Practical Graphic Design: High Volume Design in Adobe InDesign | Kyle Aaron Parson | Skillshare

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Practical Graphic Design: High Volume Design in Adobe InDesign

teacher avatar Kyle Aaron Parson, Graphic Designer and Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Welcome to Class!


    • 3.

      What is Data Merge?


    • 4.

      Organizing Your Information


    • 5.

      Saving Your Information


    • 6.

      Applying Variable Text


    • 7.

      Exporting For Print


    • 8.

      Exporting For Web


    • 9.

      Trouble Shooting Text


    • 10.

      Applying Variable Images


    • 11.

      Multiple Record Layout


    • 12.

      Final Project and Recap


    • 13.

      Thank you!


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About This Class

Adobe InDesign’s Data Merge utility gives you the ability to create 100s of variations of your design in a matter of minutes. In this fast paced world it is essential that we are able to use all the graphic design tools available to us as efficiently as possible. Learn to efficiently create high volume business cards, Email Signatures, ID cards, look books and so much more! This tool has so many applications that it is not something that only graphic designers should know, it’s a practical tool to help you accomplish many high volume tasks. The possibilities are endless!

Join Graphic Designer Kyle Aaron Parson as he guides you through the amazing potential of Data Merge in Adobe InDesign to efficiently produce high volume designs. By Using this technique you will save hours of laborious work and will give you time to focus on the design at hand.

What you will learn:

  • Understand Data Merge in InDesign
  • Organize Information for High Volume Designs
  • Troubleshoot Export Issues
  • Customize Frames and Simple Effects
  • Using a Simple Script to Export Effectively
  • Create Designs with Variable Images and QR Codes

Some potential Applications for the subject taught in the Class:

Business Cards, Invitations, Letter head, Email Signatures, Postage, Personalized Greeting Cards, I.D Cards, Event passes, Stage Passes, Personalized Picture Cards, Trading cards, Stat cards, Game cards, Product catalog, Staff Bios, Year Books, and the list goes on…

When I first learned about this tool in InDesign I was blown away and I’m so excited to share this with you, After taking this class you’ll have a toolset that will allow you to take on bigger projects for bigger clients and level up your portfolio. If you’re ready to learn High Volume Design, I’ll see you in Class!

Continue your learning of InDesign with more Practical Graphic Design Classes:

Practical Graphic Design: Learn Adobe InDesign Through Fundamental Design Principles


