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I've been asked to help automate a product overview catalog that looks something like this:

Example

Each gray line is one product, consisting of an item number, name and some information about packaging and 2-4 certificate images in the end. Each time there's some fluff it's a new category, like Tires (regular), Tires (wooden), Tires (concrete), etc. There can be any number of products in each category.

I'm looking for a good way to automate this task, hopefully while keeping it easy for my client to modify the basic template. I have everything ready, including the feed for the item information in any format I need. The primary challenge I'm faced with is trying to make sure it all fits nicely on a page, automatically, rather than just flowing everywhere. I'm constrained because it should fill as little as possible, as the end product should be a small A4 flyer with all products printed on both sides.

I have tried automating it with InDesign but I haven't been able to make something that grows automatically, in a relative fashion. I also tried making it as a webpage which worked decently, but didn't give me the print quality I needed. My current approach is to find a tool that is more suited for tasks like this, but I'm also open to any suggestions on how to solve it with the tools I've tried so far.

  • is this going to be printed? What's the final product? – Luciano Jun 21 '17 at 12:43
  • Yes, this is for print. The final product is a 1-2 page flyer, printed on both sides for the sales team to bring to clients. – William Mariager Jun 21 '17 at 12:50
  • please edit your question to add this information – Luciano Jun 21 '17 at 12:56
  • I believe Indesign is still the primary way to do something like this, but what does it mean "grow automatically in a relative fashion"? – Silly-V Jun 21 '17 at 14:35
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    Probably not cost effective, but Adobe Framemaker is built on the notion of automated updates to complex documents via XML/DITA for output in both web and print formats. – Scott Jun 21 '17 at 15:02
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Put the images in a text box. In other words, make each image an anchored graphic.

It's easiest to do when the images and text are going in an actual grid, but you should be able to do the format you describe as well.

  • I'll look into anchored graphics. It sounds like just what I need. Can I anchor other things as well, like a group? – William Mariager Jun 26 '17 at 7:25
  • @WilliamMariager, I believe so. I don't have InDesign on this computer to check. In my use of this approach, I grouped a frame and a caption and put them into the text box. In other words, I didn't actually type anything into the text box—I just used it to handle the flow of the graphics I was putting in. So yes. :) – Wildcard Jun 26 '17 at 7:47
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    That sounds perfect. I'll give it a try as soon as possible. – William Mariager Jun 26 '17 at 7:50
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    This worked out nicely. Allowed me to easily insert the images. I ended up combining it with a table to get the desired effect. – William Mariager Jul 11 '17 at 7:54

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