InDesign, XPress Database Publishing Tools from XChange

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By: E&P Staff

XChange UK and announced online availability of DATAform module for Adobe InDesign CS4 and QuarkXPress 8 (and earlier versions). The InDesign plug-in or XPress XTension provides a bi-directional connection between a user’s database and the layout application.

The database publishing tool offers three main features: creation, export and update of documents. With DATAform, any programmable database can be used to create complete layout documents. Using DATAformTags, any InDesign or XPress boxes and all their properties can be defined within ASCII text and created in the layout program. More than 70 tags deal with almost every aspect of InDesign or XPress, such as creating new documents and pages, boxes on a specific page and position, text boxes with any formatted content, picture boxes (and load, scale and offset the picture), chained text boxes over many pages, anchored text and picture boxes or lines.

With one ASCII file, a user can create an entire catalogue, ready for printing or manual finishing by the designer. Database-generated boxes and content can be modified in InDesign or XPress like any other manually created boxes. To update a database, DATAform translates the layout document — or parts of it — into a DATAformTags text file again. The ASCII file contains all information about the document, and the database can reimport and maintain that information, such as all document properties, new page position of each box, 70-plus properties of each box, text of all text boxes optionally with XPressTags, picture paths of picture boxes, all scaling and offset specifications of pictures, complete chaining information of chained text boxes, all anchored boxes and lines and their anchor position.

If database contents change, e.g. due to new prices, the database updates the InDesign or XPress document. The designer’s work remains unchanged and only contents of boxes will be replaced.

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