This manual describes the use of the PPML Driver component of Pro editions of the DesignMerge® software for Adobe® InDesign®. This Print Driver produces Personalized Page Markup Language output compatible with any PPML consumer.
Topics Covered in this Manual:
PPML is an optimized print format that is designed for variable data printing applications. Using the DesignMerge Pro PPML Driver allows you to produce merged output in PPML format that is compatible with most PPML-enabled digital printers.
A PPML-formatted job consists of a PPML file and object files. Each object file contains either fixed content or variable content from a merged page. The PPML file lists which object files should be combined to print each merged page.
Additionally, the PPML Driver treats any content that is repeated in a job as a reusable object. This means that only one object file is created for each of these, and the PPML job can then use each of these object files any number of times. This enhances the performance of the merge session. This also enhances the performance of the printing system which stores the reusable object files in a preprocessed (“RIP’ed”) format in memory for reuse while printing the job.
First, you must be using a Pro edition of the DesignMerge software. Additionally, the workstation where the PPML Driver will be running must have enough disk space available to store the output files that a merge session will produce. Also, please note that PPML output is not supported by all printing systems; you must have a printing system that supports the PPML format.
This manual assumes that you are already familiar with the basic operation of the DesignMerge software and that you have completed Tutorial #1, which is available in DesignMerge Documentation. If you are not familiar with DesignMerge, read this introductory tutorial first before continuing with this manual.
For best performance, place the document that you will be merging and all of its required files (data file, document files, graphic files, text files) on the workstation where DesignMerge is running. For optimal performance, we do not recommend merging files from a File Server volume because this will increase the amount of time required to import these while merging the document. Please note this is a recommendation for optimal performance and not a requirement. All of the DesignMerge Print Drivers can import files from a File Server volume.
Also, when opening a document, replace any missing fonts, and update any modified/missing pictures (the pictures are in the same folder as the sample document). Additionally, if you want to print any item that is off of the live area of the page (i.e., it is on the pasteboard area), then be sure that one edge of the item is touching the page.
To use the PPML Driver, follow the steps outlined below:
The PPML Driver window, shown below, lets you select options that are specific to a PPML Driver merge session. If the window is not fully extended, you may click the “disclosure triangle”, which is shown circled in the picture below:
Each option on the PPML Driver window is described below:
The Base Job Name serves as the base of the file names that will be given to the files the merge session creates. By default, the Base Job Name is the name of the current layout/document. However, certain characters will be automatically converted to an underscore (_) or a hyphen (-) to ensure the name will be compatible with any system. Additionally, to provide a unique name for each file that the merge session creates, the Print Driver will automatically add a separator character, the record range whose pages the file contains, and then the appropriate file name extension. Note there are several preferences related to naming output. For more details about these, see the “Preferences” topic later in this manual.
A Pro edition of DesignMerge allows you to control the number of print jobs (in this case, PPML files) that will be created by this merge session. Selecting All will create one job (one file) that contains all of the merged pages. You may prefer to indicate a maximum number of merged page sets (variations of the document) to place in a single job (output file), which allows you to produce jobs (output files) of a more manageable size when merging large data files.
Select All (the default setting) to automatically include all of the merged pages in a single job. For example, if you are merging 427 records one-by-one into a two-page document and select All for Page Sets per Job, the merge session will produce one job that contains all 427 merged page sets (954 merged pages, the 427 variations of the two-page document). The job’s name will indicate the record range it contains, for example: “Form_Letter_1-427.ppml”.
The Specify option allows you to control the number, and therefore size, of the jobs that the merge session will create. This option also lets you start processing merged pages on your printing device while the merge session continues producing remaining pages. For a multiple-up document (a document that is set up to merge multiple records onto a page), use this option to automate running multiple Step-by-Number or Stack Range merge sessions on consecutive ranges of records.
Select Specify to automatically separate the output into several jobs for the printer, which can result in greater overall throughput. We call this “chunking”. When the merge session finishes producing the first “chunk”, the merge session can send the job to the printer so the printing device can get started (rather than waiting for the session to finish producing all of the pages). Then the session automatically continues merging to produce the next chunk of output and then sends that job to the printer. This process continues until all of the records have been processed.
After you select Specify, then enter your desired number of page sets per job. Note that the window will also display in parentheses the number of merged pages that will be contained by the number of page sets you have specified. If you enter the number “1“, then the merge session will produce a job for each new page set. If you enter a number that is greater than the total number of page sets to be processed, then all of the merged pages will be printed in a single job.
For example, using the above example of merging 427 records one-by-one into a document, if you select Specify and enter “100“ for Page Sets per Job, then the merge session will create five jobs, four containing 100 merged page sets each, and one containing the final 27 merged page sets. Each job’s name will indicate the record range it contains based on which record is in the first-up on each merged page set, for example: “Form_Letter_1-100.ppml”, “Form_Letter_101-200.ppml”, “Form_Letter_201-300.ppml”, “Form_Letter_301-400.ppml”, and “Form_Letter_401-427.ppml”.
The Subset option is available when you are using a Cut & Stack or a Stack Subset mode for the merge session (described in Tutorial #3, which is available in DesignMerge Documentation). Selecting Subset allows you to control the number and size of the jobs that the merge session will create by automating running multiple Stack Subset merge sessions on consecutive ranges of records. This lets you cut & stack each printed job independently of the other jobs the merge session creates. Also, this option lets you start processing merged pages on your printing device while the merge session continues producing remaining pages.
Select Subset to automatically separate the output into several jobs that contain subsets of the records selected for the merge session. The subset of records for each job will be merged in a Cut & Stack sequence.
After you select Subset, then enter your desired number of page sets per job. When merging, the merge session will separate the records into subsets that contain the number of records required to merge each job and will merge the subset of records for each job in a Cut & Stack manner.