Practical Graphic Design: Craft Beautiful Documents with Adobe InDesign

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Kyle Aaron Parson

Graphic Designer and Illustrator

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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: That's camera 1, camera 2, audio [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC]. In this fast-paced world, it is essential that we are able to use all the tools available to us as efficiently as possible. InDesign data merge functions give you the ability to create hundreds of variations of your designs in a matter of minutes. By utilizing key scripts, you can export a hundreds of personalized designs with functional file naming in a matter of seconds. Learn to efficiently create high-volume business cards, email signatures, letterheads, ID cards, look books, QR codes, and so much more. The point is, this tool has so many applications that is not only something graphic designers should know, it's a practical tool to help you accomplish many of your high-volume tasks. Hey guys, my name is Kyle Aaron Parson. I'm a freelance graphic designer and illustrator from Edmonton, Canada, as well as being a top teacher here on Skillshare. Over my career, I've worked with many clients to develop logos, posters, and brands styles. One thing that is incredibly important in the world of design is the ability to work efficiently. Why repeat a task that can easily be automated? This is what we'll go over in today's class. The data merge function in Adobe InDesign is a game changer for producing high-volume designs that require a variable information. This allows each design to have it's own personal touch. Throughout this class, we will learn how to practically use this tool to create business cards, ID cards, and a simple bio page. However, the applications of this process are truly endless. By using this technique, you will save hours of laborious work re-inputting information over and over again. This will allow you more time to focus on the design at hand or time for the things that you are truly passionate about. After taking this class, you'll have a tool-set that allow you to take on bigger projects for bigger clients and level up your portfolio. Although having an understanding of InDesign is beneficial, this class is perfect for beginners as well as more intermediate users. If you're ready to learn high-volume design, I will see you in class. [MUSIC] 2. Welcome to Class!: [MUSIC] Welcome to class. The project for this class is to use the Data Merge tool in Adobe InDesign to create a high-volume design. This can be a set of business cards, ID cards, or a simple lookbook. Really, it can be anything you want. You'll need access to Adobe InDesign as well as to download the project assets that we will be using to follow along within the class. You'll find an Excel spreadsheet with the variable information we will use, and you will also find a picture pack as well as the InDesign class project files to quickly apply what you've learned. Some previous knowledge of Adobe InDesign is definitely an asset. However, this class is part of a practical graphic design series. If you'd like a more guided introduction to InDesign to learn the basic functionality of the program, or you want to learn about the design theory that will train your creative eye, definitely check out my other practical graphic design classes here on Skillshare. In the first couple of classes, we will learn different forms of high-volume designs, as well as how to manage your information so you can get the most out of this awesome design tool. After that, we'll learn how easy it is to apply variable information onto an existing design, as well as some key export options that will speed up your workflow immensely. After that, we will go through some troubleshooting techniques and finally, a few more applications such as applying variable images and QR codes. Let's jump right in and explore the endless possibilities of this game-changing tool in InDesign. 3. What is Data Merge?: [MUSIC] So what exactly does the data merge function allow you to do? The data merge function allows you to create placeholders within your design and allows you to replace that placeholder with predetermined information. It allows you to cycle through the information as well as export a document with all the variations that could be created with your information set. The possibilities of this tool are truly endless. A few examples are business cards, email signatures, letter heads, postage, personalized cards, event passes, trading cards, yearbooks, brochures, and so much more. The point is that this tool has so many applications that it is not only something that graphic designers should know, it is a practical tool to help accomplish many high-volume tasks. Think about a bride who wants to send out personalized thank you cards to the hundreds of guests who attend her wedding. Think about the small business owner who wants to add a personal touch to his newsletter for his loyal customers. All these things can be incredibly easy to do when you learn this awesome tool in InDesign. I hope you can see by now how excited I am about this awesome design tool. Let's jump right into the next class and learn how to organize our information to get the most out of our high-volume designs. 4. Organizing Your Information: [MUSIC]. In this class, let us learn how we can gather and organize our information to utilize this feature in InDesign. Although you can use a simple text editor like Notepad to organize your information, it is way more efficient to use an Excel spreadsheet or even better, a Google Sheets. Why Google Sheets? Well, because if you are tasked with the job of collecting the information from multiple people, you can easily share the Google Sheets with them and they can easily add their own information and it will update in real-time. However, I'll be using an Excel document for this class. If you want to organize your information in Google sheets or even on Notepad, you can go right ahead. As long as the information is laid out correctly, it doesn't matter too much about the program you use. In order to properly use the data merge tool, your information should be laid out in a specific way. You'll give each section of information its own unique column on the sheet and place the title of that column in the first row. The first row will be the title of the information