EasyCatalog for InDesign is a Plug-in (for both Mac and Windows) that offers a truly simple, intuitive drag-and-drop interface. As the name implies, EasyCatalog is easy to set up and use. Simply connect to a datasource, insert placeholders into your document from the EasyCatalog Panel, apply formatting as you usually would to design elements, group related elements together into a “Product Style,” store your Product Styles in an EasyCatalog Library, and then populate copies of your product styles with records from your database.
No database? No problem! EasyCatalog works just as well from a file.
By itself, EasyCatalog works with standard tab- or comma-delimited text files from a database. Photos can be imported if the info is included in the database file, either by full path name or just the image name if the images are stored in a predetermined location. The latter is a nice option since the images can quickly be moved and the location updated in the field options.
Add-on modules are available for more advanced features including:
- ODBC Data Provider for creating two-way links to a database including FileMaker and Access (this requires setup with the OS)
- Relational for working with multiple data sources
- XML Data Provider for importing data directly from an XML file
- Pagination, which is required for doing advanced paginated layouts
Unlike other products, EasyCatalog does not load data directly into a document, but into a special panel having the form of a table. The structure of this table is intelligently determined during import and depends on the nature of the data and on user-defined criteria.
The layout of the data table can be fully controlled by the you. Options include selection of different sorting order or hiding of selected columns. Filtered view is also available, using structured queries, which can be saved for repeated use (also with other tables).
Image insertion is also supported, offering automatic resizing or alignment upon insertion or replacement of missing images. Any inserted data can be subsequently edited.
Check for Errors
EasyCatalog can check the integrity of your documents to ensure the document content matches the data source. Reduce costly mistakes by checking the document for errors — EasyCatalog will highlight fields on the document and in the panel whose content does not match the original data.
So why should you invest in EasyCatalog? Because it allows:
- Live-linked data
When data is inserted into your document from the datasource, it is linked. If the database is updated, all it takes is a couple clicks in InDesign to synchronize with the datasource and all values in your layout update.
Bi-directional data flow
You can also force changes in your InDesign document to update the database. In other words, you can use InDesign as a data entry tool. (This requires that your administrator gives you read/write access to the database.)
Construct complex, design-oriented, pages in seconds containing data from your data source — it’s as simple as selecting a record from your EasyCatalog panel and dragging your library design to the page.
“EasyCatalog from 65bit Software is the only Plug-in to offer a truly simple, intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Connect to a datasource, insert placeholders into your document from the EasyCatalog Panel, apply formatting as you usually would to design elements, group related elements together into a “Product Style,” store your Product Styles in an EasyCatalog Library, and then populate copies of your product styles with records from your database.” David Blatner, CreativePro.com
See comparison chart in product images for feature differences between EasyCatalog and EasyCatalog Lite.