Variable Data Printing Extension

Only available in version with Variable Data Printing Extension.

The practical use of the Variable Data Printing Extension consists of two steps: the first is the data source definition and the second is the use of data from that source. A file containing records (rows in Excel for example) can be used as a data source, where each record contains individual fields (Excel columns for example). The file must be in text format, individual records and fields must be separated by specified characters. These delimiters are defined and the data file can be selected in the Data Import Palette. A typical file is .csv, where the fields can be delimited by a comma (or a semicolon or a tab) and the records by end of line. This format can be easily exported, for example, from Excel or from most database applications. Fields and records can be also delimited by other characters. It is possible to use a .txt file exported from Word for example, where individual fields can be delimited by enter and records by two enters.

Data from this source can be used in Custom Objects – in text, as a PDF or image name or as a source for barcode generation. You can use references to individual data file fields (these references are replaced with the data from a file when displaying and exporting), as well as the field you can use as the image name. Data can be used in Variable Data, Numbering & Custom Objects mode. You can insert the text using the AB button on the Info Palette. After clicking the Properties & Var. data button the Text Properties Palette appears. The text can be combined with [FIELD1], [FIELD2], etc., inserted using the drop-down list (however, you can also write them manually). Field names can also be used instead of field numbers (if these names are in the first record of the data file) in the syntax [FIELD:fieldname]. Names can be selected from the list when the data file is open and Show field names... is activated. [HIDEIFEMPTY‑>] and [<‑HIDEIFEMPTY] can be used to hide part of the text when the data field is empty. If the data file contains names of images or PDF files, use the PDF button on the Info Palette and select a field containing this file name. Variable PDF files are expected in the same folder as the data file or in the folder specified using Default PDF dir on the Data Import Palette (if data field does not contain path but file name only).

You can use several references to the data file (text objects or custom PDFs), e.g. one for an image, another for a name, another for an address, etc. Of course, for the correct synchronization of values used in the objects the same object properties must be set – assignment to positions or to the sheet and the display properties must be the same, while using the two-sided sheet must also be suitably set displaying on the front and back, on the front only or on the back only.

You can use two repeat modes of pages for imposition if there are not enough pages to use all records from the data file. In that case, either only the last page is repeated, or after the last page is used, the first page is used as the following, followed by all other pages for imposition (imposition will start from begin again).

ProHot version only: if you use variable data in the template for hotfolders, there are two options for using a data file: if the file is selected on Data Import Palette (at the time of creating a template for the hotfolder), this selected file is used (it is searched at the specified path, in the watched folder and in the default PDF folder). If the file is not selected or found, a *.csv or *.txt file with the same name as the PDF for imposition (or control XML) is expected in the watched folder or in the default PDF folder (and if even this file is not found, the first found *.csv or *.txt from the default PDF folder or from the watched folder will be used, possibly with another name). Use Clear button on the Data Import Palette to clear the file selection (if you use different data file names for impositions), the default PDF folder can also be defined on this palette. This data file should be saved before the imposition begins (program waits for the file max. 30 s after saving PDF for imposition). If you use a XML control file, you can also use it to define the variable data file.

See the example of the use here.