in that column. In the column that says First Name, you'll want to put all the first names, and that goes for all the information in each column. It's pretty straightforward. Whatever information you want to have separated should have its own column. An example is the first name and last name could be separated because you may want to only use the first name or only use the last name on occasion in your documents. Now you can fill in all the information, keeping the information that is related in the correct row. An example is, all of Joe Cool's information like his email, phone number, address, and favorite animal is in row Number 2 of the spreadsheet. Now for some fun, I want you to open up the nameless Excel spreadsheet from the project files and add your name and information in the bottom row so that you can create a personalized class project. Now it doesn't have to be your actual information if you want to create a made-up persona for yourself, definitely go right ahead and do that. [NOISE] Now that we know how to set up our information in our Excel spreadsheet, in the next class we will understand the key file type to be able to use our information with the data merge tool. 5. Saving Your Information: [MUSIC] One key thing that you need to do before you can use your information in InDesign is you must save your Excel spreadsheet as a CSV file or a comma-separated values file. This will allow your information to properly communicate with the InDesign software. To understand how our information will be received, let's see how we organize our information in a.TXT file. Here we can see that the first line will be the title of the information. Each section is separated by a tab or a comma. Though the information isn't as structured as it is in an Excel spreadsheet, the information will be read the same regardless. Where there is a linebreak that creates a new row of information and where there is a tab or a comma in that row that will mark the information in the specific column. Obviously, there's more room for error and it is harder to manage your information. But if you wanted to, you could format your information with a simple text editor like this. Saving your Excel spreadsheet as a.csv will allow your information to be broken down into this simple format in order to process it. Once this information is organized you can easily apply it to an assortment of different design needs, as we will cover in this class. In our next class, we will apply this information to create multiple custom business cards in a matter of minutes. To prepare for the next class, make sure you have the Class Assets downloaded and open up the file [MUSIC] Business Card Example. I will see you in class. 6. Applying Variable Text: [MUSIC] In this class, we'll learn how to use the data merge function to apply variable information onto an existing design. Let's jump right in. I have opened here at the business card example InDesign file. On the business card, we want to apply the name of the person, the title of the person, his email address, and maybe also the phone number. Let's see how we can do that. Before we start, we want to have a few windows open. You can see here, I have the character panel and the paragraph panel. I have some swatches here, the color panel, stroke, we're not really going to use that right now. The layers panel we won't use and the pages, as you can see, we have one page here, that's all we're going to need. If you don't see the windows that I have open, you can always go to window and you can find it here, types and table of characters and paragraph, as well as a few different ones through color, you can find the swatches. More importantly, we want to find the data merge utility. If we go down to utilities, we can find the data merge. We could get an click on the Data merge here and we can drag it over to our side. Now we can dock it with everything else. Now we can open up and we can select a data source. Now one way we can add the information in InDesign is simply by creating a text box. Now one-by-one, if we wanted to, we can go in and we can type in the person's name and type in the title. That's all well and good. But if you have hundreds of different names and titles, actually this will be really repetitive to have to input all these information manually. We're just going to undo that. What we're going to do is we're going to go to the data merge utility, and we're going to go to the dropdown menu and select the data source. Once we select the data source, we got to find in our files, the nameless that we have in our project resources. We have an Excel spreadsheet comma separated values file. I'm going to click on that and I'm going to open. Now you can see it populated all the information we had in the Excel spreadsheet. The word in the first column is the title of the information. Now you can see we have a prefix, we have the first name, last name, email, phone number, address, title, and so forth. All we have to do now is we can create a text box and you can see that it has a t here. It means that this information will be converted to text. What I can do is I can go into my data merge tool and I can find the information that I wanted to apply to my text box. I want the first name and the last name. You can see here that it already applied. Now if I hit preview in my data emerge tool, it will actually show me an example of what it will look like with all that information applied. I want a space in between, I'll space it out. As well as I want another line to have my title. I'm going to put my title there, but I don't want my title as big. I'm going to go to my character panel and I'm going to make adjustments to this title. That's looking better. Now, maybe I want it to have a different weight, maybe medium, and that's looking good. Now what I want is I want to make some repetition in my design. I want to use this yellow circle actually right after the title. I want it to always be right after it. What I could do is I can use on my keyboard, make a tiny ellipse. Let's zoom in here. I can use the eyedropper to pick that yellow. Now, I want it to be right after manager, just like that. However, if I were to change this information, let's change it to Steve Awesome, assistant manager. You can see that this dot does not follow the text. One thing that's really cool about InDesign is you can actually apply shapes or images into a text box itself. How do I do that? I'm just going to go Control x or Command x on unmark to cut it. Then I'm going to put my cursor right after the assistant manager, with this space and Control v or Command v. Now you can see I have my yellow dot there. If I cycled through my information, you can see that the yellow dot goes with it. Maybe if I want to make adjustments to this yellow dot, I can double-click into it and make it a little smaller, just like that. That's looking really cool, really good. Now the next thing that I want to do is I want to create a second text box. I want to have some more information, but I don't want this information to be as big, so I'm going to shrink it down maybe to six points. I'm going to go into my data merge and I'm going to find my phone number. Hit enter, email, hit enter and address. That's looking pretty good. I want to change the font to, let's see, that. Maybe shrink it down just one more. Then I bring it down there. That's looking good. I want to change the color of my text, maybe to the gradient green here. Now if I hit w on my keyboard, I can actually preview what this looks like. I go to my data merge and I can cycle through all the information and you can see that it's changing automatically. Now there's a few things here that we have to look out for. The spacing within here is not working. I might want to stretch out my text frame to see all my information. However, in a future class, I want to show you how to troubleshoot and some of your options to deal with these overset texts. Now that our business card is ready and set up, we want to see how we can export it for print as well as for web, as well as use key scripts in order to organize our files with a proper naming system. Guys, I'll see you in the next class. 7. Exporting For Print: [MUSIC] In this class, we'll learn how to export your files for print, as well as use a script to create efficient file naming. Let's jump into InDesign. We're in our business card example.indd file. What we want to do is we want to export this as a PDF to send to the printers. One way you can do this is you can go to the Data Merge Tool and you can export to PDF. Now you can decide whether you want to do all the records within the document. You can do a specific record, a single record number 19, or maybe 16, or whatever number you want. You can do a range of values. You can decide only I want number 1-5 because those are the managers or something like that. You can do a single record or multiple records, but we will learn about that later. It says generate oversized texts report with document creation. If you have overset text, it'll actually prompt you if these things happen. We don't need to deal with that right now, but we'll deal with that later. There's a few different options here, but we won't deal with that at the moment. Now we'll hit "Okay", and we'll go up to our export to PDF menu and we'll decide a high-quality print is good. We want to export as pages since we don't even have spreads. We can create separate PDF files for each page. Joe cool_01 PDF example. We won't do that. We can embed page thumbnails, stuff like that. We can go into compression. We can adjust these information marks and bleeds. Maybe we want to use the bleed settings because we're going to send it to the printer. Output, nothing like that. What we're going to do is we're going to get one file with all our images on it. We're going to hit "Export" and we're going to see what that does. Business Card Example class assets and it already exists, that's okay. We'll save over it and we'll see what that looks like. Now if we go into our files, we go to business card example, it opens up and we can see here we have our business card and we can cycle through and we can see all our different business cards. I set it 1-5, so I might want to adjust that. Let's re-export this and do all records hit "Okay", hit, "Export". Business card example, yes. Now we can see our file and there we go. Now we have all our records within one document and we can send that to the printer and they can print it out accordingly. Now, what we want to do is we can try and save this export. We can do export to PDF and create separate PDF. Let us see what that does. Let's go to export business card example, and we'll hit "Save". Now we want to business card example v2. Now what's going to happen is it's going to export each page as its own PDF. Let us see what happens there. Now you can see that there is a business card example, v2, v1, something like that. We can open up each one individually and we'll have each one on its own PDF. However, what if I want it to be named? The name of the person, not business card example v1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. I'm going to actually delete all those because we don't want them like that. In order to have an efficient file naming system, we have to use a key script. Through this script. It actually allows us to use the first name, last name, or whatever information we have and apply that to the title of the saved PDF. Let us see how we can do that. Jumping back into InDesign. Now to access our scripts, we go to Window, Utilities, and Scripts. [NOISE] You can see here in my user scripts, I have one available to me already. I'm going to remove that and show you how you can add it to yours. Now we click on the users, we can right-click and we want to reveal and explorer. Now it'll open up the explorer panel and you can see scripts panel here. We're going to double-click into that, and this is where we want to paste in our user scripts. In our Class Assets folder, we have an export script for InDesign. You can use the one for PC or there's a Mac one as well. I'm going to copy the one for PC and I'm going to paste it into my scripts panel folder. Now if I jump back into InDesign, you can see that I have my script available to me now. Now to use this script, all I have to do is I will save my document and I'll double-click into my script. It'll open up a pop-up menu and you can see that there's a few things that we need to address. First, we need to select a folder where it should go. I'm going to go to my desktop and the Class Assets folder and I'm going to hit "Okay". We have to select a type of PDF we want to export to. I want high-quality PDF. Now there are the fields in database. These are all the things that we have available to us. I'm going to click on the first name and I'm going to hit "Add" because I want my PDF to be named