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 numberpositionproductversionPrice
11EasyCatalogUS$1299
11EasyCatalogUK£999
11EasyCatalogFR$1199
11EasyCatalogDE$1199
11EasyCatalogES$1199
11EasyCatalogIT$1199
12Pagination ModuleUS599
12Pagination ModuleUK£549
12Pagination ModuleFR459
12Pagination ModuleDE459
12Pagination ModuleES459
12Pagination ModuleIT459
13ODBC ModuileUS199
13ODBC ModuileUK£179
13ODBC ModuileFR179
13ODBC ModuileDE179
13ODBC ModuileES179
13ODBC ModuileIT179
14Relational ModuleUS599
14Relational ModuleUK£549
14Relational ModuleFR459
14Relational ModuleDE459
14Relational ModuleES459
14Relational ModuleIT459
15Scripting ModuleUS599
15Scripting ModuleUK£549
15Scripting ModuleFR459
15Scripting ModuleDE459
15Scripting ModuleES459
15Scripting ModuleIT459
16XML ModuleUS599
16XML ModuleUK£549
16XML ModuleFR459
16XML ModuleDE459
16XML ModuleES459
16XML ModuleIT459

Download the Sample

In this case each record represents a version of the a product.

Loading Data

All settings are stored at a document level. Once a data source has been loaded, a permanent link is created in the document. Each time the document is opened the panel will automatically populate providing the data source is available.  Once loaded, the preferences can be configured.  For the example above the settings would be:

  • Version Field:  The name of the field containing the version name.
  • Match Fields: Name the fields to identify records in a version group.
  • Base Version Name: Layer name used for content that is shared amongst all version.

Versions Panel Interface

With a data source loaded and the preferences configured, The panel shows a matrix of data for each position. If multiple records occupy a position, the position will be sub-divided. When there are no records for a position, it will be blacked-out.

Filtering the data

In the case of large data sets, the magnifying glass icon can be used to filter the data. The applied filter is remembered when the document is saved. To clear a previously defined filter, use “Show All” on the panel menu.

Viewing Records for Positions

With the Record Viewer panel open, selecting a position or range of positions populates the panel with the associated records. Scrolling left to right presents each record  It’s possible to create a ‘regular’ EasyCatalog panel from the “New Panel” menu option on the pop-out menu.

Working with Layers

When a layer does not exist a green + icon is shown in the panel. Pressing it creates the layer and replaces the icon with the color code for that layer. Layers are created automatically when needed, so it’s only necessary to create the common layer to begin paginating.

Once layers exist, the first column controls the visibility of each version layer. Holding the shift key preserves the visibility state of existing layers.  The second column activates the current write layer.

Pop-Out Menu Options

The Versions panel has menu options to perform a variety of options such as synchronising with new data, moving records between positions and paginating.

Versioning Process

With the Pagination Module installed, pagination can occur directly from the Versions Panel. The versioning process would typically start with an initial pagination by selecting a base version and paginating to the Common Layer. Here’s the result of guide based pagination using the sample library.  It contains 2 frames, one with the product name (same for all versions), and one with the price (varies per version). One pagination is complete, press the synchronise icon, which is the right most icon at the bottom of the panel to update the status in the panel. This should indicate red errors across each position on common.

Hovering over a position displays previews of frames used at that position. A green outline indicates the frame is positioned legally, a red frame indicates an illegal placement. Double clicking on the preview selects the frame in the document, making the version visible if necessary.

Auto Versioning

With an illegally positioned frame selected, the ‘AutoVersion’ button shows the actions available for this frame, with the most likely action selected.  Using the example, selecting the frame containing price on the common layer would present the option to move the frame from common and duplicate it for each version:

With multiple frames selected, using the button automatically applies the default option for the selected frames and does not present the dialog.

Information Area

The Info area is exposed using the left hand icon. It displays details for each frame used in a position along with a button to apply the most likely action. The error state of each field within the frame is shown along with the name of the frame. This can set using a Script Label.

The example above indicates the product field is placed legally, but price should be versioned.

Selecting all frames on the common layer and using Auto Version results the price frame versioned onto each layer, resulting in all positions showing green, indicating no illegal field placement:

Handling Data Updates

Using updated sample data, changes have been made the remove all IT versions of a product and add a new JP version. In addition the JP version has had the XML data provider in slot 6 removed. Notice the the IT row is now greyed out and and indicates errors for all slots. Also notice slot 6 for JP is now blacked out: