Episode 18: Data Merge to Uniquely Named INTERACTIVE PDFs

Episode 18: Data Merge to Uniquely Named INTERACTIVE PDFs


G’day, welcome back to Colecandoo. In today’s episode, we’ll have a look at ways
to Data Merge to uniquely named interactive PDFs. I’ll show a few methods, but the first method
uses the Data Merge to Single Records script that I released in 2015. I’ve shown this script on this channel before,
so let’s look at this method first. Here I have an InDesign file that is a survey
for a package tour company. It contains form elements such as checkboxes,
radio buttons, a combo box, text box, and a submit button. It is also a Data Merge document, and contains
two text fields within the first paragraph. I’ll demonstrate the script in action. I select a location on my hard drive to save
the files, and I would like interactive PDFs. However, as I click on the PDF export preset
dropdown, I notice that I don’t have an option for interactive PDF. Why is this? Well, to demonstrate, I need to close out
of the script. The way the script works is to call upon the
two ways that Data Merge can normally be exported – to a newly merged InDesign file, or to PDF. In the create merged document panel, there’s
no option to select an interactive PDF, only the general merge options that are available
to both methods of merging. So I’ll select my records and go OK. I’m then presented with the export Adobe PDF
dialog box, but notice that certain items are greyed out, namely the page range, spreads
radio button, and checkboxes for creating tagged PDFs, creating Adobe Acrobat layers,
and hyperlinks. The other detail to notice is that this Export
Adobe PDF dialog box is for printing, not interactive. That dialog box is much different to this
one, so let’s look at that. So this dialog box is much different. I have options to include forms and media, as well as page transitions, but I’ve lost my ability to control colour outputs, add
prepress marks, and most importantly I can’t save my options as a setting, so if I need
to make a slightly different interactive PDF export, I can’t load it as a setting but instead
have to change this dialog box. The good news is that this dialog keeps the
last used options in the dialog. So, whether using my script or not, Data Merge
exports either to InDesign files or it’s own flavour of PDF that is neither print nor interactive. But at the start of the video, I said I was
going to demonstrate how to merge to interactive PDFs, so how are we going to do it using this
script? Well, we’re still going to use my script,
but we have to merge to InDesign files first. For the sake of the demo, I’m just going to
do ten records, we don’t want to sit here through one thousand records. I’ll then close the InDesign file and run
another script, namely batch convert. This script is an amazing utility created
by Peter Kahrel. It takes a folder of InDesign files and can
convert them to a variety of formats, including – for our purposes – interactive PDF. I’ll point the script to the folder of InDesign
files I’ve just made, point them to a folder where I want the PDFs
to export, the source format will be InDesign, the target
format will be PDF interactive, and then run the script. So the script has now run, and if I open one
of these PDFs in Acrobat, it’s obvious that the PDF is interactive, as I can click on
the checkboxes, can click on the radio buttons, the combo box, the text box, and I can click the submit button. So that’s worked. So that was the first method. The second method is identical to the first
method in that the files are initially merged to InDesign files, and again we’re using the
batch convert script. The difference is that rather than merging
to PDF interactive, we’ll merge to Adobe InDesign. At the bottom of the script, there’s an option
to run a script by clicking a checkbox. From here, I’m going to choose a script I’ve
written for this express purpose. It will create interactive PDFs with the same
names as the InDesign files, but will save them to a folder called “interactive pdfs”
on my desktop. Click OK, and let that run. So, that’s the second method. The third method demonstrates a sneak-peek
at the Pro version of the Data Merge to Unique Names script. The interface doesn’t look too much different
to before, with one exception – the option to run a script during the export. Let’s choose a location to save our files, export to InDesign, choose my script to run, which is the same
script as before but this time I’m going to choose
some different records So we can see it’s put them in the same location,
and if I click on one, again, it’s interactive. The last method demonstrates a sneak-peek
at another alternate version of the Data Merge to Unique Names script. Unlike the other methods shown, this is by
far the most direct. It looks similar to the previous scripts,
with one exception – the addition of the PDF (interactive) as an option. But this time, I can choose wherever I want
to save them to, and in this case I’m going to make a new folder for them. Make sure that I choose PDF (interactive), make our filename, and choose a different record range. and we’re done. So this is the folder that was just created. And here are my PDFs. Once again, it’s interactive. One thing I have noticed is the text in the
dropdown field doesn’t suit the formatting of the survey. In InDesign, I can’t control the formatting
of form fields except for the point size. But, I can run an action in Adobe Acrobat. I have an action here that will work on this
file, or a folder of files… that will convert the font in the textbox
and the combobox to Helvetica and make them ten point. And it’s done it. So there you have it. Four ways to create uniquely named interactive
PDFs from Adobe InDesign. The export to interactive PDF module script
and the Acrobat sequence to correct text and combo fields are available from Colecandoo. If you’re interested in the upgraded versions
of the Data Merge to Unique Names scripts shown in this video, they will be made available
for purchase by contacting me directly through Colecandoo.com That’s it for another video. If you got something out of this video, show
me by hitting the like button, and subscribe for more great videos. Check out Colecandoo or InDesignSecrets for
the latest articles, or tweet me @colecandoo. Until next time, I’ll see you later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *