How to include variable text links in a variable Article file

Both DesignMerge Pro and DesignMerge Catalog can merge a text file into a text frame and then will also merge any variable text links that have been included inside that text file. This document discusses how to include variable text links in a text file for a variable Article link and then how to use that variable Article link in a document. 


Before starting, set up a DDF for the document. Note the data file needs to have a field that will specify which text files to merge into the variable article link. Or, if the data file does not have this field, you can add a link rule to the document's DDF to specify which text files. For more information about link rules, please see Tutorial #1b (Using Rules) in DesignMerge Documentation.


To embed variable text links in a text file for a variable article link, the text file must be saved in the InDesign Tagged Text file format. To produce this type of text file, follow the steps below:

  1. Enter the content for the text file in a text frame in the document. Do not include any anchored objects (in-line picture or text frames). The InDesign Tagged Text file format does not support anchored objects.
  2. Style the text however you wish.
  3. Assign variable text links to any text in this frame, as you wish. 
  4. Place your text insertion point inside the text frame, open the InDesign File menu and select Export
  5. On the Export dialog, select Adobe InDesign Tagged Text for the Format, enter an appropriate name for the new text file, navigate to select a destination for the new file, and click Save. Of course, if the name is specified in the data file, be careful to name the file accordingly. 
  6. This will open the Adobe InDesign Tagged Text Export Options dialog. Select options that are appropriate for this text (for example, select Verbose and ASCII), and then click OK.


A DesignMerge variable article link can merge an InDesign Tagged Text file that contains variable text links. To accomplish this, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the document, if it is not already open.
    The document is using the DDF that you set up earlier. 
  2. Set up the variable link to be a variable article link.
    The variable link must have Article selected as its Type. To confirm this, open the Variable Links dialog (DesignMerge > Setup > Variable Links). Select the name of the variable link that will merge the text files. This will display that variable link's settings on the right side of the dialog. Select Article for the Type setting, then click OK to save the change and close the dialog. For more information about setting up a variable link to merge a text file, please see Tutorial #1c (Pro Features) in DesignMerge Documentation.
  3. Assign the variable article link to a text frame in the document.
    Last, the variable article link must be assigned to a text frame. Do not assign the article link to a selection of text. Instead, use the InDesign Selection tool to select the text frame. Then, use the DesignMerge panel (DesignMerge > View > DesignMerge Panel) to select the settings you wish to assign to this frame, including which variable link and optionally which link rule, and then click the Tag Frame button (or the Assign button if using DesignMerge Catalog). For more information about assigning an article link to a text frame, please see Tutorial #1c (Pro Features) in DesignMerge Documentation.  

That's it! The next time you merge a record into the document, the variable article link will place in the frame whichever text file has been specified for it to merge, and will then also merge any variable text links that have been included in that text file.