How to import, export and backup your DDF or DDF Set
A Data Source Definition (or DDF for short) is a file that holds all of the DesignMerge settings for your variable data job. This includes all of your data setup information (field names, etc) as well as all of your Variable Link and Rule definitions. A DDF Set is a collection of individual Data Source Definitions. This article tells you how to import, export and backup your DDF information. If you want a few more details about Data Source Definitions, please see the article Document DDF versus Named DDF, how to choose, or just contact us and we'll help you determine the best DDF configuration for your workflow.
VIEW DDF SET
To view your current DDF Set, please follow the steps below:
- Open the DesignMerge menu and select Setup > Data Source Definitions... This will open the Data Source Definitions (DDF) dialog.
- The Current DDF pop-up menu on the Data Source Definitions (DDF) dialog will automatically display the name of the DDF that is currently selected for use with a document. Click on the Current DDF pop-up menu to see a list of the DDFs that are in your DDF Set.
If you are running DesignMerge Pro (or if this is a new installation of DesignMerge Catalog), you will have a DDF Set that contains only one DDF, named Document. The Document DDF will always contain the DDF settings that have been stored with the current document. Each document prepared with DesignMerge holds a copy of the DDF settings that were in effect when the document was last saved, so you can always recover these settings, or import them into a different document.
The Data Source Definitions (DDF) dialog allows you to Add, Rename, Delete, Setup, and Edit DDF settings. This dialog also allows you to select which DDF is the Current DDF for a document and which data file you would like the Current DDF to use when merging or updating Variable Link tags in a document.
EXPORT DDF SET
If you would like to share your DDF Set with other DesignMerge users, or if you are moving to a new version of Adobe InDesign, you can export your DDF Set. This DDF Set export is also useful for backup purposes, and we recommend that you export your DDF Sets from time to time, especially if they contain complex Link and Rule definitions.
To export your current DDF Set, please follow the steps below:
- Open the DesignMerge menu and select Utilities > Data Source > Export DDF Set... This will prompt you to save your DDF Set to a file.
- Enter a filename for your DDF Set and save it (typically, we like to use ".ddf" as the filename extension, but this is not a requirement).
- Your DDF Set export is now complete. If this is a backup, we recommend naming the file using the current date for easier reference.
IMPORT DDF SET
If you need to recover your DDF Set, or move them to a different DesignMerge workstation or a different version of Adobe InDesign, then you can use the Import DDF Set feature.
To import a previously exported DDF Set, please follow the steps below:
- Open the DesignMerge menu and select Utilities > Data Source > Import DDF Set... This will prompt you to select a DDF File to import.
- Select a DDF Set file to import (see previous section for Export instructions).
- Your DDF Set import is now complete.
WORKING WITH A SINGLE DDF
Sometimes you want to import just a single DDF from an existing DDF Set, or perhaps you are running DesignMerge Pro and you want to import the Document DDF settings from a previous job that you prepared. This is accomplished by importing the single DDF from an existing InDesign document (not from a DDF Set file).
Export a Single DDF
To export a single DDF, there is only one step:
- Save an InDesign document while the DDF settings that you want are active. This is true for both Document DDF and Named DDF.
The InDesign document will always store a copy of the DDF that was in effect when the document was saved.
Import a Single DDF
To import a Single DDF from another document, follow these steps:
- Select DesignMerge > Setup > Data Source Definitions...
- Click the Import DDF. button.
- Navigate to and select the Adobe InDesign document that has the settings you wish to import confirm the import.
- The name of the DDF stored with the selected document will be displayed. You can edit this name if you wish to.
- Click the OK button to import the single DDF.
- You have now added (or replaced) a single DDF in your current DDF Set.
Your document will now have access to all of the same settings as the selected document.
There is a shortcut method for importing a single DDF from an InDesign document. Use the flyout menu on the DesignMerge panel and choose the Import Setup from Document... option. This will prompt you to select the Adobe InDesign document in the same fashion described above.
Pro Tip: Any time you are prompted to import a DDF or a DDF Set, you can select either a DDF Set file, or an Adobe InDesign document. If you select a DDF Set file, then all of the DDF's within that set are imported. If you select an Adobe InDesign document, then only the single DDF stored with that document will be imported.