Why is DesignMerge asking me to locate the file for a Variable Picture (Image) or Article Link (text file)?

When merging a Variable Picture Link or Variable Article Link, DesignMerge will search for the file that is specified by the Link's data (either the data that a Field is providing the Link, or the data that a Link Rule is setting for the Link). This data may consist of either the full path for the file or just the filename. If the full path is specified, confirm the path is following DesignMerge File Path Specifications (http://www.meadowsps.com/filepaths). If the full path is not specified and only the filename is provided, then DesignMerge will search for the file in the locations that are indicated by your DesignMerge Preferences and the document's DDF.

 

If DesignMerge cannot locate a file for a Variable Picture or Article Link, the merge session has encountered a Missing File error condition. When a Missing File error condition is encountered, DesignMerge by default will interrupt the session to prompt you to locate the missing file (or select another file to use for this missing file). Once you have indicated which file to use, the merge session will continue. Also, if the current session requires this particular missing file again, the session will automatically use the file that you selected for it earlier. Please note that you may change the manner in which your installation of DesignMerge handles a Missing File error condition by changing your DesignMerge Preferences. 

 

To determine why DesignMerge is not able to locate a file for a Variable Picture or Variable Article Link, first confirm the file that is specified by the data does actually exist. In the other words, confirm the filename or full path that is being provided as data for the Link exactly matches the filename or full path of the actual file. For example, consider whether the filename should include a filename extension. If the data is providing a full path, confirm you can access this path from your system and that the full path has been specified accurately. For Macintosh paths, use a colon (:) to delimit the folder names in the path. For Windows paths, use a double backslash (\\) to delimit the folder names in the path.

 

Additionally, confirm your user account has sufficient permissions granted to access the files and the folder that contains these files. If the files are located on another computer, confirm your computer has a current connection to the files' folder on that other computer.

 

TIP: If the first record in your database file contains Field Names, confirm you have turned on the "Skip first record" option for the current merge session.Otherwise, DesignMerge will merge this first record and prompt you to locate the file whose filename matches the Field Name provided for that variable picture or article link. 

 

Once you have confirmed the data is accurate, confirm you have set up DesignMerge Search Paths that will allow your installation of DesignMerge to locate these files. There are two types of Search Paths that you can set up:

 

Global Search Paths are a component of your DesignMerge Preferences. Your installation of DesignMerge will search within your Global Search Paths when merging any document. By default, your Global Search Paths are the Document's folder, the Database file's folder, and any subfolders inside these two folders. 

 

A DDF Search Path is a component of a DDF. If a DDF specifies a DDF Search Path, then all installations of DesignMerge will search within that DDF's Search Path when merging a document that uses this DDF. By default, a new DDF will not be set up to use a DDF Search Path.

 

To set up your Global Search Paths, do the following:

  1. Open the DesignMerge Preferences window by selecting Preferences from the DesignMerge menu.
  2. On the Preferences window, click the Search button to open the Global Search Paths window.
  3. Make any changes you wish that will allow your installation of DesignMerge to locate files for Variable Picture and Article Links when merging any document. By default, Global Search Paths are set to search the Document's folder, the Database file's folder, and any sub-folders inside these folders. You may change these default settings whenever you wish. You may also add custom paths to your Global Search Paths. 
  4. When ready, click the OK button to return to the Preferences window.
  5. Then, click the OK button to close the Preferences window.

To set up a DDF Search Path, do the following:

  1. Open the Database Definitions window by selecting Setup > Database Definitions from the DesignMerge menu.
  2. On the Database Definitions window, confirm the appropriate DDF is selected in the Current DDF popup menu.
  3. Click the Edit button on the Database Definitions window to open the Edit Database Definition window.
  4. On the bottom of the Edit Database Definition window, check the Enable DDF Search Path checkbox option.
  5. Then click the Change Path button to open the DDF Search Path window. 
  6. On the DDF Search Path window, you will see the Current Path that has been specified.
  7. To change the path, click the Change Path button.
  8. Select the folder that you wish DesignMerge to search and then click the Choose button.
  9. This returns you to the DDF Search Path window where you will see the new path listed as the Current Path.
  10. Check the Search sub-folders checkbox option if you would also like DesignMerge to search any subfolders inside the Current Path.
  11. Click the OK button to return to the Edit Database Definitions window.
  12. Confirm the Enable DDF Search Path checkbox option is checked. (If this option is unchecked, the DDF will instruct DesignMerge to ignore searching the specified DDF Search Path.)
  13. Click OK to close the Edit Database Definitions window and return to the Database Definitions window.
  14. Click OK to close the Database Definitions window.

TIPS: 

 

Before using DesignMerge to produce the variable data output for a document, you can run a Preflight Report Test merge session to determine the status of the external files for Variable Picture and Article Links in the document. When you run a Preflight Report, DesignMerge analyzes which external graphic files and text files will be needed and DesignMerge searches for these files to make sure that they are available. Then, DesignMerge will display a report that lists all of the required external files, the full path to each of these files, and their current status. 

 

Data Preview Test merge session can also assist you in seeing the data that is being provided to a Link. For more information and an example of a Data Preview Test, see Tutorial #1a (The Basics) in the DesignMerge Tutorial Manual, available in PDF format in the DesignMerge product folder on your system.

 

If you are using a Link Rule to change the data for a Variable Picture or Variable Article Link, a Rules Test can help you test the Rule. For more information and an example of testing rules, see Tutorial #1b (Rules) in the DesignMerge Tutorial Manual.

 

Also, when DesignMerge prompts you to locate a missing file during a merge session, the title of this window will display the data that is specifying this file (for example, the filename) that DesignMerge cannot locate. 

 

For accurate results when the data for a Link does not provide the full path, be careful that you do not set up paths that would allow DesignMerge to locate multiple files that share the same file name. 

 

For best performance, consider the number of locations in your Search Paths, and the sequence in which DesignMerge will search these locations. By default, DesignMerge will search for a file in the following locations, sequentially:

  1. The folder containing the Document and any subfolders inside this folder (if enabled as a Global Search Path)
  2. The folder containing the Database file and any subfolders inside this folder (if enabled as a Global Search Path)
  3. The DDF Search Path (if enabled for the Current DDF)
  4. Custom Global Search Paths, in the order in which these are listed (if you added any as Global Search Paths)

For more information about DesignMerge Preferences for a Missing File error condition, see Tutorial #5 (Tips & Tricks) in the DesignMerge Tutorial manual.

 

For more information and an example of a Preflight Report, see Tutorial #1a (The Basics) in the DesignMerge Tutorial Manual.

 

For more information about DesignMerge Search Paths, see Tutorial #5 (Tips & Tricks) in the DesignMerge Tutorial Manual.

 

KEYWORDS: Image, Path, Image Path, Missing Picture, Missing Article, Error, Search, Locate