is a multidisciplinary major that prepares students to eventually move into mid-management careers in technologies of the communications industry.  The class, CMT 207, implements aspects of digital printing and variable data in the print industry.

The 207 class was revised from the previous content based on film conversion and plate making to reflect new trends in the print industry.  This was a direct result of attending the Teachers Conference sponsored by GATF and PIA in conjunction with Graph Expo.  The future direction of the print industry was very clear based on the various presenters.  Given the increased interest towards digital it became clear that students needed practical experiences to meet the changing needs of potential employers.

Following is a short interview with Dave Gore, Program Coordinator, Communication Technology School of Technology Studies discussing how DesignMerge helped meet the needs of Eastern Michigan University’s leading edge print curriculum.

Why did you choose to teach DesignMerge as part of Eastern Michigan University’s Communications Technology major?

By virtue of being at Graph Expo it was possible to explore the many vendors’ solutions in variable data printing. After listening to salespeople and watching product demonstrations, DesignMerge variable data software seemed to have the best interface with Adobe InDesign and appeared to be more flexible than other variable data products.  It also seemed less dependent on the user having to be a database and XML expert.  This is a clear advantage allowing designers to design and still incorporating variable data without having to spend an excessive amount of time devoted to coding.  DesignMerge seemed to be the best fit especially for the education/teaching environment.

What was the ROI for teaching this class using DesignMerge?

The expectation of exposing students to VDP in this class is that they will be prepared to meet the needs of employers by having had hands-on lab experience with variable data software in their class projects.

The bottom line for us is that our students leave prepared and ready to compete for jobs.  From a fiscal perspective, the ROI was the best we could find by working with the salespeople at Meadows to purchase limited professional copies of DesignMerge supplemented with less costly lab seats for instruction.  This provided every student an opportunity to work with the program.  Since our mission is educational/instruction and we do not see a traditional profit based on our investment Meadows Publishing provided us a way to keep within the very limited budget of our university and still provide students with the best educational experience.

MPS Scripting and MPS Print Automation modules!

May 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

Yes! With the addition of these two new optional modules for the latest version of DesignMerge for InDesign, you can now automate and customize the results of your VDP jobs!

The optional “MPS Scripting” module, which is available for several Meadows software products for Adobe In Design, provides the ability to automate many DesignMerge functions by running scripts.  Macintosh versions support AppleScripts and JavaScripts; Windows versions support JavaScripts and Visual Basic scripts.

Also, the optional “MPS Print Automation” module is available for use with the MPS Scripting module to provide the ability to automate producing DesignMerge print output.

Now, add to both of these the ability, when the “MPS Scripting” module is present, for any type of DesignMerge Rule (Link, Box, and Page Rules) to launch external scripts during any type of merge process, whether manually started or automated. This allows your VDP jobs to achieve an even higher level of custom results!

And remember, if you would like any assistance in setting up scripts foryour VDP jobs, we provide custom script development services.

Morel Communications Workflow Enhanced With DesignMerge

May 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, General, Testimonial 

Morel Communications Inc. (formerly Witham and Dickey) is a one-stop shop for printing, headquartered in Portland, OR and servicing the greater Northwest.  They offer a full spectrum of services, reaching a very diverse market.  With roots in traditional offset printing, they have expanded their business into many profitable new market niches by incorporating variable data printing.  Their personalized promotional products range from pens, hats and coffee mugs to full apparel, with the Homestead Cards division offering popular Holiday Union specialty cards that can also be personalized.  And as a premier printer for political campaigns, they provide anything that may need printing, like the “Get The Message Out” Tees in a Jiffy!

Following is a short interview with Joe Lloyd, Prepress/IT Manager discussing how DesignMerge has helped meet their unique challenges with a solution that has resulted in increased profits and an expanded customer base.

What business challenges have you faced in the VDP market?

Our main challenge, moving into the variable data market, was what to charge for this new service.  Realizing that we needed to analyze the market to understand its potential, we asked the questions, “How would our investment in the variable data market grow and expand our business?” “Would we see a profit while offering competitive prices for our client’s ability to personalize their direct mail campaigns and newsletters?” Well, we’ve answered these questions and have installed new equipment to better serve our customers with a HP Indigo 550 6-Color Press and DesignMerge variable data software.  Now we can dazzle our customers with personalized print on everything from books to mailers and anything in between!

Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

We chose DesignMerge as our VDP solution because it’s a powerful and cost-effective implementation to a workflow we already had in place.  It’s a simple plug-in solution for InDesign that adds superior functionality without having to leave our composition software.  This smooth integration of DesignMerge into InDesign meant that our operators were up and running in virtually no time.  We also receive great support from the technical staff at Meadows Publishing Solutions anytime we have a question.

Furthermore, DesignMerge is very flexible, enabling us to create everything from quick turn-around jobs with a few lines of variable text, to very complex layouts that involve photos, map locations, and postal bar codes.

What were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

Our ROI with DesignMerge has been phenomenal!  Not only from a profit standpoint but from a customer enrichment standpoint as well.  We are now able to show new and old customers alike, the benefits of variable data printing and personalized mailing campaigns. They in turn, can teach their marketing groups and buyers a new method for increasing sales and expanding business, resulting in a Win-Win situation all the way around.

New in DesignMerge for Adobe InDesign: New Variable Picture Position options!

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

The latest version of DesignMerge for InDesign introduces new Variable Picture Position options! These new Variable Picture Position options behave in the same manner as though performing an InDesign Place command to place each variable picture in the frame except the selected Position option additionally applies the attribute corresponding to that option’s name (for example: Top Left, Center, Size to Fit, Size to Fill, and Fix Box to Picture).  For a complete list and description of each Variable Picture Link Position option that is now available in DesignMerge v3.10, v4.10, v5.10, please see Tutorial #1–Part One, the “Form Letter” tutorial, which is available in PDF format in the DesignMerge Tutorial Manual in your DesignMerge product folder.  For DesignMerge product information, click here.

DesignMerge Chosen To Produce Customer Rewards Program!

May 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, Testimonial 

In the December 2010 issue of Digital Publishing Solutions magazine, DesignMerge was featured as the variable data printing solution chosen by Color Ink, Sussex, WI, to produce its customers’ rewards programs.  To read this article, Driving Growth With Digital Print, please click here …