after the first name, as well as the last name, so first name, last name. This is going to be how my information will be displayed in my file folder naming system. I'm going to hit "Okay". Now it'll run through its process and it'll export each version of our design as its individual PDF. Let's jump into our file and see how that worked. If we go to our Class Assets folder, we can see that there's a folder called Results. If we double-click into it now you can see here we have all our files named according to the person in which whom they belong. If we go to Joe Cool's, you can see that we have Joe Cool's business card here. We can go into Patty Proper and we can see her is there and so forth. That's really cool how you can easily and efficiently export your designs for print. In our next class, [MUSIC] we will understand how we can export them for web. 8. Exporting For Web: [MUSIC] In this class, we'll learn how to efficiently export your documents for the web using PNG or JPEG. Let's jump into InDesign and see how we can do this. In some cases, we may want to utilize our information for web. However, sometimes we don't want to have a PDF, we want to have a JPEG or a PNG. How we can do that, we can do a little workaround. The data merge function really works with PDF. However, we want to be able to incorporate PNGs. One way we can do this is we can go into each one, we can select the preview. We can go to File, we can go to Export, and we can go to Export as a PNG and now we can save it as Joe Cool and there we go. All pages yes, because there's only one, 72 is for web and RGB and we'll hit Okay. We can jump into our folder and we can see Joe Cool is there and it is a nice little PNG. It has a transparent background so you can't really see, that'll be awesome for a email signature. But what if we want to do this a little faster? What if we have 100 or 200 personalized emails, signatures, you don't want to go in and export each one individually like that. You want to work a little more efficiently so let's see how we can do that. What we can do is we can go into our dropdown menu and we can create a merged document. When we create a merged document, it'll actually merge all the variations of your designs into one InDesign file. We're going to create merged document all records and we're going to hit Okay. Now what's going to happen is it's going to create a new InDesign document, with all our email signatures on a different page so that's really cool. Now one thing we can do here is we can go into File, Export, Export as PNG. I'm going to just create a new folder called Exports and I'm going to open that folder and I'm going to save, all pages, 72 and export. Now if we jump into our file, go to our exports. Now we have all our email signatures saved within an instant all as PNGs. The one downside to this is that they won't have a proper naming system like we did with the PDFs and I really haven't found a workaround in order to do that yet so if you have any suggestions, you can leave it in the discussions panel I would really love to hear it. However, this is my workaround for exporting them quickly as a PNG or JPEG or whatever file type you want. One other benefit to this method to create merge document is you have the ability to go in and change individual components on all your design. If you wanted specifically Patty Proper to, instead of having a green gradient, maybe she is just to have a blue background like that. You can change that to an individual part of a design and it won't affect all the others. If you want to go in and tweak these little things, you can definitely do it through the merged document option. In our next class, we'll learn how to troubleshoot a couple of our text issues. 9. Trouble Shooting Text: [MUSIC] Let's see how we can troubleshoot some of our text issues as well as make it as automated as possible. Let's jump into InDesign. We have our business card example open here and you can see that I have my name text as well as my title in one text box here. I only want my text to go up to this line here. Now, if I cycle through all my texts, you can see I get to a point where I have a few texts that are a little too big, like this one and this one. What I can do here as Number 1, I want to adjust this so they are like that. You can see here that I have some overset text here. If I had hundreds of variations, I don't want to individually go through and manually look for all of these things. If I were to export to PDF right now, and I could do all records, I go "Okay", "Export", "Business Card Example", "Sure". Now you can see there is overset text on these pages 1. There's an overset text report and it shows me that Page 18, six characters, two words for this and pages and these for words. There's some stuff going on here. This report shows me the issues that I have in my document after it was exported. Most of it's good, but Page 18 and 19 are not very good. I have to close that and see what's wrong. If I were to go to 18, [NOISE] you can see that there's overset text. Now, what if I wanted to automatically do this? Create this text box so it actually increases in size or decreases in size according to what's in there. Let's see how we can do that. If we go over to our properties panel, we can go down to our text frame options. If we go to our text frame options and click "Options", we can actually go to the auto size. We can actually decide whether we want to auto size the height, the width, the height and width, or the height and width keep proportions. I don't want to adjust the width of it because my width is set. I want to adjust the height only and I'm going to hit "Okay". Now you can see that when I did that, it actually adjusted the height to fit all my text, but you can see that it's moved up compared to the last one. We have to make another adjustment. Let's go back to our properties and go back to our text frame options. Now let's go to auto size and you can see here it expands from the center, but we don't want it to expand from the center. We want the top of it always to stay in place. We're going to click on the top part here. We're going to hit "Okay". Now using the text frame options, you can see that as we scroll through the options, it adjusts automatically and we don't get that error. Now if we go to export our document, we can export all records. Export, export, export. Now you can see that there is no overset text generated while merging