DesignMerge Pro Tutorial 2 - Postcard

This tutorial covers additional capabilities of the DesignMerge Pro software. The sample document consists of a two-page postcard that has several variable elements, including text and pictures. You will use DesignMerge Rules to change the styling of variable text and to change the color of frames while merging. This tutorial also introduces you to using a DesignMerge Rule to show layers while merging. Additionally, you will learn how to apply the DesignMerge CopyFit feature to fit variable text within a text frame automatically while merging.



This tutorial will merge variable data records from a comma-separated data file into a two-page document.

Sample Document

The name of the sample document for this tutorial is Postcard.indd and it exists in the 2) Postcard Tutorial folder. The document is a two-page layout for direct mail postcards.

The front of the postcard, shown below, requires Variable Text Links and one Variable Picture Link.

The back of the postcard, shown below, has Variable Text Links for a mailing address, requires a Variable Text Link for a First Name, and also displays an empty space for content from one of the hidden layers in the document.

Sample Data File

The sample data file for this tutorial is a comma-separated text file named Postcard-Data.csv in the 2) Postcard Tutorial folder. This data file contains eight records that each contain 16 fields of data. Below is a picture of this data in a table format:


The DDF for this document has already been set up. Whenever you open a document that already contains Variable Links, then the document’s DDF has already been set up. Do not run Setup on this tutorial’s document. Running Setup would reset all of the DDF’s settings, including its definitions of Variable Links and Rules. If the document already contains Variable Links, resetting the document’s DDF could cause the document to encounter errors when merging.

View the DDF’s Settings

You can view which settings have been applied to a document’s DDF at any time. For example, to view this tutorial’s settings, follow the steps below:

  1. From the DesignMerge menu, select Setup > Data Source Definitions.
    This opens the Data Source Definitions (DDF) dialog window, as shown below:
  2. To select a Data File, click the Select button.
    DesignMerge prompts you to select the data file for this DDF. For this tutorial, select the Postcard-Data.csv file in the 2) Postcard Tutorial folder, and then click the Open button to complete the selection and return to the Data Source Definitions (DDF) dialog window, as shown below:
  3. Next, click the Edit button.
    This opens the Edit Data Source Definition dialog window, which describes a comma-separated data file, as shown below:
  4. Click the Fields button to view the list of fields.
    The DDF describes 16 fields of data, as shown in the picture below. When ready, click Cancel to return to the Edit Data Source Definition dialog window.