i have multiple vcards, where each person has a different background color.

what is the best approach, to have all the vcard data in a data source file and also control the color by this file?

something like "if the value of the data source color field is..."

  • ... fffff use this as color value for the background
  • ... A lookup the variable A and use its value as color
  • ... id1 then show layer 1 (which has the correct color for this person)

having a data source file like that:

name, color
john doe, #ffffff
joan doe, #ff00ff
foo bar, #00ff00

is this somehow possible?

1 Answer 1


I read this article as of late which deals with this subject. https://indesignsecrets.com/applying-any-cmyk-color-during-a-data-merge.php

Some quotes from the article:

What’s required for this technique

  1. Character styles for each color shade in 1% increments*
  2. A paragraph style for each color channel that contains the GREP instructions identical to the heat map GREP styles demonstrated here*
  3. A text frame that is set to Darken at the Object level in the Effects panel. Four of these frames will be required for each color channel that will combine to make the final color*
  4. A frame that will become a frame that changes color*
  5. A database that has four columns that will contain values between 0-100 for each of the color channels Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black

How this technique works

It works in an identical fashion to the GREP heat map technique: when presented with a number between 0-100, a GREP style determines what tint strength of the underlying fill color is required. The point of difference with this technique is that it happens to four different colors that are then overlapped with the Darken blend mode in the Effects panel. The result is a full color square that can then be applied in a fashion similar to the Knockout Group transparency technique.


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