I'm developing a template for my team's daily production needs, and every product must have certain consistent marginalia on it, such as date, product ID, title, subtitle, etc. Currently, this information is manually entered into an InDesign or Illustrator template, and the template is different depending on the product type. Ideally, I'd like to have a series of prompts guide the user (not Adobe proficient) through selecting/entering their marginalia and display the appropriate template with all the text populated and ready for the content.

I have no idea what functionality to leverage to do this or if this is even possible. We're using CS6. Can someone point me in the right direction?

  • A few more details that would help answer your question: - Does the information in question appear multiple times throughout the doc? - Are you using both Illustrator and InDesign or trying to decide between the two? - Have you looked into text variables in InDesign? - Do your users know how to select from available templates or do you need to prompt them through that as well? Aug 5, 2013 at 20:38
  • This isn't quite a duplicate, but may give you some inspiration or point you in a good direction: Importing spreadsheet data as layers into Adobe Illustrator
    – JohnB
    Aug 6, 2013 at 2:04
  • @plainclothes, Some information would appear multiple times throughout, but most data would only appear once. The Illustrator requirement comes from above my pay grade, but I would like to make it InDesign compatible too. There's really only one template for this application. The intent is to get the user started with a basic design with data input for them. Oct 30, 2013 at 21:45
  • Have a look at this question also graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/6939/… Dec 20, 2013 at 14:00

2 Answers 2


When you say "not Adobe proficient" that implies that you need to hold their hand through the whole process. With that in mind, you'll need someone to build a javascript front end to get the right template up and populated.

First things first, this will be complicated if they can't at least determine the Illustrator or InDesign path up front. It could simply be a matter of choosing script A or script B. They just need to know which one to pick.

After that, you can present a series of select boxes and text fields to query the user for each important point. Open with a prompt to determine the template via radio buttons or a select box. That would trigger a form based on the response.

The form would take the text values for your marginalia. A combination of text fields and/or select boxes would gather the data and store each in a variable. Each variable would then be inserted into the correct position in the template.

This is no small task, but you can avoid a lot of operator error and potentially save production time.

It would be a lot easier to just hire people who know how to use the software ;)



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