For example, when merging all 8 records of an 8-record data file into a 2-up document in a Cut & Stack mode, if you select Subset and enter “2“ for Page Sets per Job, the merge session will merge the first four records (record #1 through record #4) in a Cut & Stack sequence into the first job and then will merge the last four records (record #5 through record #8) in a Cut & Stack sequence into the second job. Each job’s name will indicate the record range it contains based on which record is in the first-up on each merged page set, for example: “ID_Badges_1-2.ppml” and “ID_Badges_5-6.ppml”.
Use this popup menu to select a Preset configuration of options that are compatible with your printing device. Several default Presets are provided for a number of popular digital printers. The Standard and Standard + Bleed Presets are provided for generic PPML output and work for most PPML-enabled printers. Please note selecting a Preset that is incompatible with your printing device could result in printing errors. Contact your digital printer support team if you are unsure about which Preset to use.
The Presets option is available on all of the panes on the PPML Driver window. Selecting a Preset automatically selects options on ALL of the panes on the window. You may then change the pre-selected options before continuing (any options that are not applicable to the selected Preset will be dimmed). Please note making selections that are incompatible with your printing device could result in printing errors. To return all options to the original default settings for the current Preset, simply re-select the Preset.
You cannot save changes to the default Presets, however, the PPML Driver window retains your latest selections as its current defaults until you either select a different Preset or reselect the same Preset. Each time you select a Preset, all options are reset to the original default settings for that Preset.
Additionally, you can save your own Presets. To create a custom Preset, select Save As from the Preset popup menu, enter a Name for the Preset, and click OK. You can still change the options for a custom Preset before continuing, and you can save the changes by selecting Save from the Preset popup menu. You can also rename, duplicate, and delete custom Presets selecting one of these actions from the Preset popup menu.
Use the Size popup menu to select the appropriate size for the output (page dimensions plus any bleed). For jobs that will not be imposed by a printing system, select the size of the paper on which the job will be printed. For jobs that will be imposed by a printing system, select the size of the page plus any desired bleed area.
For your convenience, you can select Match Document Size to use the same dimensions as the document, or select Match Document Size + Bleed to include the amount of Bleed you specify on the PPML Driver window. You can also select one of the pre-defined sizes or select Custom to enter other dimensions.
If you specify a size for the paper that is larger than the size of the page plus any bleed, then the printed content will be centered on the paper (page image), and the area that extends the boundaries of the printed content will be a non-transparent white. If you select a paper size that is smaller than the size of the page plus any bleed area, DesignMerge will warn you before the merge session continues. If you choose to continue with the smaller size, content may be clipped or missing when the pages are printed.
Enter the amount of Bleed that will be included in the output for each page. If the job does not require any bleed, enter the number “0“.
Printing Pasteboard Items: Before continuing, if you want to print any item that is off of the live area of the page (e.g. it is on the pasteboard area of the document), then be sure that one edge of the item is touching the page.
Check this option to define each merged page set as an individual document for finishing purposes. When this option is unchecked (the default setting), all of the page sets that are included in a job will be defined as pages of the same document.
These options determine which resources will be included in the output.
Turn on (check) this option if you wish to include font information in the output.
Include Pass-Thru Images
This setting applies only to images that you have marked in the document as Pass-Thru Images. If your document does not have any images marked as Pass-Thru Images, then you may ignore this PPML Driver setting. For more information about marking images as Pass-Thru Images, see the “Mark Image as Pass-Thru Image” topic later in this manual.
Turn off (uncheck) this option (the default setting) if you prefer to use other means to place the Pass-Thru Image files in the appropriate location for external PPML resources on your digital printing system. The PPML output will still reference the files for the Pass-Thru Images but these files will not be included in the output. This will enhance the performance of the PPML Driver.
If you would prefer to have the PPML merge session include the Pass-Thru Image files, check the Include Pass-Thru Images option. When this option is On (checked), each job that the session produces will include the Pass-Thru Image files that are required to print that individual job. Depending on which option you select for the Destination of the session’s Image Objects, described later in this manual, the Pass-Thru Image files may be included within each PPML job the session produces or may be placed in a folder you select (for example, the folder on your digital printing system for external resources).
These options determine the manner in which the various elements (objects and fonts) for a job will be included in the output. Typically, there will be no need to change these values.
You can select from the following types of output:
Will create all of the elements for a PPML job as external files in the same folder as the PPML file. This type of output is fastest, and is preferred for use when creating PPML ZIP file output (discussed later in this manual). This format is supported by most PPML printing devices. This format allows for a significant performance enhancement for both the Print Driver and your printing device.
Will create all of the elements for a PPML job as internal data. With this selection, the elements for each job will be incorporated “inline” in the job’s PPML file. This format is required on some PPML printing devices, and is typically not used when creating PPML ZIP file output. Please note that this Internal Data output takes longer to create than External Data output. Also, since all of the elements will be contained within the output file, choose an appropriate Page Sets per Job setting.
Select the OPI options you wish to use for the merge session. For best results, choose the same OPI option that you would choose if you were exporting the document to an EPS file to send to your printer.
Select the format for the output. For best results, choose the same format that you would choose if you were exporting the document to an EPS file to send to your printer.
Select the color for the output. For best results, choose the same Color that you would choose if you were exporting the document to an EPS file to send to your printer.
Select one of your Adobe InDesign Transparency Flattener presets to specify how transparent objects appear in the output. For best results, choose the same Transparency Flattener setting that you would choose if you were exporting the document to an EPS file to send to your printer.
If your document has a Transparency Effect (including Drop Shadows) applied to any objects, examine the document to determine which objects must be printed together to produce the transparency effect. This will determine which DesignMerge Print Driver you will prefer to use for this job. If the transparency effect involves an interaction between fixed objects only (none of the objects are variable), you may use the PPML Driver.
If the transparency effect involves an interaction between fixed and variable objects, use the PDF Driver, assuming your digital press supports the PDF/VT or PDF format where transparencies have been retained and not flattened (when using the PDF Driver on this type of job, select Acrobat 5 or above for the Export Adobe PDF Compatibility setting). If your digital press does not support a PDF format, then use the PostScript Driver to print the output in a non-optimized manner, which will retain any and all transparency effects. For more information about using the PDF Driver or the PostScript Driver, see that Print Driver’s manual, which is available in DesignMerge Documentation.
