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Dynamic Data Workflow in InDesign CS2 and CS3

Posted by Scott Shelton on 3:25 PM
Importing Excel Spreadsheet Data into an InDesign Table Note: This example uses the following files: Test.xls & Test.indd. Also, the Excel file has line breaks (ALT-enter) that have been enter into cells with more than one paragraph in them.


In order for the table to not have to be re-formatted after every update to the Excel file, styles for each element (i.e. table's header cell, table's body cell, etc.) have to be created in the correct sequence. This ensures that as each level of style is created it inherits the style from the level of style before it. The levels style have to be defined in the following order: character style=> paragraph style (which includes character styles )=> cell style (which includes paragraph style)=> table style (which includes cell styles).


Step 1


Create New Document


Start by creating a new document (File>New>Document) or
opening an existing one. Note: Bring up your Preferences (press Command-K [PC: Ctrl-K]), click on the
Type category on the left, enable Create Links When Placing Text and
Spreadsheet Files, and click OK. This will ensure that if you place a
table from Word or Excel, when someone updates the Word or Excel
document, your InDesign document updates too.



Step 2


Build and Format Table

An easy way to build a style is to format a table first. This table
will only be used to set the styles. It will be deleted once the styles have been built. Build a table with the same number of rows and
columns as the Excel file to be imported; in this example there are four columns, one header row and five body rows.

Enter the table dimensions and number of header rows.

Select OK.
With your text tool inside one of the table's cell start
to format the table by selecting Table=>Table Options=>Table
Setup.

In the Table Setup tab change the Table Border Weight to 0pt.
Select the Column Strokes tab and click Custom Column from the Alternating Pattern drop-down menu.

Change the First Alternating Columns number of columns to 1 and change the color of the Column Stroke.

Change the Next Alternating Columns number of columns to 0.
Select the Fills tab and click Every Other Row from the Alternating Pattern drop-down menu.

Change the color in the First Alternating Rows and select 1 for the Skip First Rows option.

Select OK.
Format the table header background by highlighting the entire table header and selecting Table=>Cell Options=>Strokes and Fills.


In the Cell Stroke section change Weight to 0pt.

In the Cell Fill change the background color.

Select OK.
Format some placeholder text for the table header, table cell header, and the table cell body.
Step 3

Build Character Styles


Build three character styles and save them: one for the Table Header, one for the Cell Header and finally one for
the Cell Body.


With the text tool, select the header text and select New Character Style from the Character Style Panel's fly-out menu.


Under the General settings enter "Table Header" for the Style Name.

Select OK.

Repeat the process for both the Cell Header text and the Cell Body Text.

Step 4


Build Paragraph Styles


Paragraph Styles not only format the paragraph attributes but they also use
character styles to format the text.


With the text tool, select the header text and select New Paragraph Style from the Paragraph Style Panel's fly-out menu.


Build two paragraph styles and save them: one for the header row (Table Header) and one for the cell header (Table Cell Header).


Select OK.


Step 5


Build Nested Paragraph Style




With the text tool select the Cell Body text and create a new Paragraph Style.

Name this Style "Table Cell Body" and select the "Drop Caps and Nested Styles" section.

Select the "New Nested Style" button.

In the drop-down menu under the Nested Styles section, scroll down and select "Table Cell Header" for the style.

Change the frequency drop-down menu to "up to".

Change number to "1".

Change end of style drop-down menu to "Forced Line Break".
Select the "New Nested Style" button a second time.


In the drop-down menu under the Nested Styles section, scroll down and select "Table Cell Body" for the style.


Change the frequency drop-down menu to "through".


Change number to "2".


Change end of style drop-down menu to "Forced Line Break".
Select the "New Nested Style" button a third time and final time.



In the drop-down menu under the Nested Styles section, scroll down and select "Table Cell Header" for the style.



Change the frequency drop-down menu to "through".



Change number to "1".



Change end of style drop-down menu to "Forced Line Break".














Select OK.

Step 6



Build Cell Styles



Cell styles not only format the cell attributes but they also use
paragraph styles to format the text (which uses character styles to format the text).


Select the table cell that has the Table Header text with the text tool and then select New Cell Style from the Cell Style panel's fly-out menu.


Build two cell styles and save them: one for header cells (Table Header) and one for our cell header (Table Cell Header).


In the New Cell Style dialog box for the Cell Style Table Header, enter Table Header for the Style Name and under the Paragraph Styles section's drop-down menu select Table Header.




Select the Text section of the Cell Style Options dialog box.

Make adjustments to the Cell Inserts section to set the padding between cells.

Select Align Center from the Vertical Justification drop-down menu.

Select the Strokes and
Fills tab.

In the Cell Stroke section, change the Cell Stroke Weight to 0pt.

In the Cell Fill section, change the Cell Fill color to the Table Header background color.

Select OK.


Repeat the step above for the Cell Body Cell Style.

Select the table cell that has the Table Cell Body text with the text tool and then select New Cell Style from
the Cell Style panel's fly-out menu.


In the New Cell Style dialog box for the Cell Style Cell Body, enter Cell Body for the Style Name and under the
Paragraph Styles section's drop-down menu select Table Cell Body.

Step 7


Build the Table Style


Table styles not only format the table attributes but they also use cell styles to format the text (which uses paragraph styles to format the text).


