Data merge: Setting up a data file in Excel to merge with InDesign

About this tutorial:

Video duration: 8:39
This video demonstrates how to set up your data to merge with InDesign. The video also shows how to separate first and last name into 2 separate columns, and how to concatenate (or join) 2 columns of information.

Post Author:

Apple lover, ICT and LEAN consultant, MS Office lecturer My other website with video tutorials - Tutorials, guides and news for iPhones and iPads

22 thoughts on “Data merge: Setting up a data file in Excel to merge with InDesign

    German American Partnership Program

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Hello, we create certificates using Indesign and an Excel spread-sheet (converted to txt). Most data merges into the certificates but we have problems with the date fields. Indesign seems not to recognise mm/dd/yyyy and these fields are not merged. Grateful for any suggestions.

    Personnel Office TCV Head Office

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    how do you get those blue and purple cells

    Nader Hamandi

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    never thought of the name seperation 🙂 thnx for the tips

    John Marshall

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Data Merge is one of the greatest features EVER.


    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    You have no idea how much time the "=CONCATENATE" formula and your video saved me in making some name badges for my reunion. I spent hours cropping images out of yearbook scans of over 700 students. I cropped and saved each student's image in a "Lastname_Firstname.tif" format and using the formula in my student name database file to pull the name from each column using this formula "=CONCATENATE(C2,"_",A2,".tif")" without quotes allowed me to almost instantly link the images and it worked.
    "C2" was my column for the last name

    "_" inserted an underscore separator like I used in the saved image files

    "A2" was my column for the first name

    ".tif" added the file extension

    Still tweaking it a bit and some missing images due to probable misspellings but it worked perfectly. Now I need to save this video for the next time I try this LOL!

    A A

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    really great tutorial

    Ahmed El halawany

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    please how to use data merge with photoshop

    Chris van Zyl

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Hi Stirling, Excellent! I need to develop an Illustrated Parts Catalogue using ID, any suggestions?

    Jacob Poliquin

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    when i import the csv file in Indesign it only create one data field with all the colums mixed in one….


    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Why are you calling warnings in Excel "errors"? Excel notifying you that you can't save multiple tabs in a CSV (for example) is not an error.


    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Thanks Sterling; all of your vids that I've watched have been excellent and really helpful.

    Devonna Kretzmann

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    For some reason I can't get my .txt file to open in Indesign…. I am trying to do the data merge and nothing happens when I click on the source file. What could I be doing wrong? I've tried saving as the other file type as well.

    Martin Kilpert

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Very clear and concise! Thank you!

    Chihyu Wu

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Thank you so much!!! It's is so clear and very helpful!!
    I like how you are very detail with things that we need to be aware of. It is very nice for people like me who do not know excel a lot.

    Riaan Roetz

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Great tutorial, makes it easier and faster building catalogues. Thanx again.

    Emmanuel Rodriguez Pimentel

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Como debo de salvar el Excel para que mi Indesign lo pueda abrir!?

    Wons Phreely

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Really great lesson!! thanks you!
    1 question, how do i make that table show up, where i can put in the @ sign in? i cant find the field to type it into?

    Shabbir Ahmed

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    really useful – thank you

    Patrick Clarkson

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)


    Lei Fang

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    My images name as Numbers, for example "Color_cohose" is 0077123. When I do =CONCATENATE(G2,".JPG"), the cell doesn't change to "0077123.jpg". The cell still appear as "=CONCATENATE(G2,".JPG")". Please tell me what did I do wrongly please?

    Dave Jenkins

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    Brandon, I believe you just use .jpg as the file name where the instructor put .psd in the excel file.

    Brandon Michael Queen

    (December 8, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

    What if I am using the JPG photos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *