When we designed the list of available Rule Actions for DesignMerge we came up with a standard set of Actions that we felt would be the most popular and commonly used. Everyone uses the Set Data to… Action, and the Apply Master Page… Action, but of course we couldn’t imagine all of the things our customers would eventually want to do during a merge.
So we have introduced the Pro Pack module to allow users to develop their own custom Rule Actions, with special features for handling specific tasks, such as the creation of variable-length InDesign tables and text flows that span across multiple document pages.
|CUSTOM RULE ACTION EXAMPLES
|Adjust Width of Custom Book Spine
One client for a custom book publication needed to adjust the width of the spine for a variable book cover based on the number of pages in the book. Each data record held the information for a different book cover, including the number of pages. The customer developed a custom Action for this purpose using the Pro Pack. During the merge, the custom Action was triggered each time the spine frame was about to be processed. The custom Action read the number of pages from the data field, did a quick calculation, then adjusted the width of the spine box, and returned control to DesignMerge to continue processing.
|Change Color of Text Frame with Pantone Color
Another client needed to change the background color of a label frame by reading the specific Pantone color to use from a data field. During the merge, the custom Action was triggered each time this specific label frame was processed. It read the Pantone Color from the data field, applied the color swatch to the frame, and returned control to DesignMerge to continue processing.
|Specialty Bar Code Processing
One of our label printer clients had a special requirement for adding start/stop and check digit characters to their bar code data, and they also wanted to trim the data to a specific length. This task was easily handled using a custom Action that read the raw data from the data field, modified the text to the appropriate specifications, and returned the resulting data to DesignMerge software to be merged.
These are just a few examples of how clients have utilized the Pro Pack to develop custom Rule Actions. The possibilities are truly unlimited!
|PRO PACK UTILITIES
|MPS Variable Table Feature (collapse empty table rows)
For variable InDesign tables, it is often desirable to remove table rows that are empty after data has been merged into the document. We call this collapsing the table, and the MPS Variable Table feature is designed for just that purpose. This built-in feature allows you to set specific criteria to determine which rows of an InDesign table should be removed following a variable data merge. Please see the video below for more details.
|MPS Frame Action Feature (omit pages with empty text flows)
DesignMerge already supports the flow of variable text across pages in a document, but what about those records that do not include enough text to span to another page? In some instances, it is desirable to exclude these overflow pages from the print run. The MPS Frame Action feature, which is included with the Pro Pack, assists in this process by automatically detecting such text flows, and marking the page for omission from the variable print stream. Please see the video below for more details.
|Advanced Title Case Conversion
This module performs advanced title case conversion on any variable text string being imported. The module handles simple initial case conversion (JOHN JONES becomes John Jones), but also has a built-in table for handing more complex names, which is nice for the McCormick’s and MacDonald’s of the world! Source code is included, so you can add other title case scenarios if you need to.
|Price Parsing Module
Many of the variable jobs encountered by DesignMerge involve variable pricing information. This module provides a method for selectively grabbing just a portion of a particular price. For example, if a client has “2 for 1” pricing, this module allows them to selectively merge just the ‘2’ and the ‘1’ portion of the data independently, allowing for precise styling of this data after import. The price parser module handles many common retail scenarios, including standard pricing and percent-off pricing. Provided in binary format (no source code), but we can send you a few great examples.
The unique Variable Table and Frame Action features provided by the Pro Pack can be very handy for handling variable-length InDesign tables, and for working with variable text and table flows across multiple pages. Please have a look at this training video for details on how to use these powerful Pro Pack features.
So you don’t know (and have no interest in learning) how to code using ExtendScript? Not a problem – just give us a call and we would be happy to discuss your project and work up a custom DesignMerge Action, just for you!