How to prepare a Microsoft Excel file for use with DesignMerge

To prepare the data in a Microsoft Excel file for use with DesignMerge, follow the steps below:



  1. Place all of the data in a single worksheet in the Excel file.
  2. Format the data in the manner in which you wish it to be imported. Please note this does not refer to the styling of the text (such as Font or Point Size), but to the format of the data (for example: the number and order of the columns; whether text should be in Upper Case, Lower Case, or Title Case; whether numbers should include any decimal digits; whether any formulas should be applied; etc.)
  3. Sort the data in the order in which you wish it to be processed. NOTE: If you will be using this data to produce multiple-up or pre-imposed pages that are ready to be Cut & Stacked, sort the data in the order you wish it to appear after the pages have been cut and stacked. For more information about preparing this type of variable data job, see Tutorial #3 (ID Badges) in the DesignMerge Tutorial Manual, which is available in PDF format in the DesignMerge product folder on your system.
  4. Export the data to a delimited text file format, as described below. 



To export the data in the worksheet to a standard, delimited text file format, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the MS Excel File menu, display the worksheet that contains the data you wish to export, and select Save As. This will open the Save As window.
  2. On the Save As window, select a delimited text file format for the Format. For example, select Comma Separated Values (.csv) or Tab Delimited Text (.txt). If the data contains Unicode characters, select UTF-16 Unicode Text (.txt).
  3. Enter a name for the delimited text file and click Save.
  4. Close the file. If prompted to save the file again, choose Don't Save. Just close the file without saving.
  5. If you saved the data in .csv, .txt, or any other standard format, then the database file is ready for use with DesignMerge. If you saved the data in the UTF-16 Unicode Text format, see the next set of steps.



If you selected UTF-16 Unicode Text as the delimited text file format, convert the file to the UTF-8 Unicode Text format. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the UTF-16 Unicode Text file in a text editing application that can be used to convert the text to the UTF-8 Unicode Text format. For example, open the file in TextWrangler for Macintosh systems or in Notepad++ for Windows systems, or any other text editing application of your choice that provides the ability to convert UTF-16 Unicode data to UTF-8. Please note that Meadows Publishing Solutions is not endorsing any particular text editing products.
  2. Then, save the file as a UTF-8 Unicode Text file and, if available, choose to include the BOM (which will allow the DesignMerge Quick Setup utility to recognize the encoding or Data Type of this file is UTF-8 Unicode).

For an example of saving a Microsoft Excel file as a database file for DesignMerge, see Tutorial #5 (Tips & Tricks) in the DesignMerge Tutorial Manual, available in PDF format in the DesignMerge product folder on your system.


For more information about using Unicode Data with Meadows Software:




DesignMerge® Pro is a powerful suite of variable-data printing and data publishing software for Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress that provides the ability to automatically produce any type of variable data output. The software is used by thousands of customers worldwide.


Anything can be variable, including variable text and pictures, articles, and even complete layouts, and built-in suport is provided for variable USPS Intelligent Mail Bar Codes.


Other major features of DesignMerge include automatic copy-fitting, advanced conditional programming (Rules), and multi-up imposition support. DesignMerge supports all of the major variable data output formats, including PostScript, PPML, PDF/VT, and Creo VPS and is compatible with printers from every major vendor.


In addition, DesignMerge can also be extended to produce variable 2D Bar Codes (QR Codes, PDF417, and Data Matrix) and other types of Linear Bar Codes (Code 128, UPC, Code 39, etc.). DesignMerge is great for creating personalized publications such as invitations, business cards, certificates, custom catalogs, etc.


For more information about DesignMerge, go to





AutoPrice, available as plug-ins for Adobe InDesign or XTensions for QuarkXPress, helps to streamline the production and versioning of catalogs, price lists, retail flyers and financial documents.

AutoPrice provides sophisticated linking of InDesign or QuarkXPress documents to any external database of information (either flat-file, or ODBC). AutoPrice is great for performing price, picture, or text updates for any type of information that can be referenced by a “key value” such as product number (SKU).

  • Saves time by automatically updating information from any flat-file or ODBC-compliant database. No more manual price changes.
  • Allows last-minute revisions so published information is always current & consistent.
  • Reduces errors and speeds proofing.
  • Includes helpful reporting features for the AutoPrice tagged content in your documents.
  • Allows you to instantly swap out product pictures, logos or any type of graphic image.
  • Automate versioning: spin off multiple catalog versions from a single original.
  • Extend AutoPrice with the optional AutoPrice Exporter Pro software to extract data from a QuarkXPress or InDesign document to a database file, which can then be used to populate Web, e-commerce or digital content databases .
  • Extend AutoPrice with the optional AutoPrice PDF Exporter software to produce PDFs that contain hyperlinks based on the AutoPrice Links in your documents.
  • Extend AutoPrice with the optional Meadows 2D Bar Code software to place updatable 2D Bar Codes (QR Codes, PDF417, and Data Matrix) in your documents.

For more information about AutoPrice, go to





Index Builder is a software module for Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress that provides a very powerful set of tools for creating catalog indexes. Unlike standard indexing products, MPS Index Builder was designed to serve the special needs of catalogers, with a number of unique features that make the product ideal for catalog workflows.

You may use Index Builder to automate building both Product and Manufacturer Indexes. Index entries can be up to four levels deep and can be attached to any box or group of boxes (“Product Block”) in your catalog pages. Each tagged box or group can contain up to 10 distinct entries, and the entries are permanently stored with the document content. In addition, if you are one of our many AutoPrice customers, you will also be able to extract SKU information to include in your final index.

The Meadows Index Builder software includes the Meadows Index Tagger™ feature which provides an easy interface to tag the boxes or groups in your documents with index entries. You may enter index entries into Index Tagger by hand at any time, or you may import index entries from a tab-separated text file. Since most catalogers already have a hand-built index from the last catalog, it is quite easy to import the old index, make changes, and start tagging for the future. Index entries can also be saved, exported and shared by any other workstation.

Many catalogers create their catalog as separate pages, spreads, or sections, requiring that the index span across hundreds of individual documents. The built-in batch processing feature of MPS Index Builder will process any number of individual QuarkXPress or InDesign documents in a single session. A complete index can be created within minutes and can be updated at any time.

Imagine, querying a database application for SKU information, dragging a fully-formatted product block onto your QuarkXPress or InDesign page, automatically updating pricing or other information within the block, and then cranking out a catalog index. All this is possible using the Meadows suite of catalog software!

For more information about Index Builder, go to



Copyright © Meadows Information Systems, LLC d/b/a Meadows Publishing Solutions. All rights reserved worldwide.

DesignMerge is a registered trademark of Meadows Information Systems, LLC.

AutoPrice is a trademark of Meadows Information Systems, LLC.

Index Builder and Index Tagger are trademarks of Meadows Information Systems, LLC.

Adobe and InDesign are registered trademarks of Adobe, Inc.

Quark, QuarkXPress and XTensions are registered trademarks of Quark, Inc.