records. This is great to see and awesome. That's really cool. We can auto size things like that. If the opposite were true and we wanted to adjust the width instead of the height and keep everything on one line, we don't want it in this case. But as an example, if we want everything in one line, we can go to the text frame options, go to auto size, and we're going to go to width only and no line breaks. Now, this will push it out without allowing the text to drop down a line so we'll hit "Okay" and see what that does. You can see we have one issue is that it expanded from the center. Let's go back and put it to the left side. We're going to hit "Preview". We ought to undo it first. Now let's go from here. Auto size, width only, left side, no line breaks, and hit "Okay". We adjusted the width of the text box without forcing that line break. That's really useful in certain cases, especially if you wanted to have an address line specifically on one line and it's not broken up or something like that. Try and use the auto size function in your text frame options to automatically troubleshoot some of those overset texts that may occur in your documents. Now that we know how to use the Data Merge tool, know how to export our documents, as well as know how to troubleshoot some of our text issues, when we jump into the next class, we will learn how to utilize the images as well as QR codes in our variable information. [MUSIC] I'll see you in class. 10. Applying Variable Images: [MUSIC] In this class, we'll learn how to use the data merge function to apply variable images as well as QR codes. Let's jump right in. What I have open here is the ID card example, in design file, and we can see that we have some information already set up and we have this simple ID card. Now, what we're going to do is we're going to actually add an image here as well as a QR code at the bottom, so we want to see how we can do that. First of all, we want to click and select our data source and we want our name list so we're going to hit "Okay", and now we have all our information here. If we hit Preview, some of it is already auto populated. So we have our name, we have our title, we have this and that and now we want to create an area for our image. In order to do that, we can create a simple frame, rectangle frame and we're just going to make a square and we're going to place it right over top of Joe Cool's name, right in the center, and this is where we will have our image, maybe a little higher like that. Cool. Now what you can see here is on the side, you can see that all of these are texts so even if I wanted to add a picture, I couldn't add a picture because that's actually text and I don't want that, so I'm going to undo that and I want to place a picture here. In order to use images in your data merge function, you have to organize your information slightly different in your Excel spreadsheet. So let's open up the Excel spreadsheet and see what adjustments need to be made. So I've opened up our name list and we can see that we have an area that we're going to utilize for pictures. In order to use images in our data merge function, we have to reference the source material or the source image, there's a specific way we need to do that. In our Excel spreadsheet what we need to do is we have to reference something. We have to say that we are going to be referencing this file for this line. In order to do that, we have to put the at sign. The at sign signals the data merge function that this is at a specific location in our files, but in Excel, at is actually a function that can be used. We can't just put at in our Excel document, what we need to do is first, instead of at, we need to put a single quotation mark before it. This will cancel out the functionality of the add symbol in the Excel spreadsheet and a little just function to serve our purposes in the data merge, and I'm going to delete that one thing. Now you can see here is canceled out and all it is is pictures. But still we don't have any information there yet. How do we get our information? We need to actually reference the file. If we go into our files, we can see that interclass assets, we have pictures, we're going to double-click into it and we have a bunch of profile pictures. We need to reference the path of all these images and put them into our Excel spreadsheet. So each file has a specific path. This PC, local C, users, ksquared, one drive, desktop, class assets, and pictures. We want to select all of them. Click on the first image, hold Shift and select the last image, and up at the top here, under home, you can see Copy path. I'm not too sure where it is on Mac, but it's somewhere similar, we have to find Copy path and we'll copy all the paths and we'll go into our Excel spreadsheet. Now on the second line under our pictures, we're going to just hit Control V and it will paste in. Now you can see that the path of each of these images is posted into each of these lines. Now, we're going to save this document and we're going to exit out and now we're going to go into our Data Merge and update data source. Now we can see what happened is that T that was under pictures has turned into an image. Now if we hit Preview and we click on our Frame, and we click the Picture, you can see that it is actually displaying the picture itself and we can scroll through and it has all the different images in there. This is really, really cool. One thing that we need to think about is sometimes our images may not fit accordingly, sometimes we might want the image to be adjusted a little bit. What we can do is we can go into Content Placement Options and there we have our image placement. We can hit Image proportionally, fit images to frame, that might work, so let's see how that does. We don't want that, that doesn't work very well. We hit "Preview" and turn Preview on, turn Preview off. Now our content placement, let's try Content-Aware Fit, and let's see what that looks like. That works a little better. I find that the Content-Aware Fit works probably the best. If we adjust it and adjust it, it usually fits it really well. So we're going to undo that. I think I wanted a little bit higher right in the center right there, and I'm going to turn my Preview off and on. Perfect. Now if I hit "W", you can see that they're looking really good honestly already and I can go scroll through and see all the images. One thing that we can do is we can have a little bit