Create Zip File Container
When this option is checked, each job will be saved in a Zip File Container format. Each Zip file will contain all of the elements that you chose to include in each job that the merge session produces. If you have set Page Sets per Job to a value other than All, the Print Driver will create a Zip File Container for each job that is created by the merge session.
Creating a Zip File Container is recommended for PPML jobs that contain External Data Objects. Note that some PPML consumers do not support Zip File Containers. If your printing device does not support the PPML ZIP file format, you can still take advantage of the performance enhancement provided by selecting External Data if your printing device supports processing a PPML file that uses external elements located in the same folder as the PPML file. In that case, simply transfer the PPML ZIP file to the print server, extract its files into a single folder, and then import the PPML file from within this folder.
These options enable features to optimize the merge session.
Turn on (check) this option (the default setting) to enable special printing optimizations that are exclusive to Print Drivers for DesignMerge Pro.
This option enables the exclusive VDP Optimizer feature, which is a separate plug-in component for DesignMerge Pro. The VDP Optimizer ensures the fastest possible performance for large variable data jobs. This option will work for any VDP job, but is most helpful when producing a large volume of VDP output for hundreds of records. Select Document Pages Only (the default setting) to enable optimizing all pages in the document. If your document is using a Page Rule that applies Parent Pages, then you may prefer to select Document & Parent Pages.
For more information about Rules, including an example of a job that uses a Page Rule to apply Parent Pages, see Tutorial #1, which is available in DesignMerge Documentation.
This section specifies what to do with each job after it has been produced. Select an Action to tell the merge session where to place or send each job as soon as it has been produced. Each option is described below:
This is the default option. The jobs will be placed in the destination folder that you select after you click the Continue button. You can then submit the jobs to whichever printer you prefer at any time by using a submission tool for that printing device or by placing the jobs in a Hot Folder if your digital printing system provides support for Hot Folders. Or, you may select a Hot Folder as the destination folder, noting that this means you may not end up with a copy of the output on your own system.
It can be useful to send output, or a copy of the output, to a Hot Folder. A Hot Folder can automatically send each job to your printer for processing as soon as each job has been produced and also can optionally assign specific printer settings to those jobs. Additionally, a Hot Folder can normally send a job to a printer significantly faster than a print queue on your system can.
This option instructs the merge session to place each job in the currently specified folder. Use the Select Folder button to specify the folder. This option can be useful if you prefer to place output from all of your PPML jobs in the same folder, as the PPML Driver will remember which folder you last specified. You may select any folder, including a Hot Folder if your printing device provides Hot Folder support. Selecting a Hot Folder can be useful, as described above.
This option instructs the merge session to send the jobs to the specified printer. Like the Hot Folder approach, this approach also ensures parallel processing by allowing the printing device to begin processing pages while the merge session continues producing output.
When the Send to Specified Printer option is selected, the Printer popup menu will become active. The Printer menu will list all of the printers available to you on your system. Choose the printer that you wish to receive the jobs. You will probably prefer to choose a printer that has been set up to send jobs to the Hold queue on your printing device, which will allow your printer operator to apply appropriate printer properties to a job before printing it. As soon as each job has been produced, it will be downloaded to the selected printer.
This section specifies what to do with each image object after it has been produced. Select an Action to tell the merge session where to place the Image Objects that the session will produce. Each option is described below:
This is the default option. The Image Objects will be a part of the PPML output.
This option, which is intended for use only with printing systems that support processing external resources, instructs the PPML Driver to treat the session’s Image Objects as a separate component and these objects will not become a part of the PPML output. Instead, they will be placed in the folder that you specify here.
For efficiency and to avoid overwriting files that are already in the specified folder, Image Object files will be placed in the specified folder only when a file of the same file name does not yet exist in that location. Therefore, choosing this option can be especially helpful if you have chosen a Page Sets per Job setting that will separate the merged page sets into several jobs, because this allows the PPML Driver to produce a single instance of an Image Object rather than a new instance in each job the merge session produces that uses that same Image Object.
Use the Select Folder button to specify the destination folder for the Image Objects. You may choose the folder where a specific digital press has been set up to search for external resources, or if you prefer, you may choose a local folder and then copy or move the Image Objects to the appropriate external resources location on whichever digital printing system you choose at your convenience to process this PPML job(s).
This option is available only when you have selected Place in Specified Folder or Send to Specified Printer, as described above. When this option is On (checked), a copy of the output will be saved in a folder that you will be prompted to select after you click the Continue button on the PPML Driver window. You may find it helpful to save a backup copy when you are choosing to send the output to a Printer or to a Hot Folder that will move the output to a Printer, since neither of these two destinations will provide you a copy of the output on your own system.
To use the Download to Printer option successfully on a Macintosh OS X system, it is recommended that you set your system’s default printer to the Last Printer Used setting. For example, open your Printers & Scanners System Preferences and select Last Printer Used from the Default printer popup menu, as shown circled in the picture below:
Choosing the Copy to Specified Folder or the Download to Printer option in conjunction with the Page Sets per Job: Specify or Page Sets per Job: Subset option can help to streamline a merge session by allowing you to “chunk” the variable data job into more manageable sections. For example, if you select Specify for Page Sets per Job and enter the number “100“ as the maximum number of page sets per job, then the session will merge the first 100 page sets and will incorporate all of the required elements for those pages into a single job. The merge session will then send that job to the Hot Folder or printer to start the printing process. Once the job has been sent, the merge session will repeat these steps for the next job in the session. As subsequent jobs are created, each one is immediately sent in turn to the selected Hot Folder or printer.
Follow the steps below to continue with the PPML merge session.
