Facing Page Data Merge – it IS Possible!

Over many forums i’ve seen questions from posters asking how to prepare Data Merge involving facing pages or many pages, and have seen other posters say that it can’t be done.

Put simply, NOT TRUE. Data merges can be made with facing pages; pages with 3-across page spreads, etc.

I say this because I use data merge in this fashion to make many documents in my day job.

For a standard garden-variety left and right hand facing page spread, try this:

  1. Make a new 1 page document and make sure “facing pages” is turned off.
  2. With the new document, go to the pages palette and add another page by dragging and dropping an A-master as page 2 of the document. at the moment the page will be one on top of the other.
  3. Still within the pages palette, right (or control) click the page and make sure that “allow document pages to shuffle” is turned OFF (that is, no tick next to it).
  4. Make the merge as you would like it to appear. When ready to merge, merge as per normal, and the new document will start with a left hand page like so:

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About colmin8r
A prepress operator since 1997 specialising in Adobe InDesign.

2 Responses to Facing Page Data Merge – it IS Possible!

  1. Dekker says:

    You are totally missing the point: the requirement for a spread is where the left & right pages are NOT symmetrical, i.e off-set from the spine etc. Using the same master page on both sides achieves nothing

  2. colmin8r says:

    Perhaps the title was misleading. In the first line of the post I do say: “facing pages or many pages” – perhaps the title should have read “Multiple page merges”.

    By your definition of a facing page spread, I agree. This post should have had more of the back-story to explain why the post was written. At the time of writing, many posts that I had seen across various forums were claiming that data merge across spreads (not necessarily facing pages, but pages set in 3-5 page spreads as panels) wasn’t possible. It appeared that the root cause was that users were adding their variable data to the master page so that the link to the text could be preserved once the merge was complete, and to that end I agree… but if the variable data was placed on a regular page (thus not preserving the link to the data) then the format of the pages was no longer an issue.

    To that end, I have decided to revisit the issue and have prepared a link that has four files: two merge base and the two merge results. Each base has a slightly different setup – one has a setup similar to my original post, but rather than all based on master page A, there is a master page B that has mirrored margins. Accordingly there is also another master that has the pages set up as spreads that I believe would be acceptable to the definition. When merging that file to a new InDesign file, I DID have to select all pages and turn off “Allow Document pages to shuffle” so that the spreads could be moved side by side in the pages palette, BUT when the pages merge they are – by definition – separate left and right pages. The link to these files is here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/55743036/2013-02-14%20facing%20page%20query.zip

    These methods all assume that the data is one record to many pages. If however the data is many records to one page/many pages, then that can’t be done with this method, and my answer would be to make a single page base, merge the records and then in the merged file, change the document settings there to make left/right pages.

    In fact to prepare dates for diary pages, I do use the first method outlined in the second paragraph. The reason being is that the left hand page will have Monday to Friday dates, whereas the right hand page will have the Saturday and Sunday dates and other info. Because the pages are different they use two different masters. The merge is also designed to read as an open spread so that one week will appear as a left-right spread.

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