How to specify the number of copies to print for a VDP job
This article describes two built-in features of DesignMerge software that allow for printing of duplicate copies of a record during a VDP merge session. Options are provided below for 1-up or multi-up documents where the quantity for each record is provided in a database field or set by a rule.
USING THE NUMBER OF COPIES CONTROL FRAME FEATURE
The Control Frame method will produce the fastest output, but is appropriate only for 1-up documents. If you are imposing a document using the DesignMerge multi-up imposition feature, then you must use the Copies per Record feature described in the next section.
A Control Frame is a specially identified InDesign text frame that serves a specific function. This patent-pending approach is exclusive to DesignMerge software, and is utilized for or a number of different DesignMerge features. Please follow the steps below to create a DesignMerge Control Frame to specify the number of copies to print.
- Create a new InDesign text frame.
Note that the frame must be placed onto the live area of the document page. Don't worry - the frame will not print, but at least one part of the frame must be touching the live area of the document or else it will not be recognized by DesignMerge. If you want to get the frame out of the way, you can place it onto the pasteboard with at least one pixel of overlap onto the live page area, as shown below:
- Choose DesignMerge > Utilities > Print Driver > Control Frame > Create...
Place the cursor inside of the text frame and choose the menu option to create a Control Frame:
- Select the Number of Copies option from the dropdown menu and click OK.
- The control frame will be created and should appear as shown below.
You may need to turn off InDesign Preview Mode (View > Screen Mode > Normal) in order to see the frame because by default the frame is made non-printable so it will not appear in the VDP output or while viewing the document in Preview Mode.
Once you have created the Control Frame, you have the option of producing the same number of copies for each record, or to specify a different number of copies for each record. Please see below for details.
Specify the Same Number of Copies for Each Record
The way the Control Frame feature works is that whatever number is entered into the Control Frame will be the number of copies of the job that will be printed. For example, if you type in the number '5' into the Control Frame, then five copies will be printed for each record of the data file when you run the VDP merge session.
Specify a Different Number of Copies for Each Record
If you want to produce a different number of copies for each record, then remember that whatever number is in the Control Frame at the time the page is processed will be the number of copies printed. So to make this number variable for each record, just put a DesignMerge variable link into the frame that will import the number of copies from a data field. When you start the merge, the number of copies in the Control Frame will be updated automatically by reading the number of copies from the data field.
Once you have created the Control Frame in your document, you can run your VDP merge session in the normal fashion. The Control Frames work with PDF, PDF/VT and PPML output formats.
The number of copies can also be set via a DesignMerge link rule instead of reading the value directly from the data field.
USING THE COPIES PER RECORD PREFERENCE FEATURE
A different approach for producing multiple copies for each record of the data file must be utilized if you intend to run the job multi-up using the DesignMerge multi-up imposition feature. Of course, you can also use this approach even if you are running a 1-up job, but it may take a bit longer to process than the Control Frame approach described above.
The Copies per Record feature must be enabled in the DesignMerge Preferences, as shown in the screen shot below:
With this preference item enabled, when you start up your VDP print session, you will be presented with the following dialog:
Using the Copies dropdown menu, select one of the following:
1 Copy per Record
Choose this item if you wish to produce a single copy for each record. This option is provided for clients that wish to quickly return to normal VDP processing where each record produces a single copy (so you don't have to constantly turn off the Copies per Record preference when you return to running standard jobs).
Choose this item if you wish to specify the same number of copies for each record. Just type in the number of copies you wish to print and that same value will be used for all data records.
Choose a Variable Link
The remainder of the items in the list will be the variable links that have been defined for the job. Choose a variable link that will read the number of copies to print for each record from a data field. The value for the number of copies will be read from the data field automatically as the job is processed.
The Copies per Record feature is supported only for PDF and PDF/VT output formats. Unlike the Control Frame feature, you cannot use link rules to control the number of copies (the data must be read from a data field).
If you wish to return to normal VDP processing and not be prompted to specify the number of copies every time, you may turn this feature off by unchecking the Enable Copies per Record checkbox that is presented in the dialog window (or you an always turn it off in the preferences as well).