Unexpected results when using a Link Rule to apply character or paragraph styles

A link rule can apply a character and/or paragraph style to a variable text link. Then, when data is merged into a text link that is using this link rule, the result will be similar to placing that plain text or formatted text in a text frame and applying the selected paragraph and/or character style to that text. If a link rule is not applying styling as you expected, see the tips below:

First, manually copy/paste the data into the text link and then apply the style(s) that the link rule is set up to apply. This mimics what will happen when DesignMerge merges this link. 

Next, confirm the link rule is applying styles that have been set up in the document. Note the name of the style that the link rule will apply must match the name of the style that has been set up in the document.

Also, test the link rule to confirm it has been set up correctly. You can test a link rule by doing the following: 

  1. Open the Rules dialog (open the DesignMerge menu and choose Setup > Rules).
  2. On the left side of the Rules dialog, select the name of the link rule that you wish to test.
  3. On the bottom right side of the Rules dialog, click the Test button. 
  4. When prompted, select the data file that you wish to use to test this rule. 
  5. The Test Rule dialog will open where you can step through the records in the selected data file, reviewing the results presented on the bottom of the Test Rule dialog.

Then, examine how you have used this link rule in the document:

  • Confirm the variable link and link rule are assigned to a selection of text and not to a text frame. The ability of a link rule to apply styles has been designed specifically for variable text links. If the variable link is assigned to a text frame, then the rule will not apply any paragraph or character styles. 
  • Confirm the linked text has been assigned to the appropriate variable link and link rule. One way to do this is to select the variable text link in the document and then look at the information that is displayed on the DesignMerge panel. For more information about assigning a link rule to a variable text link, see Tutorial #1b (Using Rules), available in DesignMerge Documentation.  
  • If you would like the link rule to apply a paragraph style to the entire paragraph that contains the variable text link, the variable link must be the first character in the paragraph.