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I am trying to evaluate Adobe Indesign for my needs. In this regards, I asked

I looked at the tutorial posted in the answer and it appears to be everything I need. However, I would like the functionality to be available through a console because, the idea is to eliminate user involvement as much as possible.

Does any one know if this is possible? I tried to look at the adobe documentation but they are all geared towards creating plugins which are run from inside Adobe Indesign.

There is also a server edition of Indesign, but I could not understand if it has what I need or not.


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

InDesign has two approaches to this kind of document automation.

IDML allows a complete InDesign document to be created directly from a database. One simply opens the IDML document (it's XML) into InDesign. Lots of detail and full specs here.

From your use case description, I get the feeling that the other method -- creating XML tagged templates -- might work better. You should be able to define a DTD pretty easily to help maintain the integrity of the templates, and you have the advantage that the InDesign templates make for easy visual selection.

Catalog and directory production are exactly the kind of application that these capabilities were built for in InDesign, and they've been getting more sophisticated as the program evolves.

From there to outputting a press-ready PDF or web-ready html is a pretty straightforward scripting task.

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Thanks, looks like tags is exactly what I needed. I am still examining the docs, but it looks like a winner. IDML would've been a lot more work. – Nasir Jun 1 '11 at 0:19
I had a feeling that was the direction you needed to go. For some more info: There was a somewhat famous InDesign Secrets podcast a few years back, in which Cari Jensen described a catalog project that cut its production time by 85% (that's "BY," not "TO"), through utilizing XML and InDesign tagged files. The podcast is #32 -- find on iTunes or at -- and a PDF of the workflow she used is at – Alan Gilbertson Jun 1 '11 at 2:21
Note that Indesign can also be scripted using javascript/appletalk/vbscript – horatio Jun 1 '11 at 16:51
@Nasir: An additional (excellent) resource I just discovered is InDesign CS5 Automation Using XML & JavaScript by Grant Gamble. There's a write-up on it at – Alan Gilbertson Jun 1 '11 at 22:07
Thanks. @Horatio so if wrote a script to merge, and generate the pdf, then i would not have to open indesign? it would all be automated for the benefit of user? – Nasir Jun 2 '11 at 13:25

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