Using the Versions Panel

The Versions Panel allows the quick and easy creation of multi-version content. To use this functionality, data must contain a record for each version of a product. The related records need share common field content in order to identify them as a single ‘product’.  A very simple data set might look like:

page number position product version price
1 1 EasyCatalog US $1299
1 1 EasyCatalog UK £999
1 1 EasyCatalog FR €1199

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In this case each record represents a version of the product EasyCatalog.  Versioning works at a frame level.   Frames can belong to a specific version, or multiple versions in the case of the Internal method.

Version Panel Preferences

Preferences are defined at a document level.  Once set, the Versions Panel will automatically  populate based on the last data panel selection.

Version Field:

Enter the name of the field that contains the name of the version. In the above data this would be “version”

Match Fields:

Name the fields to identify records in a version group. In this case it would be page number,position,product.


Two methods of versioning are available:

  1. Internal. EasyCatalog attaches information to each frame indicating which version it belongs to. The Advantage of this is that a single frame can appear in multiple versions.
  2. Layers.  EasyCatalog uses InDesign Layers to represent versions. This is easier to visualise as one version is one Layer.  The disadvantage is if a product is a varies in only one version,  it will be duplicated for each layer, as it can no longer go on the ‘base’ version.  The Layers method also displays the color of the layer in the Version Panel and will hide/show layers automatically based on which version is visible.  It also modifies the appearance of the data panel to highlight records relating to the currently visible version.

Base Version Name

This is the name used for items that remain unchanged in all versions.

Version Panel

The Versions Panel lists all versions associated with the current document. A “Common” version always exist – objects which aren’t unique in any version.

There are 3 columns, reading left to right

  1. Version Visibility. Clicking here will show/hide a particular version. Shift clicking will show/hide only that particular versions visible state.
  2. Object version. A tick indicates the object belongs to version. Objects can belong to only the Common version, or multiple named versions.
  3. Version name.

Version Panel Functions

Icons on the panel perform the actions below:

  1. Copy to selected version. Copies the Selected page elements to the selected version.
  2. Auto Version – Takes the selection and Automatically creates all versions. Auto versioning will try to minimise the number of frames duplicated. If in this example, the price was the same for all versions then only one frame would be needed, tagged for all versions. Since the price is different in this data, it will create 3 frames, one for each version.
  3. Select Related – Inspects the selection and selects all related page elements across all versions.
  4. Delete version – Remove a version from the panel. This Does not remove it from the document.

Version Panel Menu

A pop-out menu on the panel allows the automatic generation of PDF’s for all versions to a predefined location.

Example of Layers Based Versioning

In the following example, the user has placed product and price fields into separate frames on a new document. Then selected both frames and used Auto Version.  This results in the price frame copied onto a new layer for each version (since this differs in each).  As product remains the same in all versions this is moved to a the Base Version layer.

Notice that the data panel now dims records belonging to non-visible versions and the Layer color code is shown in the margin.