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Hi guys, I have been using affinity to make small flyers or brochures, so I have basic knowledge on affinity. Right now I need to do a catalog with around 500 products, and every week are coming new products. So it is quite important that images stays linked or pinned on the right text with the right sizes; and the tittles change of page correctly.

I have already prepared a style text, pinning images and forms.

What would be the best practice? Where could I found like a small guide for catalogs.

At the moment when I added a new product sometimes the image scale change, Dont know why and this take me a lot of time to correct again and I need to move manually the tittles that fit with the products.

 

Thanks a lot!!

Catalogue.PNG

Product.PNG

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What you have there looks quite well thought through; Especially pinning the images is a good idea. If I see this correctly, you can simply add new products by hitting enter anywhere and start typing the new products name with the according text style, thus moving everything that follows one frame / page up.

When you say that sometimes the image scale changes, are you referring to existing images or to the new product image not being placed in the correct size? The second one can be corrected by setting up one image frame with the correct settings and then saving it as "Asset"; Alternatively you can copy an existing image frame rather than creating a new one and replace the existing picture?

There is also a "Data Merge" feature which could help you populating your catalogue from a spreadsheet -- either just the first time, or, in case prodcut data changes regularly, it might even be easier to re-create the catalogue every few weeks rather than chaning it manually -- take a look at this tutorial to get an idea on how it works:
https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/tutorials/publisher/desktop/video/494072789/

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35 minutes ago, Jens Krebs said:

When you say that sometimes the image scale changes, are you referring to existing images or to the new product image not being placed in the correct size? 

Thanks a lot for the fast help!!!

Yes, Sometimes it happens that the line next to the image and the picture frame change the size, then I need to correct it manually.

Do you know what could be?

Size.PNG.b38a31b931b7d14767c1f49e695ada98.PNG

Quote

There is also a "Data Merge" feature which could help you populating your catalogue from a spreadsheet

Yes I thought the same to use it. But unfortunately, all the texts are different in long, and sometimes they have different types of  text, like with bullets, or some parts are with bold letters. 

448578138_ExcelMerge.PNG.30dc69d47afa3e3cfe85241102fba67d.PNG 

 

Thank you so much.

Size2.PNG

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You did not tell whether the Picture Frame Property is changed where a placed image gets scaled differently. It might depend on your workflow, for instance by creating a new Picture Frame manually versus using a master page Picture Frame. You can save a Picture Frame as application Defaults (menu Edit > Defaults > Synchronize > Save) to maintain its Properties; unfortunately this will not affect images which get converted to Picture Frames via menu command.

Data Merge would be indeed attractive here for 500 pages, so you might consider to alter the layout for more consistent text positions. Currently not all products use the subline "Technische Eigenschaften" though they mention those, also the description text varies between products. This could cause unexpected results with Data Merge but can get fixed with layout adaption, especially since every product has the same layout area dimensions.

The mixture of 1 column (description text) and 3 column layout (data) appears a bit confusing, so it took me a while to understand when I need to read from left to the far right and when in columns. I probably would use columns only, with the description in the first column. It could speed up the workflow, in particular if all subheads for every product would appear at the same position, possibly leaving gaps above or below when no or less text occurs. This means, subheads could be placed in separate text frames, both if on a master page or if Data Merge gets used. This also would reduce the need to switch text styles (regardless whether you have defined them with the "Next Style" option).

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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18 minutes ago, AndresHoll said:

unfortunately, all the texts are different in long, and sometimes they have different types of  text, like with bullets, or some parts are with bold letters. 

Ah, indeed tricky. I haven't seen your second post with more layout variations before sending mine.

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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17 minutes ago, anto said:

As for me, better is way to create catalog with Data merge.

I am really thinking to do it like this. There is something that really block me, and it is the index. The client want that every SKU or Article number appears in the index at the end of the catalog with the page number, as well as every single product.

Is it possible to do that with Data Merge??