In a PPML file format (do not create Zip File Container): Select the location where you wish to place the PPML file(s). Each PPML file (job) that the session produces will be saved in this location. If you elected to produce the elements for each job as external data, all of the external files will also be stored in this same location. Additionally, if you elected to keep Image Objects with the PPML file(s), all of the Image Objects will be stored in this location.
In a PPML Zip file format (create Zip File Container): Select the location where you wish to place the PPML ZIP File(s). Each PPML ZIP file (job) that the session produces will be saved in this location. If you elected to produce PPML elements as external data, each of the PPML ZIP files that the session produces will contain its external files. Additionally, if you elected to keep Image Objects with the PPML file(s), each of the PPML ZIP files will contain its Image Objects.
For best performance, select a location on the workstation where DesignMerge is running. Note: You will only be prompted to select a folder if you set the Destination PPML Action to Prompt for Folder or if you chose to Save a Backup Copy. For backup copies, you may wish to create a temporary holding folder for your output that you can clear from time to time.
The merge session displays progress windows as the output is being produced. You may click Cancel at any time to cancel the session. When the session is completed, the Print Driver presents a summary report, which is described next.
A summary report details the jobs that were created and any page sets that were omitted due to errors. You may copy the report to the clipboard, or save it as an external file. A sample summary report is provided in the picture below:
The PPML Destination, and Image Objects Destination if specified, should now contain all of the output from the merge session. Additionally, if you chose to Save a Backup Copy, the Backup Copy Destination will contain a copy of all of the output from the merge session. For information about printing a PPML job on your printer, consult the documentation for your printing system.
There are a number of DesignMerge preferences available that apply to this Print Driver. To access these preferences, select Preferences from the DesignMerge menu. This opens the Preferences window for DesignMerge. Click the Output button to modify the Output preferences, which allow you to control various aspects of a Print Driver merge session, including file naming. For a detailed description of each preference, including those that apply to this Print Driver, see the DesignMerge Preferences manual, which is available in DesignMerge Documentation.
This feature allows you to mark an object as a variable object. Use this feature if your document contains any fixed content that should not be printed separately from variable content, but instead should be printed with variable content. Examples include fixed content that wraps around variable content, fixed content that has variable content wrapping around it, and fixed content that is positioned above a variable object on the page.
To use this feature, simply select the object (frame) that you wish to mark as a variable object, and then select Mark Item as Variable from the DesignMerge > Utilities > Print Driver menu. The frame edge will then display a visual indicator to indicate the frame has been marked as a Variable Object, as shown circled in the picture below:
To unmark an object that has been marked as a Variable, select the frame that has been marked as a Variable Object, and then select Unmark Image as Variable from the DesignMerge > Utilities > Print Driver menu.
This feature allows you to mark an image as a Pass-Thru Image. Pass-Thru Images are pictures that can be printed in their original state — the PPML Driver does not need to produce object files for these pictures. Instead, the PPML Driver may use a copy of the original graphic files as the object files for these pictures.
Marking an image as a Pass-Thru Image will enhance the performance of the PPML Driver whenever a session will be producing output for a job that uses a large number of high-resolution images. Additionally, marking an image as a Pass-Thru Image will further enhance the performance of the PPML Driver when these image files do not need to be included in the output because you will be using other means to place these graphic files as external resources on the digital printing system.
For Pass-Thru Images to print successfully, please note that Pass-Thru Images must be the exact same size as their picture frame (the size of each graphic must exactly match the size of the frame marking its position in the document). Also, the Pass-Thru Images must not require any printing effects that would only be present if the graphic files were placed in the document, which includes any effects that have been applied to their frame such as a stroke or color.
To mark an image as a Pass-Thru, first select the frame for the image in the document. Then, open the DesignMerge menu and select Utilities > Print Driver > Mark Image as Pass-Thru. When a picture frame has been marked as a Pass-Thru Image, the frame will display an icon, as shown below:
To unmark an image that has been marked as a Pass-Thru, select the frame that has been marked as a Pass-Thru, and then select Unmark Image as Pass-Thru from the DesignMerge > Utilities > Print Driver menu.
A Pro edition of DesignMerge provides the ability to apply additional processing instructions to a Print Driver merge session. You may wish to control, for example, the file names that the Print Driver will apply to the output for a job, which is the next topic in this manual. You can also control the number of copies that will be produced for the merged page sets in your PPML output.
This type of additional processing is accomplished by adding a Control Frame to the document and by enabling the Control Frame Processing capabilities of DesignMerge. If the Control Frame Processing capabilities are not enabled, then a Print Driver will ignore any and all control frames that have been placed in a document.
To confirm Control Frame Processing is enabled on your system, select Preferences from the DesignMerge menu to open the Preferences window. Then, click the Output button on the Preferences window. This will open the Output window where you will see the Enable Control Frame Processing option, shown below:
When using a Pro edition of DesignMerge, you have the option of adding a unique type of text frame called a Filename Frame to your document. A Filename Frame is designed to provide customized names for merged Print output. This allows you to have complete control over the naming of the jobs that a Print merge session creates. When you use the Filename Frame feature, all other Print Driver Job Name settings (including Base Job Name and record range) are ignored. Rather, the name of each job will be taken from the text that is inside the job’s merged Filename Frame.
The Filename Frame can contain any text, including Variable Links. In fact, by placing a Variable Link inside the Filename Frame, you can automate the naming of your jobs by linking to a data field which contains unique names. Typically, the Filename Frame is most helpful when producing an individual job for each new page set (by setting the Print Driver’s Page Sets per Job option to Specify with the number “1“). However, the Filename Frame can be used for any number of Page Sets per Job.
Note that the content of the Filename Frame itself will not appear on any printed pages because DesignMerge automatically sets it up to be nonprinting (DesignMerge turns on the frame’s “Nonprinting” attribute).
To use the Filename Frame feature, follow the steps outlined below:
If you accidentally assign a Filename Frame to the wrong text frame, simply select that text frame, and then select Utilities > Print Driver > Control Frame > Remove from the DesignMerge menu. This will remove the Filename Frame assignment and will also restore the text frame’s original stroke, background, and printing attributes.