of creative freedom in how we frame our images. We can go over to the stroke and fill and we can add a stroke to this and we can increase the size of the stroke and that might look pretty good, and also what we can do is we can go to object, we can go to Corner Options, and we can decide if we want to round the corners or not. We can preview. We want to change to rounded and I think I wanted it a little rounded. You can also change it to a fancy, could change it to inset, bevel. But I like the round and I'm going to hit "Okay", maybe reduce the stroke size a bit and that's pretty cool. Another thing that you can do is you can add a little bit of effect on it so we can go Objects Effect and we can put a drop shadow and hit "Preview" to see what that looks like. It's a little too strong, maybe adjust that to 25, preview that and maybe it's too far away, and hit "Okay", and now we can zoom in and can see how that looks. It's looking really good, Bobby Chill, awesome. That's how we can apply images in our designs. Two key things you want to be aware of when you're using images in your Data Merge is you need to reference the data source. In your Excel spreadsheet, you have to have that at symbol. But in order for that at symbol to actually work with the data merge and not with the Excel spreadsheet, you have to put a single quotation mark before the at symbol so it cancels out that function in Excel spreadsheet so it doesn't have some weird error. The second thing is that you want to make sure that your content is fitting correctly so you can go into your Content Placement Options, and the Content-Aware Fit usually works best however, you may need to use the other ones in different circumstances so play around with it. Now what we're going to do is we're going to learn how to add a simple QR code to our designs. Let's jump back into there. Now, we have this option for QR code and right now, if we do a frame, if we make a simple frame down at the corner here, and we want to fill it with a QR code, now nothing happens because this is actually text and we don't want texts so if we increase this, we can see what it is, it's a website. Now, we want to make a QR code out of this so how do we do that? Let's jump into our Excel spreadsheet and see what we can adjust. If we jump into our name list, we just have to make one adjustment to make this whole thing work and all that is, is just we put the at symbol before our title of pictures to reference that we're using a file source, actually the QR code, all we have to do before our title is put a hashtag. When we put a hashtag, it's saying this information in this column is going to be translated as a QR code and it's really that simple. Now, I'm going to save this document, I'm going to close out and I'm going to go back in and I'm going to update my data source. Now you can see my data source was updated and the QR code is no longer a text, it is a QR code. Now if we recreate the frame and we apply our QR code and hit "Preview", we can see that a QR code is automatically generated and this is really cool, and I can adjust it accordingly, resize it. Now you have a functional QR code on your ID card. That's really cool. Now I'm just going to scan it and open it up and it took me right to my Skillshare class on Work Smart in Adobe Illustrator, so that's [LAUGHTER] really cool. All right guys. Make sure you use Content-Aware Fit for your QR code and it's really that simple, we use a hashtag to reference that this data is going to be translated into a QR code and really you can put any information in there; you can put a website, you can put the product information, product numbers, stuff like that. In the next class, we'll learn how to create a simple bio page that takes multiple versions of your information, lays it out in a grid in a single page. [MUSIC] I'll see you in class. 11. Multiple Record Layout: [MUSIC] In this class, we'll learn how to use the multiple record layout to lay out a simple bio page so that we can lay out our variable information in a grid throughout the page. Let's jump right in. I have opened the company bio page example, and in this example you can see that I have variable information laid out here. One thing to note is that I'm using a single-page. Actually the multiple record layout. To use the multiple record layout here is only available if you're using a single page. If I were to create another page and I go into my merged document, Data Merge, and create merge document. Actually this multiple record layout is actually grayed out because I can't use it. The reason why is because what we're doing here is we're creating basically a base, a base grid or a base page to layout our information. This is what's going to be repeated. If I have any other information on this page, it will also be repeated. What we have to do is build up our base of what we want to have repeated. Let's say if you're doing a catalog with the information of a product and the QR code, all you want on that page is the product and the QR code. You want it to size accordingly so that you can lay out in a grid later. In this case, what I have is the name of the person, the title of the person, and their favorite animal. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to make a little bit of adjustments. Because when I was working with this, I found that if I were to go through this, some of my names are really long and they jumped to the next line. But I want to keep them within this framework here because I don't want them to expand past the grid that I've created or else there will be complications. If sometimes it goes out here and sometimes here, it'll actually mess with the grid that I'm making and I really don't want that. What I'm going to do is I'm going to make a simple adjustment and place the image at the top and the text underneath. Just like that. Give that a little bit of space and move that there. That's all I'm going to do for that. Now if I scroll through, you can see what it will look like. Cool. Now how do we make a multiple record layout? I've set it up in a grid, and the grid is going to start at this corner point here and it's going to either go from rows or from columns. We can decide how much space we want between them. Let us see how do we do that. Let's go to our Data Merge drop-down, create merged document. Now you can see we can choose multiple records, all records, and we can decide the formation of our design. Let's