I had a project where I had to design numbers only consisting of a stroke for some cabinets starting from 001 to 132. I would like to know the easiest way to generate these numbers instead of typing them manually. I have attached:

  • a picture of the numbers from 001 to 100 since Illustrator allows maximum 100 artboards
  • the final print-ready PDF where the outline/contour is visible
  • a simulation of the cabinet with the foil number stuck on to it

My main questions are:

  • how to do the cut contour line the easiest way? Expand? Outline? Spot colour method?
  • is it better to use a script in Photoshop to generate the numbers or maybe the Data Merge function in InDesign?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Here's a super-fast workaround: Use Indesign, place "current page number" in your Master page... Open page 1 "Numbering & Section Options", then select style 001,002,003... Finally, in the page panel, Insert 131 pages.


InDesign's Data Merge is the proper tool for this, more so since InDesign can easily also export print-ready PDFs. You can create a Paragraph Style for your numbers and possibly use a Spot colour on the outlines (presumably this is how your printer will need to see the actual cut lines, but this should be confirmed with them first).

Another thing I would do is use a Tabular lining setting on your Paragraph Style (if your font has the right character set for this). This will ensure all the digits take up the same space so the overall numbering will look more aligned.

tabular lining

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