To vary the filename of each job that a merge session creates for a document, you must first include in your data file a field which contains a unique filename for each job that you wish to create. Then, to make the content in the Filename Frame variable, just place a Variable Text Link for that data inside the frame as you normally would.
For an example, we will be using the “Name” Link for the “Name” field in the sample Form Letter data file. This will produce jobs that use the Name data (“Roland Reed”, “Cindy Olsen”, “Thomas Corbo”, etc.) for their filenames. Each record in our sample data file contains a unique name, which is why we can use it for this example. The picture below shows an example of a Filename Frame where the “Name” Variable Link has been inserted as a Text Link:
Now, because the text that appears inside the Filename Frame is going to be used as the file name for a PPML file, add “.ppml” for the file name extension. For example, simply enter the characters “.ppml” to the right and outside the “Name” Text Link that we just inserted, and remove any extraneous word spaces, as shown below:
Note that it is important to add the “.ppml” characters outside the “Name” Text Link. Otherwise, the “.ppml” characters will be replaced by the incoming variable text during the merge process. If the “.ppml” characters are inside the Text Link, you can easily move them to the outside by highlighting the “.ppml” characters and then click the Remove button on the DesignMerge panel (or select Utilities > Link > Clear Selection Range from the DesignMerge menu).
Set the Page Sets per Job value.
When using the Filename Frame feature, you will typically want to set the Page Sets per Job option to Specify with the number “1“. That way, the merge session will create an individual job for each merged variation of the document. For example, using the Form Letter tutorial where the document has one page, select Specify and enter “1“, so that the Print Driver will create five jobs, one for each of the five records in the Form Letter data file.
As long as the Control Frame Processing feature is enabled (see the “Enabling Control Frame Processing” topic earlier in this manual) and the merge session is able to locate a Filename Frame in the document, then the session will use the contents of the Filename Frame for the names of the jobs it produces. If Control Frame Processing is not enabled, or if the session cannot find a Filename Frame in the document, then the session will name the jobs as it normally does by automatically appending a record range and file name extension to the Base Job Name.
If you create a job containing more than one merged page set (i.e., you set the Page Sets Per Job to any number greater than the number “1“), the job will carry the name provided by the first Filename Frame in that job. Additionally, if your document contains more than one sequence of Links, the output will be given the name provided by the record(s) that were merged according to the Sequence Number you assigned to the Links in the job’s first Filename Frame.
The file names of PPML Driver output may contain a maximum number of 128 characters, including the file name extension (.ppml). Before you run a PPML Driver merge session that will use a Filename Frame, run a Longest Line Test merge session to confirm the longest file name the merge session will produce will be less than 129 characters.
When using the PPML Driver, you have the option of adding a unique type of text frame called a Number of Copies control frame to your document. Use a Number of Copies Frame to specify the number of copies to print for each page set in the output.
A Number of Copies Frame can contain any numeric text, including DesignMerge Variables whose merged result will be numeric text. In fact, by placing a Variable Link inside the Number of Copies Frame, you can vary the number of copies that are produced for each page set.
To use the Number of Copies feature, follow the steps outlined below:
If you accidentally assign a Number of Copies Frame to the wrong text frame, simply select that text frame, and then select Utilities > Print Driver > Control Frame > Remove from the DesignMerge menu. This will remove the Number of Copies Frame assignment and will also restore the text frame’s original frame, background, and printing attributes.
For example, if you placed the number “2“ in this frame, then the PPML output will specify 2 copies for each page set that the output contains. Since the text inside the Number of Copies Frame will be used as a number to specify the number of copies for each page set in the PPML output, it is important that you enter only numeric text in this frame.
To vary the number of copies for each page set that a merge session produces for a document, you must first include in your data file a field which contains a number for the number of copies for a record. Then, just assign the Variable Link for that Number of Copies data to text in the Number of Copies Frame, as you normally would assign a Variable Link to text in any text frame.
For the example presented here, we will be using a Variable Link named “Copies”, which points to a “Copies” field that has been added to the sample Form Letter data file. Each record in this sample data file contains its own individual number in the “Copies” field, as shown below:
The picture below shows an example of a Number of Copies Frame where the “Copies” Variable Link has been inserted as a Text Link:
Since the text inside the Number of Copies Frame will be used as a number to specify the number of copies for a record’s page set in the PPML output, it is important that each time the Link in this frame is merged, the frame will contain only numeric content.
As long as the Control Frame Processing feature is enabled (see the “Enabling Control Frame Processing” topic earlier in this manual), and the merge session is able to locate a Number of Copies Frame in the document, then the session will use the contents of the Number of Copies Frame to indicate the number of copies of a merged page set to produce. If Control Frame Processing is not enabled, or if the session cannot find a Number of Copies Frame in the document, the session will produce one copy of each merged page set as it normally does.
This manual describes how to use the CopyFit™ software for Adobe® InDesign® to fit text automatically in any number of frames, according to an extensive variety of customizable parameters. For documents that require copy fitting, CopyFit offers a unique, complete range of options to fit text according to your standards.
Additionally, CopyFit has been tightly integrated with DesignMerge® Pro (a powerful software suite of variable data tools from Meadows Publishing Solutions) and with DesignMerge® Catalog (a powerful suite of data publishing, price updating, document versioning, data exporting and reporting software from Meadows Publishing Solutions).
Topics Covered in this Manual:
Meadows CopyFit software is designed to adjust text automatically to remedy text overflow and underflow conditions. All parameters are user-definable and there are several different “copy fitting styles” to choose. You can copy fit a single frame, just frames that are “tagged” for copy fitting, or all frames in a document. You can also Undo/Redo applying CopyFit.