preview the multiple record layout to see what it looks like. Now you can see exactly what's going to happen. I can adjust the distance between the columns just like that. The distance between the rows, just like that. I want at least nine of them on the page, so I'm going to keep it like that. I want to stretch it out as far as it can go without canceling. If it goes outside the margins, it'll be pushed underneath so we don't want that. I'm going to reduce that just slightly and that should be good. It looks great. Now again, this is the base of your design. In order to utilize this grid system with all our information, we actually have to create a new InDesign file. In that InDesign file, we'll have all the information laid out and then we can format it a little bit to create a simple bio page. Let's go okay. You can see here at the bottom before we hit Okay. You can see here it's going to create page 1, page 2, and page 3. There will be three pages created. This is why when you're creating it, you don't want multiple pages, you're just having one page and it'll force more pages depending on how much information you have and hit Okay. There was no overset text and that's looking great. Now what I can do is I have three different pages here of information. I can decide to add or subtract pages at will. Now that this is a merged document, I'm going to create a new page. Actually I'm going to put it up at the top. Just like that. I'm going to format it a little bit and make this like a title page and these are going to be the bio pages. I'm going to open up my ID card, and I'm going to take some of the elements from this ID card and I'm going to bring it over to my bio page up here. I'm just going to use some of these elements. [MUSIC] Make a simple title page and now what I can do is in my pages, I can actually make a parent page. I can actually create a new parent page. I'm going to say this bio page. [NOISE] It's not going to be based on anything.I wanted to have two pages and I'm going to hit Okay. Now in this parent page, I'm going to paste in those graphics. [MUSIC] Now, I made a simple bio page. If I go to pages, and if I click into my bio page here. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to simply apply, click on these three pages and I'm going to apply parent pages. I'm going to apply parents B-Bio to. Now what's going to happen is it's going to apply that simple bio page onto all of these designs. Now, if I hit Preview, you can see that I made a simple bio page with all my information, all my characters. If I wanted to, I can go into this page and I can add some text of some kind as information about the practical graphic design team or something like that. Yeah, but that's pretty much it. You can lay out your information and like this and you can use this for multiple different things. You can make an inventory list of items with all their QR codes and the images and the descriptions. The descriptions, and the information that you put in your Excel spreadsheet can be quite elaborate. You can put whole paragraphs if you wanted to and change that information so it can be more of a directory. Really the potential of the data merge function in Adobe InDesign is incredible. You can do so much with it and we're just scratching the surface. But now that you have an understanding of how you can utilize the different parts of the data merge function in InDesign, really, there's so much that you can do. I definitely want you to play around with it, explore the possibilities of it, and create something new, something different from it. I really want to see what you guys create. I'll see you in the next class. 12. Final Project and Recap: [MUSIC] I really look forward to seeing what you guys create. Throughout this class, we've learned many things. We have learned how to you use variable information with the data merge tool. We've learned how to use images within our variable information, as well as how to apply QR codes. Throughout this class, we've learned how to address certain issues like overset text, as well as how to format our images into the correct size. We've also learned how to create a multiple-record layout to display a simple bio page. All these things can be applied in so many different ways and I look forward to seeing what you guys do with it. For your class project, please submit whatever you guys create, whether it's a simple business card, ID card, or a lookbook, or if you applied it in a different way. If you have your own business card, try applying the variable information to that. Try creating something new and different. You can also export all your information as PNGs and then use that in your multiple record layout and display it in the project panel. I really look forward to seeing everything you guys create and I'll see you in the next class. 13. Thank you!: [MUSIC] I want to thank you so much for taking this class. I hope you can apply what you've learned in your own work and even in your day to day life. There are so many uses for this tool in design and now you have a foundation and understanding that will allow you to tackle bigger projects and save yourself so much time. I really encourage you to create your own class project and share it here on Skillshare. You can take what I've provided in the project resources and change the colors, the text, the images and design something unique to you. Then export your work and upload it in the project panel. I can't wait to see what you create. I really hope you were able to learn something through this class. However, I know that I'm lacking and I may not have explained something as best as I could have, so if you have any questions regarding anything taught in the class, please reach out in the Discussions panel and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. I would love to hear what you thought of the class. After the class, please consider leaving a short review. Let other students know what you liked most so that they can be encouraged to learn as well. I'm always looking forward to create more classes for you here on Skillshare. If you'd like to be notified when a new class launches, definitely follow me here on Skillshare. If you want to learn more about graphic design and continue your creative journey, definitely check out some of my other classes here on Skillshare. Thanks again. I really look forward to traveling with you along your creative journey. See you next time. [MUSIC]