Using InDesign I've placed two objects (the background color and brown pattern) and have several placeholders I'm using with the data merge feature.

However, for proofing reasons I'm trying to use the multiple records feature my content is properly appearing as a grid on the pages but the background/pattern remain in the center of the page.

I'm still new to InDesign in general so I'm sure I've missed something. I need to tell InDesign that the background objects need to be repeated as well.

enter image description here

  • So, just to make sure, you've created a single indesign document that contains a single template. When you combine the data and the template into a new merged document, you are only getting one background? That seems very strange. Please confirm the above actions were taken.
    – KoldBane
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 18:57
  • I believe so, yes. I originally did this months ago and am now picking the project back up so I'm a little vague on the specifics but I can answer any other questions. This is a single indesign document, there's only one "page" labeled A-master and that's what these objects are on. I can click and select all of my placeholder objects but for some reason I can't select/move the two objects shown in the above pic - they're not locked so I'm not sure what's wrong. When I do the data merge, everything is shown as I'd expect except these two objects are still "locked" in the middle of the page.
    – helion3
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 19:40
  • I have some ideas, but I would need access to a duplicate of the file. Would this be possible? If so, send me an email on my portfolio site with your email and let's connect and sort out your issue. If we solve it, we'll post the solution here.
    – KoldBane
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 21:14

3 Answers 3


When creating a merged document (with or without multiple records), any content that is not on the actual document page will not be duplicated. This includes master page content, it will remain the same and not duplicate.

To fix the issue and have proper duplication of the background and image template, you'll need to paste those items from the master pages into the main page document.

I've worked with helion3 to fix the issue, but here are the steps for any future users:

  1. Open up your Pages panel in the document and double-click the Master page that contains the items you want to have duplicated in the multi-merge.

  2. Cut the items from the Master page (Cmd+X) and paste it into place (Edit > Paste Into Place) on Page 1 of the actual document.


I think scripting is cool, however I did not have the time to figure out the logic. So I created an ID file with 5 pages for 5 tabs of colors.

Each page about 2.2 x 1 was filled with a different color. Then I exported to a .jpg.

In excel I created 5 new fields called '@Colortab1 to '@colortab5. Then I hyperlinked each color jpg. Saved the excel as a .csv.

Back to the merging id file I inserted a rectangle and inserted the color field. Then export out to a pdf.

  1. http://indesignsecrets.com/automating-data-handling.php
  2. http://indesignsecrets.com/data-merging-part-2.php

hope these links can help you..

  • 2
    The OP clearly knows how to use automatic data handling and merging, but are facing an issue with repeating backgrounds. Since in both these links no backgrounds are used, I don't think this actually answers the question. If I'm wrong, please edit your answer to include more details.
    – PieBie
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 7:13

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