CopyFit is a standard component of the DesignMerge Pro software package for InDesign and has been tightly integrated with that product. Additionally, CopyFit is an optional component of the DesignMerge Catalog software package for InDesign. When used in conjunction with DesignMerge Pro or DesignMerge Catalog, the module provides on-the-fly copy fitting of overset (or underset) variable text frames. For more information about the DesignMerge Pro and DesignMerge Catalog software packages, visit the web site at www.meadowsps.com.
The workstation where the CopyFit Module will be running must meet the system requirements of the InDesign application where the CopyFit Module is installed.
The CopyFit module is controlled exclusively through the CopyFit panel. To display the CopyFit panel in InDesign, select MPS CopyFit from the InDesign Window menu. This opens the CopyFit panel, as shown in the picture below:
In general, to use CopyFit, you simply need to tell it which text frames to work on, what it should do when it works on them, and then click the panel’s Fit… button, which means “do it”. The Fit… button on the top right corner of the panel, circled in the picture above, will be titled Fit Frame, Fit All, or Fit Tagged, depending on your selection in the Fit popup menu on the top left corner of the panel, also circled in the picture above.
If you have not selected an individual text frame in the document when Frame is selected in the Fit popup menu, the Fit Frame button will be dimmed.
CopyFit has its own special Find feature. This feature can be used to find frames that are overset in your document. The buttons for the Find Overset Frame feature, circled in the picture below, are displayed towards the top of the CopyFit panel:
Click the Find First button to have CopyFit scan your document and locate the first overset frame. Click the >> (Find Next) button to locate the next overset frame, and click the << (Find Previous) button to locate the previous overset frame. If you click any of these three buttons and hear a beep, this means that no (more) overset frames can be located in the document in the specified search direction.
The Find First and the Find Next/Previous features only search for overset text frames; they do not search for underset text frames.
You can set a CopyFit preference to ignore any frame whose overflowing text consists only of non-printing characters. See the “Setting CopyFit Preferences” section later in this manual for more information about this option.
There are six different text formatting attributes that can be applied by CopyFit in order to copy fit a frame: Tracking, Horizontal Scaling, Point Size, Leading, Space Before (a paragraph), and Space After (a paragraph). The default settings for these attributes, marked by a red box in the picture below, are shown on the CopyFit panel.
To apply a CopyFit formatting attribute, check the box next to it. Then, establish the “adjustment range” for the attribute. Each attribute has a Minimum (Min) and Maximum (Max) allowable adjustment value, as well as a Step amount. The Step amount is the amount by which a particular attribute will be adjusted—increased or decreased—in order to fit the text. Enter any values you wish, up to the limits of InDesign. If you would like CopyFit to remember these changed settings so you can easily use them again, click the Update Set button (CopyFit Sets are described in more detail later in this manual).
Each formatting attribute is assigned a priority to determine the order in which its specified adjustment is applied. The priority of each attribute can be set by changing the number in its Priority (Pri) column. Valid priorities are from “1” to “6“. Attributes with a priority of 1 will be adjusted first. Those with a priority of 6 will be adjusted last. Attributes that have an equal priority will be adjusted in the order in which they appear on the CopyFit panel, reading from top to bottom.
CopyFit will adjust Leading only when an absolute amount of Leading has been applied to all of the text in a text frame. CopyFit will not adjust the Leading of text if Auto-Leading is applied.
Much of the power and flexibility of the CopyFit software can be found in three of the panel’s popup menus: Fit, Method, and Style. Following is an explanation of each of these:
Use this popup menu to select which frames you want to copy fit. You can select Frame to fit a single, currently selected, frame; select All to fit all frames in the current document; or select Tagged to fit only those frames that you’ve “tagged” with the Tag Frame button (described in more detail later in this manual).
CopyFit provides a variety of methods to fit text in a frame. These methods can be categorized as being either a Standard Method or a Line-Wrap Method.
CopyFit provides three different standard methods of copy fitting: shrinking text to fit, expanding text to fit, and either as necessary. All three of these methods will allow lines containing breakable text to wrap. Each method is described below:
Shrink to Fit will change only overset frames and ignore underset ones. CopyFit will adjust overset text until the text fits or until all attribute parameters are out of range.
Expand to Fit will change only underset frames. CopyFit will adjust underset text until the text “just fits” the frame or until all attribute parameters are out of range.
Best Fit will adjust both overset and underset text frames. CopyFit will shrink the text if the frame is overset and will expand the text if the frame is underset.
A line-wrap is when Adobe InDesign determines that a line is too long to fit the width of the frame, so it forces the line to break and “wrap” to the next line in the frame. Under certain circumstances, the user will want to have more control over line-wraps. There are two methods that deal specifically with line-wrap conditions. Each is described below:
No Break: Fit will treat a line-wrap condition as if it were an overset condition. In other words, if any of the lines in the frame have wrapped, CopyFit will continue to apply parameters to the frame until no oversets or line-wraps exist. Note that this method behaves identically to the Shrink to Fit method, except that it will continue to adjust text until both the overset and line-wrap conditions have been addressed.
This CopyFit method can be useful for address information that is being merged by DesignMerge. As an example, compare the two address blocks below. As you can see, the address block is not overset, but by using this method, CopyFit continues to adjust the text until all of the line-wraps have been removed. This ensures that none of the address lines will wrap during the variable data session.
No Break: Truncate is a special CopyFit method designed for use with CopyFit Server and therefore is most commonly used in conjunction with server applications that implement maximum character count per-line restrictions rather than utilizing copy-fitting parameters. This method instructs CopyFit to truncate any lines that wrap within the frame to the point where the maximum number of characters appear on a single line without wrapping. After truncating the wrapped lines, if the frame is overset, CopyFit will then adjust the overset text until the text fits or until all attribute parameters are out of range. If you want only to truncate the text (and allow the text to remain overset), select this method but disable all of the CopyFit settings by unchecking the frames in the panel and re-tagging the frame.
The No Break: Truncate method is designed for server applications and should (generally) be avoided when working on desktop documents.