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7 minutes ago, anto said:

I do not understand what this means. Could you send example?

I mean, like a kind of table content with the article number and the page where it is. I will check this because if this is possible I will do data merge.

 

Thanks a lot for your help!!

index.PNG

index2.PNG

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27 minutes ago, anto said:

I never created index after Data merge. I think that it is possible to create another data merge with data that you need for index.

You would need to insert Index Marks in order to have an Index. I think that will require manual action, after the Data Merge, for each item.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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It looks as if the line height is derermined somehow by the image size -- if you set the lines seperately (as lines, not frame borders) on your master page, they should fit.

You also need to find a way to position the images centered in the image frame, but not resize the image frame to the content -- should not be too big a job if you set the image frame properties.

Index: Assign an individual text / character style to the products numbers and use "Tanle of Contents" instead of Index.

I'm currently out but happy to take a look at the images frames tonight if you upload the open Publisher file of one page of the catalogue (don't worry about including the images, linked with image previews is fine) and see what the exact issue is.

 

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1 hour ago, walt.farrell said:

You would need to insert Index Marks in order to have an Index. I think that will require manual action, after the Data Merge, for each item.

Just guessing / not really experienced with Index & TOC:

If the numbers would get a text style of their own could they get used to create a TOC which then may get used as index?
Also, is there any way to automate index mark creation? Maybe before import into APub? At least their pattern (x digits) could be used for a GREP search …

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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2 hours ago, AndresHoll said:

The client want that every SKU or Article number appears in the index at the end of the catalog with the page number, as well as every single product.

Do I understand correctly that your client wants the entry to read;

Medical Blue ... H000361  H000362         Page x  

721342097_ScreenShot2022-07-08at7_12_57AM.png.367f6a49135d7c7bd8b0c4ddd2c868a7.png

If yes then you would need to generate (in the Database or Spreadsheet) a field called Product Name and SKU numbers and then include this using a Paragraph style and or a Character style with no colour for the font colour (and a tiny type size). Then you would put your index marks in those (invisible) fields after merging. Not sure if you can put an index mark in the field before merging.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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45 minutes ago, Jens Krebs said:

Index: Assign an individual text / character style to the products numbers and use "Tanle of Contents" instead of Index.

43 minutes ago, thomaso said:

If the numbers would get a text style of their own could they get used to create a TOC which then may get used as index?

Though I have also suggested using a TOC as an Index in some cases, I do not think it would work here. Note that in the screenshots already posted the catalog will have some items on multiple pages. That is an Index function that is not supported in a TOC, as TOC entries have a single page number.

45 minutes ago, thomaso said:

Also, is there any way to automate index mark creation? Maybe before import into APub? At least their pattern (x digits) could be used for a GREP search …

As far as I know, no, there isn't a way to do that. And I think that even if you could automate creation of the Index Marks, you wouldn't be able to automate creation of the rest of the information associated with the Index entry (entry name, parent, etc.) that occurs via a popup when you add an Index Mark manually.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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21 minutes ago, Old Bruce said:

Do I understand correctly that your client wants the entry to read;

See last screenshot: article name & number aren't in one string (line) but each separated.

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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7 minutes ago, thomaso said:

See last screenshot: article name & number aren't in one string (line) but each separated.

Hence the need to make a new Column in the spreadsheet that would combine them. Then include that field )using invisible ink Characters) in the merging.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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Depending on how you have the source data, it might be worth a try to create the text parts as rich text (basically a Word document) and have there tab separated sub tables, then use a paragraph break to separate the products (or if paragraph breaks are needed within products, mark the separating paragraph, e.g. first or last paragraph within a product with a separate paragraph style). This would allow using Word concordance list to autogenerate index marks, which Affinity Publisher can import. This would allow automatic creation of e.g. Product code based indexes within Publisher.

