Technical features

EasyCatalog is a tremendously flexible plug-in, which allows you to layout catalogs fully automatically, semi-automatically or, for cases that require precise position and layout control of each element, manually assisted. No more time wasted on repetitive tasks: invest your resources in improving the quality of your catalogs or print them in multiple languages; EasyCatalog will take care of the hard work. And by linking your designs directly to the source of your data, you can say goodbye to copy and paste errors once and for all.

Import data from any source

An Excel document, a comma-separated text file, an ODBC database, an XML file, Catalog Cloud…

Import data from a source as simple and universal as a text file – for example, a price list created in Microsoft Excel or a comma-delimited text file – or directly from any ODBC-compliant database, such as FileMaker Pro, Microsoft Access, MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server. EasyCatalog supports Excel workbooks, and you can import individual sheets, all at once, or even a range of rows within a single spreadsheet. And if you want to store your data in the cloud, you’re in luck: EasyCatalog connects bi-directionally with Catalog Cloud.

Manage and format your data

Whatever the original format of your data, EasyCatalog can manipulate and transform it to suit your design.

Data is displayed in a spreadsheet-like panel within InDesign, allowing you to edit formatting, sort, group and query data without having to leave the application. No need to go back to the data source to do something as simple as sorting or querying your data: you can manipulate the data to display only the records you want to work with and in the order that suits you best. Perform complex mathematical operations, apply formulas or conditions… it’s all possible with EasyCatalog‘s powerful data panel.

Maintain a link to the original data

EasyCatalog keeps the connection to your data source “alive”, so that any changes to your data will automatically be reflected in your InDesign document

Link your data to an InDesign document – you can import text and images by simply pushing a button. The link established is bidirectional, so changes made to the data in the InDesign document can be sent back to the original data source. By creating a link from the database to your InDesign document, you can be sure that your document will always contain the most current information – ideal for publications where the source information is frequently changed throughout the layout process.

The link is bidirectional, so you can make corrections directly in InDesign and update the database to ensure that the error will not reappear in the future.

Dynamic libraries and document templates

EasyCatalog can use library elements, master pages or a combination of both, to automate your documents.

See how InDesign libraries come to life with EasyCatalog! By including field specifiers – placeholders that tell EasyCatalog how and where to insert the contents of a field – in your library item layouts, library items are automatically populated with data – in real time – when they are dragged onto the page.

Composing complex page layouts, with text and images from your data source, is as quick and simple as selecting one or more records in the EasyCatalog panel and dragging library items into the document.

If your data has changed in the last minute, EasyCatalog can automatically update the document – or all documents contained in an InDesign book.
Any formatting you have applied will be maintained as far as possible.

Insert tabular data

Creating tables, however complex their structure, has never been easier.

Use the EasyCatalog data panel to define the order of rows and columns, and press the insert button. A new InDesign table will be inserted into the document, with the data linked to the source document.

EasyCatalog is designed to save time; once you have inserted a table and see how easily it populates with your data, there is no going back. If you apply a number of layout attributes to rows and cells, such as fills, styles, and fillets, EasyCatalog will automatically expand or collapse your table to accommodate the data, maintaining the original layout as much as possible.

Error Checking

Detect any changes to the document data from the source and update it automatically.

EasyCatalog can check the integrity of your documents to ensure that the document content matches the data source.
Reduce costly errors by automatically checking the document; EasyCatalog will highlight fields in the document and in the panel whose content does not match the original data.

Add more features

EasyCatalog Modules

EasyCatalog is able to import data from a comma-separated text file or directly from an Excel document. However, if your data is stored in any other format or in a database, optional import modules are available. There are also 3 other modules that increase the program’s functionality, allowing you to work with multiple data sources simultaneously, or to automate even more complex workflows by using custom scripts.

Enterprise Data provider

This module allows you to connect EasyCatalog to cloud databases, such as Sales Layer or Woodwing Enterprise.

If your data resides in a database hosted in the cloud, you should use this module. The connection is bidirectional, so data that is modified in the InDesign document can be updated in the database with a single mouse click, to ensure maximum consistency of your data between different channels.

ODBC Data Provider

Establish a direct connection to any ODBC-compliant database, such as MySQL, SQL Server, FileMaker or Oracle.

The link established through an ODBC connection is bidirectional, allowing you to send any modifications made to the InDesign document to the database, ensuring complete synchronization of content between the different sales channels. It is ideal for workflows where the database is frequently updated.

Pagination

Put thousands of records at the click of a button

This module will allow you to “page” your records in an InDesign document as a continuous text stream in which each dataset will be an anchored object (or as text, if no images or more complex structures exist). The position of each element can be determined in the data source itself: page number, X and Y position, order, and so on. If you prefer, you can create a master page with placeholders into which the records will be inserted according to a preset order.

Relational

Work with more than one data source simultaneously.

For more complex environments, you can combine data from more than one data source, which can be hierarchically related in a single panel within InDesign. Used in conjunction with the Pagination module, you can compose and paginate information of virtually any complexity, such as products with multiple sets of properties.

Scripting

Get the most out of EasyCatalog with JavaScript, AppleScript or Visual Basic

Access all EasyCatalog functions on any platform using the JavaScript language. If you prefer, you can use AppleScript on the Macintosh platform or Visual Basic on Windows.
This is the ideal solution for advanced users or system technicians who need to integrate EasyCatalog into a workflow. The Scripting module offers a complete dictionary of commands to control or obtain information from EasyCatalog.

XML Data Provider

Import information to EasyCatalog from an XML file

EasyCatalog is able to directly import the information contained in an XML file with this optional module. The link established is bidirectional, so that any change in the information made from InDesign can be updated in the original XML document.

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