Variable Data Printing

Variable Data Printing

Variable Data

What is variable data?

Variable data printing is a form of printing that allows different elements of the design be changed for each printed piece. Elements that can be changed include text, graphics, and images. 

What program should I use?

We recommend using Adobe Indesign to create your file that you want the variable data to be used in. You can also use Adobe Illustrator as well as other variable data compatible design programs, but we have found that Indesign is able to do everything that we need to be able to. 

What do I need to set up in my file?

If you want your design file to be used for variable data, we ask that you setup your entire design, but in the places that you want variable data to be used, insert placeholder text. This placeholder text should be identical to the name of the column header of your data file (see below for more information).

Creating the data file

For any variable data printing, we need to know the data that is to be put on each piece. We recommend using a spreadsheet software such as Excel or the free Open Office to create your data file. Each row in the file represents a printed piece, and each column represents the element that will be changed. If you want to personalize letters, for example, you would have a column in your spreadsheet named 'First Name' and 'Last Name', and each row would have a different person's first and last name. Then, in your design file, anywhere you would want to have those printed, you would put the placeholder text 'First Name' or 'Last Name' in your document. Once we have the design file and the data file, we then combine them into the finished file for the press. 
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