Tagged Container Publishing with Automator



How It Works

The technique of tagged container publishing relies on a unique identifier existing in both the data sources and the target layout template. The unique identifer can be a product SKU number, a customer number, an address, or even a name, as long as it is unique to the each entry record in the source database files.

In the FileMaker Pro database, a field is created that contains data that is unique to each record. The contents of this cell is refered to as a "unique indentifer":



To enable the automation of extracting and placing image and text data into a layout, text and graphic frames in an Abode InDesign CS template are tagged with a unique identifier found in one of the records of the source database. The InDesign page items are tagged by using the Script Label palette to enter a tag for the selected items:



Once a template has been tagged, Automator actions can be run that performs the following steps:
  1. The action asks InDesign for a list of references to the text and graphic frames in the open template that have a tag assigned to them.
     
  2. The action then iterates the returned list and extracts the tag for each page item in the list of found page items.
     
  3. If a page item is a text frame, the action uses the extracted tag to locate a record in the FileMaker Pro database whose unique identifer cell contains the extracted tag.
     
  4. The action then extracts the contents of the record cells chosen by the user in the action view, and inserts their data into the targeted text frame in the InDesign template. The inserted text is then formatted using any stylesheet chosen by the user.
     
  5. If a page item is a graphic frame, the action uses its tag to locate a record in the FileMaker Pro database whose unique identifer cell contains the extracted tag.
     
  6. The action gets the path to the image file from the uer chosen picture cell in the matching FileMaker Pro record, then imports the image into the target graphic frame and sizes the image to fit the frame appropriately.
This process is repeated until all the tagged page items have been filled.