Since the catalogue tables have identical dimensions for products, it would be possible to create a master page based grid of four frames (with border formatting) to simulate tables, and then flow the simple paragraph break/style separated products and have them autoflow using frame breaks defined for paragraphs/specific breaking paragraph styles. 

A separate data-merge based document could then be created for images and create a merge of picture boxes separated by paragraph breaks that could be auto-flown identically in a parallel grid of frames in one go.

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7 hours ago, AndresHoll said:

I need to do a catalog with around 500 products, and every week are coming new products.

Odds are that there is a Database that the client has. Or should have. And that is going to be used to generate a report or CSV or text file for AndresHoll to use. This is a perfect use case for Data Merge in Publisher. I think any other way of doing this is going to be making far more work each week when the catalog needs to be updated. Make a template and just generate this week's catalogue by using the new CSV file.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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10 hours ago, Old Bruce said:

Do I understand correctly that your client wants the entry to read;

Medical Blue ... H000361  H000362         Page x

The screen shot shows that the index contains only "product name  Page x" and SEPERATELY "product number  Page X", so clients can look up EITHER the name or the number and find the page the product is on. In your case, @Old Bruce, the index won't work, but it would work to create something as shown in @AndresHolls screenshot.

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On 7/9/2022 at 2:43 AM, Jens Krebs said:

The screen shot shows that the index contains only "product name  Page x" and SEPERATELY "product number  Page X", so clients can look up EITHER the name or the number and find the page the product is on. In your case, @Old Bruce, the index won't work, but it would work to create something as shown in @AndresHolls screenshot.

On 7/8/2022 at 2:25 PM, walt.farrell said:

You would need to insert Index Marks in order to have an Index. I think that will require manual action, after the Data Merge, for each item.

I started today doing some test, and definitely I need to insert every Index Mark manually IF I do it with Data Merge. It has around 500 products, so it will take a long time to index every time I need to update the catalog. 

 

On 7/8/2022 at 11:42 AM, Jens Krebs said:

The second one can be corrected by setting up one image frame with the correct settings and then saving it as "Asset"

As you said, I didn't know this option, but I am going to use "Assets", to manage the layout and be sure that always is the same design.

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Here's a demo of what I had in mind:

catalogue.afpub

CatalogueBody.docx

images.docx

The major point is having master-page defined frames for autoflowing both text and images as separate flows.

The Word document that is the source of the text could well be plain text (produced e.g. from a database) but just tagged with simple style tags that can be searched and replaced with paragraph formats that have already been defined in Publisher. Or you could apply formatting already in Word (LibreOffice Writer, etc.) and use macros / scripting capabilities of word processing app.

The images, however, have been produced by using the Data Merge feature of Publisher and an Excel sheet that has paths defined. The images are fetched into Picture Frame controls that handle fitting and sizing, and then the merged PDF document is exported to Word document so that the images are in one continuous text flow that can be imported into Publisher and auto-flown in one go.

In Word, index marks are created. This can be fully automated if you have order numbers in a separate file (Word matches the found items in the product catalogue and automatically marks all found occurrences with Index marks), and these are imported by Publisher. The last page shows an Index that is created based on imported index marks.

 

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@lacerto While this is great (I almost want to say ingenious), it feels a bit over-engineered in this case (500 products, appx. 100 pages) -- I almost think it would be better to data merge only once (maybe even just import tagged text?) and later add changes manually.

The document and text flow are set up in a way that makes this relatively simple to manage as far as the screenshots can tell.

Anyways, lets see what route @AndresHoll wants to go down.

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50 minutes ago, Jens Krebs said:

it feels a bit over-engineered in this case (500 products, appx. 100 pages)

I guess it depends much on the need to create indexes. And need to run e.g. price or other product related updates (in which case you'd most probably also need to re-import the text and also re-index). One possible route could be creating everything in using Data Merge but copy paste text to Word for automatic index creation. But something would most probably be lost when taking the body text back to Word via Clipboard (and you'd need to re-import from a Word document because the Clipboard does not support indexes).

