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Third Party Solutions for Data Publishing

Yes, InDesign can be used for creating data-driven publications, such as catalogs, advertising circulars, directories, and more. But that doesn’t mean that you can do it with only InDesign. InDesign’s built-in Data Merge feature is nice, but it is very limited. So when it comes to complicated data publishing, you often need to rely on a third-party tool — often a plug-in (or add-on, or whatever you want to call it).

I recorded a title on Data Merge (and it’s pros and cons) for / Linked In Learning, and included a movie about just a few of the other third-party options available to you… which you can watch here:

Automated database publishing from InDesign: Data Merge and Database Publishing by David Blatner

Please note that there’s a typo in the slides I show in this movie… the “custom solutions” company is (the slide is missing one “o”… oops).

By the way, another great solution is to simply hire someone else to do the database publishing project. For example, I was impressed by the folks at, a company that takes your design and your data and makes it all happen.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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2 Comments on “Third Party Solutions for Data Publishing

  1. And don’t forget to check out CatBase! It offers data publishing solutions with many user-customisable features. For example, you can create Rules to determine what data to include or omit; how to format it; and so on. (For example: IF it’s a New product, set the product name in a different style).

  2. Does anyone know about reverse data publishing from InDesign to Excel in the similar manner. i.e. exporting the text having specific style in a pre-formatted Excel template with specified Cell(s)/Row(s)/Column(s).

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