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Note: The answer does not have to involve Fiery Impose. I am only looking for a way to setup double-sided 4x3 badges for printing.

I realize the question is pretty specific for the software I am using but maybe the solution is in preparing the file and not the software I am using. I am printing double-sided ID badges, 4x3 inches. I am currently exporting the ID badges with bleed, load them into Fiery Command Workstation and use Fiery Impose to setup the badges for double-sided printing.

These are my imposition settings

Imposition settings

This is how the pages look, page 1 front on the left, and page 1 back side on the right.

Original page setup

I then import a duplicate of the file, and manually change the back side of the page to match the front side. This is how it should look.

Fixed side

It's easy enough to make a mistake when going through hundreds of numbers.

Question

How can I use Fiery Impose to set up my file for double-sided printing with the correct graphic on the back side? Is there a way to export my file for double-sided printing that does not require Fiery Impose?

For reference, my printer is the Konica Minolta 3070 C

3 Answers 3

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I do not recommend using this method but I guess it works.

1 option is to edit the data in Excel. I could duplicate the data in Excel and reverse order the selection of 10 for each page. Rows 1 through 10 would be on page 1, and rows 11 through 20 would be on the back of page 1. Duplicate every 10 rows of data for the back side.

Rows in Excel

Then use Data Merge in InDesign to finish the design.

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Automate your spreadsheet

My example uses Google Sheets, but Excel has similar (if not identical) methods. My example uses printed rows of 3.

1. Enter the raw data, one row per card.

A B C D
1 Name Email Job ID
2 Angela [email protected] Accountant 079871873
3 Benji [email protected] Biochemist 789019834
4 Carter [email protected] CDL Driver 189012384
5 Danette [email protected] Director 091329074

2. Get the printed row (0-indexed)

In F2, I retrieved the current spreadsheet row by entering row(). I divided that by the number of cards per printed row*. Then since we’re not starting on row 1, I offset the current spreadsheet row (by the starting row) before dividing. Then I rounded down using floor().

Rows in column F will climb 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 2,...

... E F
1 ... print columns print row
2 ... 3 0 =floor( (row()-row(F$2)) / $E$2 )

*For convenience, I’ve just entered the number of pages per printed row in a separate cell so I can modify it later, and then referenced it with an absolute cell reference.

3. Get the printed column (0-indexed)

In G2, do essentially the same thing as in F2, except rather than divide, get the remainder using mod(). To reverse, subtract the remainder from the print columns (E2). Then subtract 1 to make it 0-indexed.

Rows in column G will repeat 2, 1, 0, 2, 1, 0, 2,...

... G
1 ... print column
2 ... 2 =$E$2 - mod((row()-row(F$2)),$E$2) - 1

4. Transform the print row into the spreadsheet row (1-indexed)

I multiply the print columns by the iteration, then offset by adding it to the starting row.

... H
1 ... from row
2 ... 0 =row(H$2) + $E$2*F2

5. Get the spreadsheet row of the printed column

This part’s easy. Just offset the spreadsheet start row with the print column.

... I
1 ... back
2 ... 0 =G2+H2

6. Organize data

Group columns appearing on the same side together, so that there are no gaps like “Columns A–B and D”. In my example, I plan on placing Name and Email on one side and Job and ID on the other side.

Then in the next column, copy the first row of the range and append a note for yourself. I’ve written a formula to do it automatically.

... J
1 ... =arrayformula(C1:D1&" (mirror)")

7. Copy the data

Use a spreadsheet function to transform the plain text in column I into a cell reference. I’m using Google Sheets, so I use indirect() and tell it that I’m using numbered columns (returned by the column() function) instead of lettered columns, and then I join two of those references together with :.

... J
1 ... Job (mirror)
2 ... =indirect("R"&I2&"C"&column(C2),false):indirect("R"&I2&"C"&column(D2),false)

8. Copy Row 2’s formula cells and paste down.

In my example, I selected F2 through J2, copied, then selected the next five cells and pasted.

If you’ve been wondering why some cell references have dollar signs, this step is why. The dollar signs keep the cell references where they should be.

Why 5? I have 4 rows of data, so at three cards per printed row, I need 2 printed rows. 2×3=6, and 6 minus the row we copied = 5.

9. Import into InDesign using the Data Merge tool

Personally, I would use two documents: A 4×3 document for the front, and a 4×3 document for the back. I’d perform the data merge in each one, and just use different columns in the layout. Then I could print the front document using the multiple-per-page, then put the pages back into the printer, and print the back document using the same multiple-per-page on the backs of the printed front pages.

It will probably take some experimenting to figure out the correct orientation at which to re-feed the paper to the printer.

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Simplest version

If you’re doing hundreds, go to a professional printer or print center. You would have to mess with spreadsheet formulas, printer feeds, and multi-step InDesign workflows. But they will have professional tools to handle printing pages of one size using pages of another size. Just order what you need and wait. It’s not lazy; it’s efficient delegation!

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  • I would rather purchase the professional software/printer and do it myself rather than outsource the prints.
    – AndrewH
    Feb 16 at 21:06

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