This document details each of the items available under the DesignMerge Utilities menu.
Topics Covered in this document:
DesignMerge provides a number of utilities for Variable Links, Data, Print Drivers, Consecutive Numbering, and MPS Tagged Text. To access these utilities, open the DesignMerge > Utilities menu. Each utility is described below:
Use this utility to remove the assignment of Variable Links to a selected range of text. The selected text will become non-variable text and therefore also available if you wish for assignment to other Variable Links.
Use this utility to convert all of the DesignMerge Variables in a document to non-variable content. To use this utility, simply choose this menu item. This will additionally remove all DesignMerge information from the document, including the copy of the DDF (Data Source Definition) that has been stored inside the document file.
This utility allows you to convert DesignMerge Text Links in a document to MPS Tagged Text representing the Links. Use this utility to preserve DesignMerge information that has been assigned to text when a document must be converted to a format that does not support DesignMerge Links (for example, the Adobe InDesign interchange markup format, IDML).
This utility allows you to convert MPS Tagged Text representing DesignMerge Text Links in a document back into actual DesignMerge Text Links.
This utility provides record usage information (for DesignMerge installations that are record-limited), as well as information about your DesignMerge installation.
This utility allows you to import a DDF (Data Source Definition) from a document without having to open that document. The DDF will be added to your current set of DDFs. When you choose this menu item, DesignMerge will prompt you to select the document whose DDF you wish to import. Then, you will be prompted to enter a name for the new DDF. If you enter a name of a DDF that already exists on your system, DesignMerge will warn you and prompt you whether you wish to replace the existing DDF.
This utility allows you to import a previously-exported DDF Set (a full set of DDFs). Importing a DDF Set will fully replace the current set of DDFs.
This utility allows you to export your entire set of DDF settings for archive purposes, or to install them on a different workstation. When you run this utility, you will be prompted to save a DDF file. Save the file anywhere you wish, but always add a “.ddf” filename extension.
Use this utility to create a Control Frame in a document (for example, a Name Frame or a Number of Copies Frame) in the document. To create a Control Frame, select any text frame and then choose this menu item. Choose the type of Control Frame you wish to create. For example, a Filename Frame is designed to provide customized names for Print Driver output based on the text that is inside the job’s merged frame. The Number of Copies Frame is designed to indicate the number of copies to produce for each merged page set. For more information, see the Print Driver manuals, which are available in DesignMerge Documentation.
This option is used only for PPML and VPS output. The PPML and VPS Print Drivers process fixed content separately from variable content. This utility allows you to direct the Print Driver to treat a Fixed Object as a Variable Object. Use this feature if your document contains any fixed content that you would like a Print Driver to process with variable content, not separately from variable content. Examples include fixed content that wraps around variable content, and fixed content that has variable content wrapping around it.
To use this utility, simply select the fixed object that you wish to mark as variable and then choose this menu item. The object’s frame edge will then display a visual indicator to indicate the object has been marked as a variable and the Print Drivers will process this object with the document’s variable content instead of processing it with the document’s fixed content.
This option is used only for PPML output. This utility will mark a variable image as a pass-thru image, which means that DesignMerge will not attempt to import the image during the merge. Rather, the software includes a reference to the image in the PPML output. This speeds performance because no merging or sizing of the images occurs. NOTE: To use this feature, your image files must be pre-scaled so they can be placed onto the page at 100% scale.
To use this utility, simply select the variable graphic object that you wish to mark as pass-thru and then choose this menu item. The object’s frame will now display a visual indicator to indicate the object has been marked as a pass-thru and the Print Drivers will process this object accordingly.
If you have a job that requires only a consecutive number, this utility will assist you in creating the data file to use for the job. The utility allows you to create a single-field database file that contains a sequence of consecutive numbers. When you choose this menu item, DesignMerge will display a window where you may enter your specifications for the consecutive numbers, as shown below:
You must enter a Start number and an End number. You may also enter a Prefix and/or Suffix for the consecutive numbers.
Additionally, you may choose to Pad the consecutive numbers by entering the number of places for the consecutive numbers and the single character that will be added as many times as necessary to the beginning of each consecutive number requiring padding. For example, if your starting number is “1”, your ending number is “100”, and you pad the numbers to “3” places with a “0”, your database will contain the following series of numbers: 001, 002, 003, … 098, 099, 100.
If you prefer no padding, then enter “0” for the number of places, as shown in the picture above. For example, if your starting number is “1”, your ending number is “100”, and you pad the numbers to “0” places, your database will contain the following series of numbers: 1, 2, 3, … 98, 99, 100.
When you have completed providing your specifications for the Consecutive Number database, DesignMerge will prompt you to enter a name for the database file and to select a destination folder where it will be placed. You may then use this Consecutive Number database as you would any other database for DesignMerge.
This utility provides a quick and easy method to set up a document to print fixed content separately from variable content. To use this utility, after the document is ready for merging, first unlock all items, ungroup all groups in the document, and save the revised document. Then, choose this menu item. DesignMerge will add two new layers to the document: one will contain the fixed document page content and another will contain the variable document page content. Any applied master page content will remain on the default/first layer.
This utility can be used in conjunction with a “forms caching” system such as EFI FreeForm. To use this, you first display only the Fixed layer of the document, then you print that to the press where you can save it, for example, with EFI FreeForm as a Form. After that, you hide the Fixed layer and display only the Variable layer. Then you start up an Optimized PostScript merge session, and when the print dialog is presented, you select the Form that you saved in the previous step. In this fashion only the variable content will be sent to the press where it will be printed on top of the previously printed form. To use this approach you must have printing technology that supports Forms Caching, such as EFI FreeForm.
This utility can be used to control which page of a variable PDF file will be imported into a graphic frame during a merge session. When DesignMerge places a variable PDF into a graphic frame, this utility will force the PDF import process to place a specific page number from the PDF. Note that the page number to import can also be adjusted conditionally using the Set PDF Page Number to Import action in the DesignMerge Rules setup. Please see the Rules documentation for more details on this feature.
To use this utility, select any variable graphic object and then choose this menu item. You will be prompted to enter a PDF page number. Enter the page number and click OK and the object’s frame will then display a visual indicator to show the PDF page number assigned to the frame.
This utility allows you to import an MPS Tagged Text file, which is a plain text file that includes InDesign typographical information in an MPS Tags format. The utility is useful when you want to test and debug a set of styling tags that you have added to variable data.
To import MPS Tagged Text, click in a text frame and then choose this menu item. You will be prompted to select a text file. The text file will be imported, and will be run through the MPS Tags filter. The resulting styled text will then be placed into the document.
If you would like to import the MPS Tagged Text file without converting the MPS Tags (so you can examine the raw tag data), press and hold the Option key when choosing this menu item. For more details, please see the MPS Tags Specification at