One of the most valuable “hidden weapons” for publishers in the past 17 years has been Em Software’s Xdata. This XTension for QuarkXPress lets you automate the building of pages by using placeholders and then importing data from an external file — perhaps from a database. The result can be as simple as an old-fashioned mail-merge (name, address, etc.) or it can involve numerous if/then relationships between sales history, variable images, prices, and other calculations.
Xdata is also fantastic for creating lengthy documents containing lots of similar items, such as:
- financial and legal reports
- conference guides
- real estate guides
- trader and swap magazine
- classified advertising
- phone books
- course listings
- TV guides
It’s also surprisingly affordable at $400, and relatively easy to use.
On October 18-19, a two-day workshop on using Xdata will take place in Denver. Attendees will create several projects such as a directory, a direct-mail postcard, a form letter, a price list, and multi-named business cards.
Discounts are available for members of the IPA, NAQP or NAPL print associations, and for output provider members of Quark’s QuarkAlliance. Additional discounts are available for purchases of Xdata, QuarkXPress, and upgrades to QuarkXPress.
For more information, visit ThePowerXChange or call toll-free (877) 940-0600.
Read All About It
If you can’t attend the workshop but would like to know how Xdata works, have a look at Cyndie Shaffstall’s seven-page walkthrough in X-Ray magazine that explains how to create a project using Xdata.
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.