Each copy fitting style presents a different way in which CopyFit will apply formatting attributes. This unique and exclusive option lets you fine-tune your application of CopyFit to best suit your needs. Below is a description of each CopyFit style:
(Default) This is the fastest copy fit style. It’s similar to the One at a time style (described below), except that the effects of prior attributes are not reverted to what they were originally. Each attribute will be applied in turn until the text fits in the frame or until all attributes fall outside of their allotted ranges.
This is the slowest method but also the one that generally provides the best result because it uses a methodology similar to what a designer would use when trying to copy fit a frame. This style applies one adjustment for the first priority attribute to the text in a frame. If the text does not fit, CopyFit increments the first priority attribute by its step amount and then applies the new adjustment to the text. This continues until the text fits or the specified Maximum/Minimum for that attribute is met. If the text still requires fitting, CopyFit starts over. This time, CopyFit applies one adjustment of the second priority attribute, and then applies successive adjustments of the first priority attribute in increments until the text fits or the range is exceeded. If the text still requires fitting, CopyFit starts again, but this time applies two adjustments of the second priority attribute and then successive adjustments of the first priority attribute. This copy fitting style continues in this manner until it has filtered down through all selected attributes.
This method tries each of the attributes one at a time, in succession, always resetting that attribute in the text to its original value if adjusting the attribute fails to fit the frame. For instance, assuming Tracking is assigned Priority 1, this style would first apply successive adjustments of Tracking to the text in the frame. If Tracking adjustments cannot fit the text, the original Tracking value for the text is reestablished, and CopyFit then tries Horizontal Scaling (or whatever the second priority attribute is). If this fails to fit the text, CopyFit resets the text to its original value for that attribute and moves on to the next attribute. The effects of one attribute are always removed before continuing on with the next attribute so this is considered a non-cumulative method.
This style successively applies one incremental adjustment of each of the attributes to the text and then continues to cycle successively through the attributes until the text fits or until all attributes fall outside of their allotted ranges. For each attempt, CopyFit applies only one incremental adjustment of an attribute and checks the fit of the text before moving on to the next attribute.
CopyFit includes 10 distinct sets of CopyFit parameters that you can customize, allowing you to recall quickly specific combinations of CopyFit selections (formatting adjustments, priorities, methods, and styles) for particular situations. To display the settings for a CopyFit Set in place of the existing settings on the CopyFit panel, select that Set from the Set popup menu, shown circled in the picture below:
When first installed, the 10 CopyFit Sets have the same default parameters. To modify a set, select it from the Set popup menu, change any of its options, and click the Update Set button. The Rename Set button allows you to give a set a more descriptive name.
You can use the CopyFit Tag Frame feature to store CopyFit settings with a frame. Any text frame can be assigned its own custom CopyFit settings. When you are ready to fit all of the frames that are tagged with CopyFit settings, simply click the Fit Tagged button on the CopyFit panel. CopyFit will fit the text in each tagged frame according to the CopyFit settings that have been stored with that frame.
To tag a frame, select the frame. On the CopyFit panel, change any of the settings as you wish and then click the Tag Frame button, shown circled in the picture below:
The current CopyFit panel settings will now be stored with the frame. Note that it is not the name of the CopyFit Set that is tagged to a frame. Instead, it is the selected settings on the CopyFit panel (formatting attributes, method, and style) that are stored with the frame. Therefore, updating a CopyFit Set to have different settings later on will not change the settings that have been stored with any frame.
Frames that have been tagged with CopyFit settings will display a Tagged Frame visual indicator, as shown in the picture below:
To show the Tagged Frame visual indicator in InDesign, select Show Frame Edges from the InDesign View menu. To hide the visual indicator in InDesign, select Hide Frame Edges from the View menu.
If the selected frame is linked to another frame, the Tagged Frame visual indicator will be displayed in the first frame of that text chain. All of the frames in the chain will be tagged with the same settings and you can select any frame in the chain to read, remove, or change these settings.
Additionally, two Tag-related buttons on the CopyFit panel are activated. These two buttons, the Read Frame Tag Data button and the Remove Tag button, are shown circled in the picture below:
When a tagged frame is selected in the document, you can click the Read Frame Tag Data button to read its stored settings. The stored settings will be read from the frame and will replace the existing settings on the panel. Click the Remove Tag button to remove the CopyFit settings that have been stored with the frame.
To modify the CopyFit settings that are stored with a frame, load the panel with settings by clicking the Read Frame Tag Data button or by choosing a CopyFit Set, change any of the loaded settings you wish, and click the Tag Frame button again (you don’t need to click Remove Tag first).
Once your options have been set, you are ready to start a CopyFit session. There are three different types of CopyFit sessions available: Fit Frame, Fit All, and Fit Tagged. As mentioned earlier, the selection in the Fit popup menu determines which type of CopyFit session will be used. Below is a description of each of these sessions:
To copy fit an individual frame, select that frame with either the Text or Direct Selection tool. On the CopyFit panel, select Frame from the Fit popup menu. Next, select your CopyFit settings (as explained earlier), and then click the Fit Frame button on the CopyFit panel, as shown below:
The selected frame will be copy fit using the current panel settings. If the selected frame is a tagged text frame (as explained earlier) and the CopyFit parameters stored with the frame are different from those in the panel, CopyFit will display the message shown below:
Click the Use Frame Settings to copy fit the text according to the settings stored with the frame. (This will also replace the settings on the CopyFit panel.) Click the Use Panel Settings to copy fit the text according to the settings displayed on the CopyFit panel. To cancel and return to the document instead, click the Cancel button.
To copy fit all of the text frames in a document, open the CopyFit panel and choose All from the panel’s Fit popup menu. Next, select your CopyFit settings and click the Fit All button on the CopyFit panel, as shown below:
If your document has been changed since it was last saved, CopyFit will display the message shown in the picture below before copy fitting all of the frames:
Click the Save button to save the document before copy fitting or click the Don’t Save button to copy fit the frames without first saving the document. To cancel and return to the document instead, click the Cancel button.
