Options for DesignMerge EOF! Errors

This article applies only to users that are creating multi-up layouts with DesignMerge, and have encountered an EOF! error condition.


The built-in sequencing and multi-up imposition features of DesignMerge are totally unique among the VDP software products on the market today. These features allow the user to create and merge pre-defined, multi-up layouts directly inside of the InDesign document, offering complete control with regard to layout and positioning of all multi-up items.

Because DesignMerge processes multi-up layouts in this fashion, the software must account for what we refer to as "End of File" conditions, or EOF for short. A simple example of an EOF condition would be a 4-up layout that is merging a data file containing only 3 records. Since there are not enough records in the data file to fully fill all of the "ups" defined in the document, this means that when attempting to read data for the 4th up in the layout, the software runs into the end of the data file, hence the term End of File.

In short, any time the number of records in your data file is not evenly divisible by the number of ups in your multi-up layout, you will encounter and EOF condition.


In versions of DesignMerge prior to the CC 2018 version, when an EOF condition was encountered, the error string "EOF!" was inserted for all of the variables being merged. This was a convenient way to let the user know that those ups should be discarded, and in fact this continues to remain the default behavior in the current version of DesignMerge Pro.

Starting with the CC 2018 version of DesignMerge Pro, however, a new preference item was added to allow better control over EOF conditions. The preference item is called Treat EOF Conditions as Errors, and this preference item is enabled by default. When this preference is enabled, if an EOF condition is encountered, the EOF! error text is inserted as before.

Some users have expressed interest in being able to further process data when an EOF condition occurs. For example, a user may wish to swap in some default text or image data when an EOF occurs, or simply delete the EOF items from the document.

To enable this new feature, simply turn off the Treat EOF Conditions as Errors preference. When you do, the software will continue to process the EOF! error string as if it were actual data. What this means is that you can (for example) create a Rule that looks for and processes EOF conditions.

Here is an example Rule statement that demonstrates this behavior:

if <<Link Data>> contains "EOF!", the Set Data to Empty

This rule will essentially convert the EOF! error string into an empty string, which would then allow the Link to be removed from the document completely (by virtue of the Empty Link settings that the user defined for the Variable Link).

Here is another example for Picture Links:

if <<Link Data>> contains "EOF!", the Set Data to "DefaultImage.eps"

In this case, if the rule were applied to an image frame, when an EOF condition was detected a default image called "DefaultImage.eps" would be merged into the picture frame (instead of placing the EOF! error message picture into the frame, which would be the default behavior).

This new preference item should provide the user with more control over handling EOF conditions. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to open a support ticket and we would be happy to assist.