How To Use Data Merge in InDesign

If your business uses digital or print media, or a combination of both, the InDesign app can help you create and deliver top-quality content to your audience. The data merge function makes it simple and quick to create documents such as address labels and form letters. Read on for helpful tips to get the best results using data merge in Indesign.


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Create a Source File
Before you can complete a data merge action, you need to make sure you have a complete data source file. The file should be in .csv or .txt format. This database should include the information that you want to merge with the target file to end up with unique individual items.
 
For example, if you are creating envelopes, the data source file should contain the names and addresses of clients on your mailing list. In a source file, each entry, such as a client's name and mailing address, is called a record. Parts of the records are sorted into fields. For example, a field could be the group of all the addressee names.
 
Develop a Target Document
If you are sending out a form letter, you would need to merge the data source file with the target document. Your target document is the letter itself, and it should include everything you want to remain the same in each completed item, such as your company's address and the text in the body of the letter. You also need to create placeholders that will be filled with the information from the data source file. Examples of placeholder fields include the area for the recipient's address and space for a personalized salutation.
 
Merge the Information
You can use the panel for data merge in InDesign to choose which fields to merge. It's a good idea to take a minute to use the preview function before running the operation. This way, you can see what the resulting item will look like so you can make sure everything is in the right place.
 
The data merge function creates a new file: the merged document. In this final form, you will have a set of individual items with one for each record from the source file. In the form letter example, you would end up with a letter for each person on your mailing list that contains a personal greeting combined with the generic body text.
 
Merging data in InDesign makes it quick and easy to create beautiful, personalized documents for your target audience. Use this effective function to save time and ensure consistent results that will engage and inspire your clients.

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