Each frame will be copy fit in the same fashion, using to the settings that are visible in the CopyFit panel. Note this differs from Fit Tagged (described next), which copy fits only tagged frames according to the CopyFit settings stored with each frame, which may be different than those that are currently selected on the CopyFit panel
To copy fit all of the tagged frames, select Tagged from the Fit popup menu and click the Fit Tagged button, as shown below:
If your document has been changed since it was last saved, CopyFit will display the message shown in the picture below before copy fitting all of the tagged frames:
Click the Save button to save the document before copy fitting or click the Don’t Save button to copy fit the frames without first saving the document. To cancel copy fitting, click the Cancel button and you will return to the document.
Each tagged frame will be copy fit according to the custom settings that have been stored with it. Note how this differs from Fit All, which copy fits all frames (tagged and non-tagged) according to the same CopyFit settings, those that are currently selected on the CopyFit panel.
When a longer CopyFit session is in process, a progress window will be displayed. To cancel the process, you can click the Cancel button in this window at any time. The current process will stop. However, changes made to the document before the Cancel will not be reverted automatically. To revert a CopyFit session, please see the following information.
You may undo the changes applied to the document by the CopyFit session by using the InDesign Undo edit feature, or by applying the InDesign Revert file feature to return the document to its last saved state.
When you tell CopyFit which text formatting adjustments it can make to fit copy in a text frame (by checking/unchecking the text attributes on the panel), you also set the minimum and maximum values for each adjustment. For instance, you might check the Point Size attribute, and enter a minimum value of “8 pt” and a maximum value of “14 pt”.
If CopyFit reaches the limits of the settings it is applying and still can’t get the text to fit—for instance, in this example, CopyFit has reduced the point size of overset text to 8 points but the frame is still overset—CopyFit will display an Out of Range alert message, shown in the picture below:
To solve an Out of Range problem, first click the alert window’s OK button to dismiss the window. CopyFit will display the frame that encountered this problem and the frame will be selected. Then, assuming you can’t edit the text or the size of the frame to resolve the overset/underset condition, you’ll need to enable additional attributes that CopyFit can adjust (by checking these options on the panel), or increase the range of one or more of these attributes (by changing the minimum and maximum values on the panel), or a combination of the two. Then click the Fit… button again (or click the Tag Frame button if you are modifying a tagged frame).
If you want to save current CopyFit settings with the frame, remember to click the Tag Frame button when you’re done with your changes. Also, if you want to save these as new settings for the current set, click the Update Set button.
CopyFit has several preference options. To access the preferences, click the Prefs button on the CopyFit panel. This will open the CopyFit Preferences window, shown below:
This preference determines whether you are warned before copy fitting all frames (Fit All) or tagged frames (Fit Tagged), providing you the opportunity to cancel the CopyFit. If checked (the default setting) when you click Fit All or Fit Tagged, an alert window will be displayed where you can choose to continue or cancel. If this preference is unchecked (default), CopyFit will not display this warning before copy fitting.
Some frames are overset solely due to superfluous, non-printing characters at the end of the text. Although technically the frame is overset, practically speaking it doesn’t matter. The overset characters would not print even if they fit. Checking this preference instructs CopyFit to allow non-printable characters to overset the frame. If you uncheck this preference, CopyFit will attempt to fit all characters into the text frame, including non-printable characters such as spaces, paragraph returns, tabs, etc.
CopyFit can be set to check automatically for overset frames during certain user actions. You can enable the overset checking to occur whenever you choose Save, Save As, Print, and/or Export from the InDesign File menu.
For example, assume you’ve checked the Print preference on the CopyFit Preferences window and you have an overset frame in a document you’re about to print. When you select Print from the File menu, CopyFit immediately scans the current document for overset text frames before the Print window appears. If any oversets are encountered, you will be prompted with the following message:
If you click Yes, the overset frame will be selected and the CopyFit panel will be opened (if it is not already visible). Click No to ignore the overset frame and continue with the selected operation.
Be sure to uncheck all Overset Check preferences when using CopyFit with DesignMerge. Using CopyFit with DesignMerge Pro is described in the next section in this manual.
CopyFit can be used as a stand-alone product with any document and has also been tightly integrated with DesignMerge for the express purpose of preventing text frame overflows in merged output. This lets you produce customized variable copies that are adjusted individually to ensure frames are not overset.
An example of a variable data frame that overset when merged without CopyFit
An example of the same variable data frame except this time the frame was merged with CopyFit — no overset!
To use CopyFit during a merge session, click the Options button on the DesignMerge window, and then select a CopyFit option to fit text while merging. The CopyFit menu is shown circled in the picture below:
When a CopyFit fitting option has been selected, DesignMerge will do the following:
If you need to apply dissimilar CopyFit parameters to variable text frames in the same document during a merge session, use CopyFit’s Tag Frame feature described in the “Using CopyFit” section earlier in this manual. Once the frames are tagged and you are ready to merge, select Tagged Frames Only from the CopyFit popup menu, shown circled in the picture below, before you start the merge:
When DesignMerge merges the document, it will copy fit only variable frames that have been tagged for copy fitting, fitting the text in each of these frames according to its assigned CopyFit settings. Again, only frames that are variable will be copy fit.
If you prefer to apply the same CopyFit Set to all variable text frames during a merge session, select the Set from the CopyFit popup menu, shown circled in the picture below, before you start the merge:
When DesignMerge merges the document, it will apply that CopyFit Set’s current settings to all variable text frames that need copy fitting.
For additional details about using CopyFit with DesignMerge, see Tutorial #2 in DesignMerge Documentation.
For more information about DesignMerge and its modules, please see the information provided in DesignMerge Documentation, as described below:
Tutorials present various features of DesignMerge in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format to help you quickly learn more about using DesignMerge.
Manuals for the modules in the DesignMerge software package present more detailed information about the features that a particular module provides.
Remember: Help is available! If you have any difficulty at all, we are here to help. Please feel free to open a support ticket by going to the Meadows Online Support Center: