A simple example would be a map of the United States. If I want to overlay the state name, capital city, and population in their proper location on the map...is there a way I can use data merge to fill this in automatically? My only guess is to do the data merge in separate document in a standard block layout (state, city, population), then place each of these frames in the corresponding locations on the map. But if I were ever to update the population, I would have to re-place each frame.
What I would like to do is be able to tell indesign where to place each subsequent record on the same page, similar to text overflow. Or even better, have indesign place information from the data merge based on keywords I manually enter in the appropriate location- for example, when it sees the state name (manually entered); the capital city and population would then be automated based on that state name query. Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


I'm guessing your data file (excel) is set up something like this: <<State>> <<Cityname>> <<poulation>> and you need a separate frame for each State/City/population?

Okay, here's one way to do it. You'll need two InDesign Files; one is your map, and one is your datamerge Frames file.

You create your Frames File in the size of each frame, with State/City/population placeholders, run your datamerge and you have an InDesign file with x number of pages. You take this InDesign file and place it in the map InDesign file using File > Place. Make sure to check the check-box which says Show Import Options. In the Import window check All Pages and then you can place and position your Frames.

If the population changes you can just redo your datamerge and save over the old InDesign file, open your Map InDesign file and all the frames will have the new content in the right place.

  • If you're using an older version of ID you may not be able to place an ID file in another. In this case just save your Datamerged Frames as a PDF and use that instead.
    – Yokel
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 11:40

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