Select
some table cell text with the text tool and
then select New Table Style from the Table Style panel's fly-out menu.


In
the New Table Style dialog box for the Table Style Basic Brown, enter
Basic Brown for the Style Name and under the Cell Styles
section's Header Rows' drop-down menu select Table Header.


Under the Cell Styles
section's Body Rows' drop-down menu select Cell Body.

Select the Column Strokes and the Strokes and Fills sections and verify that the formatting was picked up from the formatting done to the initial table.

Step 8


Delete Table


Now that all of the Styles have been built, the table can be deleted.



Step 9



Bring Excel Spreadsheet Into InDesign



Create a text box in Indesign to receive the Excel spreadsheet.


Make sure that Show Import Options is checked.


Navigate to the the Test.xls file and select open.



In the Import Options dialog box that appears, select the appropriate worksshet from the Options Sheet drop-down menu.

The Cell Range bt default selects all cells with data.

Under the Formatting section, select Unformatted Table from the Table drop-down menu.

Select Basic Brown from the Table Style Menu.

Select OK.


This is the resulting table. Notice that the Table Header has picked up the Cell Body style, but the cell with the multiple line breaks have been formated correctly.

Step 10




Final Format of Table


The reason the Table Header has picked up the Cell Body's style is in the Table Style Options. Under the General section's Cell Styles there are two options on the right for the Left Column and Right Column Cell Styles. Unfortuantely there is only one work around. But once it's done, updates to the Excel file will not cause the formatting to revert. That's because by fixing the Table Header formatting with a cell style, updates will not break the link to that cell style.

With the Text Tool select the Table Header row and from the Cell Style panel select the Table Header style.

With the text tool, edit the column widths of the table to fit the layout.


Once adjusted, right-click on the table and select Fitting=> Fit Frame to Content.

Updating Excel Spreadsheet Data in an InDesign Table
Note: This example uses the following files: Test.xls
& Test.indd. Also, the Excel file has line breaks (ALT-enter) that
have been enter into cells with more than one paragraph in them.



You can update the data in the InDesign table any of four ways:




  1. edit the Test.xls file and save changes (This is the method that will be demonstrated below).
  2. save a new spreasheet with the name Test.xls over the old file.
  3. select the
    Test.xls link in the Links panel and select the relink button to relink
    to another file altogether.
  4. edit the table directly in the InDesign table.*





*The main cavet of
this method is that if the Test.xls is ever updated, or relinked, the
edits made directly in the InDesign table will be lost. This also
defeats the purpose of building all the styles.

Step 11





Updating Excel File



Make some updates to the Test.xls file,

Save and close the Excel Spreadsheet.



Back in InDesign, the links panel shows that the Excel file has been edited and needs updating. Select the Update Link button at the botton of the panel; second from the right.

The
following warning may come up, but since all of the table formatting
was done with Table and Cell Styles it doesn't matter; select yes.


The data in the table has been updated just like the Excel file.

Google Apps!

Posted by Scott Shelton on 4:52 PM
I have seen the future and it is Google Apps. Here is the description from the Apps website, "Google Apps gives all your employees professional email address, tools for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, a shared calendaring system and access to a flexible intranet system. Standalone security and compliance services are also available." I deployed it for my personal website at the first of the year. I initially did it for the email hosting alone. The free Standard version includes 24gb mail storage for up to 200 users. Users can use pop3 or imap servers and access their mail via a browser or an email client. Recently I started looking into how a small to mid size company might utilize the many other "Apps" that Google offers.

The email service alone makes this a compelling option for anyone with a website and from what I'm learning is a small part of what could be a business' IT backbone. My experience set-up Google Apps on mine and my client's website have been virtually painless. Most of the problems I encountered were because of mistakes I made. I will continue to post the progress of the exploration.

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Video From My Wing

Posted by Scott Shelton on 12:06 AM

Posted via MMS

Posted by Scott Shelton on 6:05 PM

testing out blogger's mobile blogging. took the picture with my phone, typed this copy on the keyboard. uploaded via mms. still need to check if I get charged for mms messages. I don't think so. when I send mms it is definitely accessing the edge network to send.

Picture From My Phone

Posted by Scott Shelton on 2:05 PM

Labor Day Bike Ride

Posted by Scott Shelton on 1:02 PM
Here's a ride I did with my friend Danny. I met him at Mockingbird Station and I rode for about 2 hours. Pretty light intensity workout.

My First Blog

Posted by Scott Shelton on 1:04 PM
This is my first true blog. I have written a couple for my new website ourdinners.com; mainly just to create content. The site is a community site for a group of my friends that regularly get together to have dinner parties. I created the site to help us organize and document our dinner parties. I had to teach myself the back-end system, Dolphin. I took me several days to get it tweaked out. It still needs some work, but it has some pretty slick features. I will be doing some research to see if I can't get this blog to replicate on that site. I think it can be done. I'm also learning Joomla and have already set-up a couple of web sites; including my personal/portfolio site: grahamshelton.com. Joomla is a very powerful and extremely customizable. The learning cruve on both was kinda steep. It took some time to get my head around the way Joomla works, but that is what makes it so powerful. I'll try to keep this blog up to date; but it's definately an experiment. Thanks for taking the time to check it out.

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