What’s New In 2020

Here’s a list of the major new features in the 2020 version of EasyCatalog: Live URL Links Enables the direct link of URL based images within an InDesign 2020 document. If the original image changes size, the link can be refreshed to ensure the InDesign document includes the latest version. This is available as the …

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How Does Licensing Work with Creative Cloud Versions?

When purchasing a license for EasyCatalog you’re purchasing for a specific version of InDesign — e.g. InDesign CC 2018, InDesign CC 2019. With all new licenses you receive twelve months complimentary maintenance; if purchasing an upgrade you receive six months complimentary maintenance. So, if Adobe release another version during this maintenance period the upgrade will …

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EasyCatalog in Japanese

We have localised EasyCatalog into Japanese. This is included in the standard version which can be downloaded from our Website. For local support please contact or reseller: http://www.vpj.co.jp/product/easycatalog/index.html/

How do a get an invoice?

For purchases made via our Webstore you can reprint the original invoice via our After-Purchase Services site 24 hours a day at https://fastspring.com/question-a-charge/. Just log on using the email address from the order and the order ID, and the option to print the invoice will appear on the next page after logging on.

Preprocessing Field Options

Allows content to be processed before any additional formatting is applied. Once processed other options such as cleansing, prefix, suffix are applied. Only fields with content are processed. This option should only be used on fields that do not update back to a data source, because there is no way of reversing the process.  Ensure …

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The Enhanced HTML Parser

The enhanced HTML parser cleanses the field HTML prior to processing. Any unbalanced are corrected and the entire field is enclosed with an implied <body> node. As a general rule any tag which matches the name of character or paragraph style will apply that style. Recognized Tags Specific tags and their attributes are recognised: Tag …

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Applying Table Cell Attributes

The Table->Cell Options dialog box includes the ability to Apply Cell Style Named In. This allows a field to be defined that contains the name of a cell style. In addition to this, the field content can be prefixed to apply a specific cell attribute: TINT: Apply a tint value to the cell SWATCH: Apply …

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Versions Panel

The Versions Panel aids the creation of multi-version content using InDesign Layers, typically for regionalised adverting or promotional material.  To use this functionality, data must contain a record for each version of a product. The related records need share common fields in order to identify them as a single ‘product’. Example Data page number position product version …

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EasyCatalog Product Activation

EasyCatalog uses online product activation to validate the serial numbers you have purchased. To activate EasyCatalog: Launch Adobe InDesign If you have unregistered modules, the “About EasyCatalog” dialog will automatically appear once InDesign has finished launching. For each of the serial numbers you received in your order confirmation email: Click the “Activate” button at the …

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Custom Data Providers

Overview Through optional modules EasyCatalog provides a number of data providers (ODBC, XML, Excel, CSV, Sqlite).  The Enterprise Data Provider also provides additional connections to a number of third party systems.  For connections to other systems, such as JSON or REST APIs, the Enterprise Data Provider enables the ability to create custom data providers. Creating …

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Custom Menus and Dialogs

Overview Lua scripts can be integrated with EasyCatalog to provide custom menus and dialog boxes. User Interface is provided by the the InDesign Scripting DOM, which offers dialog creation and control. Details on how to access this from Lua are here. Creating a Custom Menu Option Adding a custom menu option is a case of …

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Batch Scripted Custom Fields

Use this option when a custom field has no computed content, and the content is provided exclusively using a Lua script. This is a special type, designed to prevent the editing of raw content and restricting the user interface to applicable field options. Any existing field content is cleared before the script is executed to …

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EasyCatalog Demonstration Files

If you’re recently requested assistance from 65bit, you may have received a number of files that demonstrate how to configure EasyCatalog. Here’s a run-through of what you may have received and what you should do with them: Data Source Folder This is typically sent over as a zip file, so unzip it before going into …

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Removing EasyCatalog’s License File

Occasionally it may be necessary to remove EasyCatalog’s licensing information from your installation.  Once complete, EasyCatalog will need to be re-activated on this machine. EasyCatalog stores your license information in one or both of the following locations: Macintosh Inside of the InDesign Package Quit InDesign Right click on the InDesign application icon and use the …

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What is a Matrix Table?