UPDATE. I suppose it is not possible in Publisher to create automatically a hyperlink from a page number reference in the index, and the referred page, which would make it possible to create indexes as a separate "fake" job, which would work in case each product really takes the same size. The product codes could then be created in a separate Word document that just has frame and page breaks coded so that they match the actual product catalogue (so that product codes appear on the same pages that they reside in the actual catalogue). Then the index could be created either directly in Word and then imported to Publisher or the fake text imported in Publisher as a separate publication for index creation and then use that in the actual publication.

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2 hours ago, lacerto said:

The Word document that is the source of the text could well be plain text (produced e.g. from a database) but just tagged with simple style tags that can be searched and replaced with paragraph formats that have already been defined in Publisher. Or you could apply formatting already in Word (LibreOffice Writer, etc.) and use macros / scripting capabilities of word processing app.

The images, however, have been produced by using the Data Merge feature of Publisher and an Excel sheet that has paths defined. The images are fetched into Picture Frame controls that handle fitting and sizing, and then the merged PDF document is exported to Word document so that the images are in one continuous text flow that can be imported into Publisher and auto-flown in one go.

In Word, index marks are created. This can be fully automated if you have order numbers in a separate file (Word matches the found items in the product catalogue and automatically marks all found occurrences with Index marks), and these are imported by Publisher. The last page shows an Index that is created based on imported index marks.

This is a great idea, really great ... but how can you manage page breaks? or Heading 1 or 2?

And some Heading have different colors as  you can see in the picture.

Text.png.d807913d1f905d2d6d8a37308c10d20e.png

2 hours ago, Jens Krebs said:

@lacerto  I almost think it would be better to data merge only once (maybe even just import tagged text?) and later add changes manually.

I start thinking would be the best option. I Just need to have an excel List with the article number and with the current price, just to verify prices  and products for the next update.

Edited by AndresHoll
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2 hours ago, AndresHoll said:

This is a great idea, really great ... but how can you manage page breaks? or Heading 1 or 2?

 

You can define breaks as part of a paragraph style, so a specific style that has a flow definition that causes page break, instead of a frame break, before.

As a general note: if the product catalog really has a strict 4-per-page structure, you could basically determine the page number that a specific product will be associated with in the final catalogue by using simple calculations. That would allow you to create indexes purely programmatically (using e.g. an Excel sheet calculation), without needing to add index marks and use the index feature, at all. This would allow you to have all required data on a single Excel sheet, which could be fairly easily produced from within a database that most probably is the basis of this product catalogue. The kind of Word-based use of automated index marking would be more suitable in a job where it is not possible to determine the locations the items to be indexed will have in the final layout.

UPDATE: (As shown by @anto above -- I was cross-posting...)

If formatting applied to data filed place holders within a merge document is not enough for formatting, you could easily add your own formatting tags in the Excel sheet to handle local formatting.

UPDATE2: One thing that could cause some problems in a data-merge based layout might be the irregularity that there exists within the product descriptions. This might require kind of tag based coding within product description fields so that the fields can grow as required as one style coded text block, which is formatted after having been merged by using search-replace based style formatting, rather than tried to be formatted "in place" by using multiple field markers. Which solution works best depends much on how irregular the description data is.

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On 7/8/2022 at 2:59 PM, AndresHoll said:

I mean, like a kind of table content with the article number and the page where it is. I will check this because if this is possible I will do data merge.

I think the method the job needs to be done comes really down to the features these indexes need to have. If there is need to have an automatic link from the page number references within the index to the actual page numbers in the catalogue, I guess that there are no other alternatives than creating the indexes in Word.

These kinds of indexes can be automarked in Word on a click, and then import text with index marks in Publisher to create an Index with autolinked page number references (I was not sure if autolinking was supported in Pubisher, but it is):

APub_Index.pdf

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