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Automate copy-paste job

The are many times when one is required to do data entry types of work while designing. In terms of Adobe, “Graphic design is a field characterized by creativity, but there are some aspects of the actual work of illustration that can be repetitious.” – Adobe Help Viewer

Lets take an example. You have created an Membership Card design for a club. And you also have to get it printed. Designing the card is the easy part. The most time consuming and boring part comes when you are required to add data for 200 employees. And then get those cards file ready for print.

So, which software to be used for designing the card? I say, use any – Adobe Illustration or Adobe InDesign. The file format needed for printing would be .tiff, .pdf or maybe .eps.

Lets get started.

You can automate your work in Illustrator as well as InDesign. In Illustrator it is done using the Variables Palate, under Windows Menu. You can find more details about the same over here. Using XML in Illustrator CS3.

But personally, I find InDesign best for such kinda work. But I will leave it up to you to decide.

Here is the card design opened in Illustrator. As you see, there are data fields for Name, Place, Valid Upto and Serial Number.


and here is the excel file which I have received from the client.


Now all I need is to get the print files ready in .tiff, or .eps format

  1. Save the Illustrator file in eps format and place the eps file into InDesign.
  2. Save the excel file in “Tab Delimited Text (.txt)” format.
  3. Set the Indesign document size same as that of the card.
  4. Open: Windows > Automate > Data Merge Palate.
  5. Select ” Select Data Source ” option from the Data Merge palate, and select the .txt file you made in step 2.
  6. Now make text frames besides every data field.
  7. Once all the four text frames are made, select the text frame for “Name” and Click on the “Name” section in the Data Merge Menu. Similarly repeat for all the remaining text field and you should have something like this.
  8. We have linked the data from the txt file to our card design. Now, just format the text frames as per the design needs and then check on the preview button on the Data Merge Palate and you will be able to see the data.
  9. Now, click on the ” Create Merged Document ” button on the Data Merge Palate (last button from right)
  10. Read the options, you might find it helpful for other jobs, and then click ok.
  11. What this will do is make a new document, with all the cards (20 nos.) in pages.
  12. Now just export the card in the format needed.


  • InDesign does not export in tiff, what you can do is, export the files as jpeg and make an action in Photoshop to make then CMYK and save as .tiff.
  • This method can be used for automating many things like Visiting Cards, Certificates, Banners and even ID Cards and it also supports photo.

Well then that would be it. If you have any queries please leave a comment here and I will reply at the earliest.

a Designer. a Student. a Son. a Brother. a Friend… Working as a Designer, my typical day goes all about designing. I work on Print Designs which include ads, brochures, posters, and more. I also work for Web, its not as much as compared to Print, creating webpage layouts, banners and playing with HTML and PHP sometimes.


  1. KrisBelucci · June 2, 2009 Reply

    Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

  2. Peter · October 17, 2009 Reply

    Thanks Pratik. This really helped our company. =)

  3. matt · December 12, 2009 Reply

    Wow thanks. I was looking for a script and didn’t realize InDesign could already do this – saved me a few hours of work!

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