A matrix table is a table that expands both horizontally and vertically. The amount of rows and columns is determined by the number of unique values in the specified fields. Matrix tables are generally ‘look up’ tables. In the following example, the two products are available in three ‘colours’, two ‘finishes’ (‘gloss’ and ‘matt’) and …

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Custom Reports

The custom report option allows provides a mechanism to inspect data source or document related information and output it in virtually any format.   LuaSocket support is enabled for custom reports, which can be exported in a variety of ways, such as files, posted via HTTP or shown in a browser. The pencil icon provides access …

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Custom Adoption

The Adopt Fields->Custom menu facilitates the development of custom scripts to manipulate individual links in the current document. The dialog displays the active documents links on the left, and the links after processing by the script. Pressing the Test button will execute the code for each link and present the results in the right hand column. …

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Advanced Preferences

The EasyCatalog preference panel provides access to Advanced preferences. Relaunch InDesign To Apply Any Changes. EasyCatalog Workspace Multi User Workspace Defines the the default setting when the preferences are rebuilt. Cache Formatted Data  When true, EasyCatalog stores the ‘formatted’ content of a field for quicker data source loading. When it’s false, the formatted content is rebuilt …

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The “ENV” Custom Field Command

The “ENV” custom field command can be used to determine environmental properties of EasyCatalog, such as the version of InDesign that’s running or the platform (Mac/Windows) that EasyCatalog is running on.

The “ENV” command takes a single parameter, which the name of the attribute you would like to retrieve:

Handling Nested HTML Tags in Formatted Fields

EasyCatalog attempts match the tag name to a character or paragraph stylesheet. In this example:

EasyCatalog attempts to apply a stylesheet called “ul” before performing the default behaviour. Since there is a nested <ul> inside a <li> tag, EasyCatalog attempts to apply a tag called “ul>ul” for a single level of nesting. For three …

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Creating a Calendar using LUA

This example code creates a calendar tabular field using data where each record is an event on a calendar. The data has fields contain the month and year.  GROUPSCRIPT is used to call the script for each month group. This data can then be paginated using Master based pagination.

 

Custom Image Import

For images that are sourced externally but are not URL or File based, the “Custom” option can be chosen in the picture location section of the field options. When this is set, EasyCatalog looks for a file called ‘CustomImageImport.jsx’ in the ‘Scripts’ folder of a data source. Here’s a simple example that displays the field …

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Specifying Defaults for the EasyCatalog Workspace Folder

Specifying defaults for the Workspace folder location The default location for your EasyCatalog workspace folder can be specified creating a preference file in your preferences folder, which on the Mac can be found at:

on Windows it can be found at (although it depends on the version of Windows):

The file should be …

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Using the Versions Panel

The Versions Panel aids the creation of multi-version content using InDesign Layers, typically for regionalised adverting or promotional material.  To use this functionality, data must contain a record for each version of a product. The related records need share common fields in order to identify them as a single ‘product’. Example Data page number position product version …

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Generate InDesign Based QR Codes

To Generate Web Hyperlink QR Codes:

Create an empty picture frame, then show the ‘Script Label’ panel (from the Window > Utilities menu). Change the ‘URL’ to be the name of the field containing the URL you want to link to.  Once you’ve entered that, you’ll need to click off the frame so that InDesign …

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Specifying Defaults For Data Providers

Defaults for data providers can be specified by creating a preference file in your preferences folder, which on the Mac can be found at:

on Windows it can be found at (although it depends on the version of Windows):

The file should be created using a text editor (such as Notepad or TextEdit) …

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Can I automatically rename an InDesign form field during pagination?

EasyCatalog can automatically rename form field items during pagination using a configuration specified using InDesign’s Script Label panel. Show the “Script Label” panel from the “Window > Utilities” menu Select the button form field in the document Paste the following into the “Script Label” panel

Deselect the form field in the document (deselecting ‘writes’ …

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Custom Relinking of Fields

The “Adopt Fields” method of relinking assumes field names and key field values are consistent between the existing links and the new data.  It was designed to link fields from one data source to another, and as such is limited to changing the key element of a link. In some circumstances it may be necessary …

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Date/Time Formatting Options

Full list of formatting codes, used in the input and output field options of a date/time field: %a Weekday as locale’s abbreviated name. Mon %A Weekday as locale’s full name. Monday %w Weekday as a decimal number, where 0 is Sunday and 6 is Saturday. 1 %d Day of the month as a zero-padded decimal …

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Matrix Tables

EasyCatalog provides the ability to a create a matrix table — a table that expands both horizontally and vertically, populating data at the intersection of each column and row. Matrix tables are defined using commands in an XML format, specified using the Script Label panel with the table selected. There are three required nodes in …

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Specifying a time-out value for URL-based operations

You need to include a preference file in your preferences folder, which on the Mac can be found at:

on Windows it can be found at (although it depends on the version of Windows):

The content of the file should be:

Working With Tabular Fields

Overview Fields can contain tabular data, where each cell is treated as an independent link.  Tabular field data can come from a number of sources, including delimited field content, other data sources, HTML, XML, or built from conditional logic. Example In this example the field “AttributeValues” contains the following XML snippet:

The first stage is configure the field as ‘Tabular’ …

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Accessing Guide Based Pagination Progress on InDesign Server

There is a script called “PaginationProgress.jsx” which you can place in the Data Sources “Scripts” folder. This is passed script arguments: “datasource”  : The Data Source Name “stepindex”  : Current Step Index “stepcount” :  Total Number of Steps “step message” : Related Message You can access them like this: var stepCount = Number(app.scriptArgs.getValue(“stepcount”));

EasyCatalog Server and Salsify

The Enterprise Data Provider supports direct connections to a Salsify Data Sources.  The normal login procedure uses OAuth based authentication, which uses a browser to login to Salsify. InDesign Server does not allow user interaction, so an alternative method method is supported where a static ‘access token‘ can be used as part of the data source …

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Configuring Cross Platform Picture Paths

Paths are represented differently on Macintosh and Windows machines.  This has an impact when working in a cross-platform environment as a picture import path configured on Macintosh would not work on Windows and vice-versa. To overcome this, a Custom Field command can be used to determine the platform that EasyCatalog is running on:

The …

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Moving EasyCatalog to a new machine

Moving EasyCatalog to a new machine involves two steps: moving the configuration of your data sources and your licenses. Configuration Your EasyCatalog data sources are stored in your EasyCatalog Workspace folder.  The workspace folder contains configuration information about each of the data sources, but by default it does not contain information about how each panel is …

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Sending a Crash Report

Occasionally, in the event of EasyCatalog crashing, we may ask you to send us a crash dump file.  The dump file contains information showing what EasyCatalog was doing when InDesign crashed and will assist us with the debugging process. Windows By default, Windows Error Reporting (WER) will not produce a crash dump so a change …

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Number formatting using custom fields

Custom field functions and field formatting options can be used to format numeric values in a variety of ways.  For example, here the data contains ‘value’ and ‘appearance’ is at it should be displayed: value appearance 636000 636,000 20000 20,000 1400000 1.4 Million 6200000 6.2 Million 473000000 473 Million 40000000 40 Million 45000000 45 Million …

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Advanced Computed Fields Commands

‘Computed Fields’ have additional commands that allow behaviour based on the position of the field within a document: TAGPAGENUMBER() – Returns the page number the tag is on, or -1 for the pasteboard TAGPAGEX() – Returns the X position of the tag in points. TAGPAGEY() – Returns the Y position of the tag in points. TAGSPREADX() -Returns the X …

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Replacing a Unicode code point using cleansing

Using the field options, the ‘cleansing’ edit area can be used to replace a specific unicode code point for another character. For example: REGEXV2:[\x{2028}]=^n; This replaces the hexadecimal code point 2028 with a soft return. In this specific case, the code ‘Numbers’ uses as a soft return.

Advanced Conditional Processing Using Lua

EasyCatalog supports an embedded version of the Lua programming language.  When text is processed, any commands between  delimiters [[ and ]] are processed using Lua. EasyCatalog supplements Lua with functions to make data access easier. For example:

In this example, if the contents of the ‘new’ field are equal to ‘1’ the text NEW! will be output. …

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Panel drawing on the Mac is slow after upgrading to Yosemite

The problem is actually InDesign drawing bold text in the user interface. The upgrade to Yosemite sometimes messes up the UI fonts used by InDesign. Launch your ‘Font Book’ application and look for Helvetica Nue. There should be a suggestion to fix problems relating to this font.

Using EasyCatalog to Create a Cross Table of XML Data

A common requirement is to construct a so-called Crosstab, in which multiple attributes are incorporated in a single table. For example, this data represents sets of trousers, with waist, length and price elements. XML Data:

The target layout involves a table with the distinct lengths horizontally, distinct waist sizes vertically and prices in each cell. This can …

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Computed Fields and Complex Tables

The movie below shows an XML Fragment being used to populate a series of fields and an entire table. The data sources is created with just two fields – one for the “Product ID” and one to contain the contents of the “ProductAttributes” node structure. XML Example:

Variations on the following “Computed Field” command are used …

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Get the name of the selected data source

While you can get the selected panel (DSV) object. To get the name of the data source, the parent object needs to accessed:

Setting pagination options via a script

The options shown on the “Paginate” dialog can all be set using the ‘setPaginationOption‘ scripting method which is available on the datasource object.  This method takes two parameters: the name of the option to set and the value to set it to.

The value used for the ‘name‘ parameter can be determined by examining …

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Specifying faces for the < b > and < i > HTML tags

Some fonts have a variety of bold and italic faces, so it’s not easy and sometimes impossible to figure out which to use in any given scenario. To overcome this there are a number of attributes that can be specified on the <i> and <b> tags, namely:

For Example:

When the tag is …

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Using tags to apply paragraph and character styles inside a field

When a field is flagged as “Formatted” using field options, EasyCatalog will try to match any HTML style tag to the name of either a paragraph or a character stylesheet and apply it. For example, in the following text:

If a paragraph style called “bullets” exists, this is applied automatically. The default behaviour of …

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Customizing the EasyCatalog Panel Flyout Menu

User-interface elements of EasyCatalog can be suppressed (disabled) or hidden using a “SuppressedUI.xml” file in the root of the EasyCatalog workspace folder. The XML file must be well-formed, with a single SuppressedUI element at the root. The root element can contain any number of SuppressedMenu and SuppressedAction elements. SuppressedMenu elements have a menuName attribute, which …

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Referencing a field in a CALLSCRIPT script

Here’s an example CALLSCRIPT script that references record data passed to it:

Using a post image import script to manipulate an image

After EasyCatalog imports an image, it looks for a script called “PostImageImport.jsx” in both the Data Source->Scripts folder and the EasyCatalog Workspace Folder->Scripts folder. This can be used to manipulate an image after import. The example below applies the DETECT EDGES clipping path setting:

Is it possible to rename a panel after it is created?

If by panel you mean ‘data source’, then yes. Close all your existing panels using the “Windows->EasyCatalog Panels->Close All” menu option. Then locate your ‘EasyCatalog Workspace Folder’ via the Reveal button in the InDesign->Preferences->EasyCatalog section. Then just rename the appropriate folder in there and open them from File->New->EasyCatalog Panel

I’ve just updated my Mavericks and am receiving a -2003 error when I try to activate

The latest Mavericks update has changed some system file permissions that can sometimes cause a -2003 error when activating the software. This affects the Macintosh version of EasyCatalog only, and the latest version that is now available from our downloads page should fix this issue. After installation re-enter your existing license codes to activate.

Do you have an example URL based XML data source?

Here’s a link to some sample XML data which can be loaded into the XML data provider: http://www.w3schools.com/xml/plant_catalog.xml

  Here are the data source configuration settings required to load this data:  

How do I populate a table using only a records key value

EasyCatalog can populate a table providing the table contains the key value of records in an associated data source. This is achieved using the ‘Auto Fill Tables’ keyboard shortcut. In this example, a table is populated using field names contained in the table header:

Registering the InDesign Server version of EasyCatalog

All versions To register a license, call the register method on the easycatalogObject:

InDesign Server 2020, or for serial numbers ending ‘-0000’: EasyCatalog will now check with our activation server to ensure that the license can be installed. For the majority of users, activation will be automatic.  For users with a firewall or proxy …

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What is a Custom Field?

A Custom Field is a field the exists in your EasyCatalog panel but not in the source data.  A custom field can be populated using one of our inbuilt functions, and are often used to manipulate the source data into a form more suitable for appearance on the page or to summarize group data. To …

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Is there any way to work with smaller sets of ODBC-based data?

ODBC Data Sources can be configured to accept parameters which are included as part of the data-retrieval SQL. Parameters should be placed in {{ braces }} for example:

This will create two parameters that user can change: “Name” and “No Of Records”.  Up to five can be specified. The values for these parameters will be …

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Does EasyCatalog support Unicode?

Yes, EasyCatalog supports both UTF-8 and UTF-16. If you’re seeing characters coming into EasyCatalog incorrectly check the data source configuration, and the ODBC driver configuration when using an ODBC data source.

What is the maximum number of records and fields?

EasyCatalog has no upper limit on the number of records or fields. The only limit is physical memory. InDesign CC and above is a 64 bit application, so can handle very large data sets. Earlier versions of are 32bit and as such limited to addressing around 4GB of memory.

Why are fields shown in red?

Fields are red because the record they relate to cannot be identified. Normally the column ‘rowid’ use used to link the query result data back to original record, but in certain queries this isn’t possible – when using the DISTINCT clause for instance. In this case the field is marked in red and once placed …

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Loading XML into a field

EasyCatalog has the ability to load fragments of source XML into a field. This is specified using the “Load as XML Fragment” check box as shown on the “Field Configuration” dialog: When this is checked the entire XML structure at the specified location is loaded into a field. This can be used by the complex …

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Using a Relational Data Source in an XML Data Source

Data sources created with the Relational Module can be used as sources of XML Data. The heirarchy modelled in the relational data source is rendered into XML, which can then be used in a regular EasyCatalog panel via the XML data provider.

Creating an index

The easiest way to achieve this is to use the ‘Update Panel->With Page Numbers’ option…

Edit multiple field options

To edit multiple fields Alt-click in the column headers to select the fields then right click and use “Field Options…”….

Removing empty fields

Removing these empty fields can be done in one of three ways – here’s a typical example…