One of the most powerful, unique, and longstanding XTensions for QuarkXPress is Xdata — we’ve mentioned it several times in the past. Now, in the first of a series of online videos, The PowerXChange shows you exactly how to use it to generate everything from business cards to directories, catalogs and calendars.
I’m happy to see this video made available online — not only was I inspired to apply it to some of the tasks we do here at Design Tools Monthly, I also learned the basics of how to use it.
If you use QuarkXPress to produce any kind of repetitive task, I encourage you to spend a few minutes watching this concise, fast-paced demonstration of how it works, here.
And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a description copied from an earlier story, Xdata Updated for QuarkXPress 8, about Xdata:
Xdata 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.
You create a QuarkXPress “template” that defines how you want the information to look, then Xdata imports and automatically formats data you’ve exported from a database or spreadsheet. In addition, Xdata can import specific pictures that are cited in the template and the data file. It can manipulate text from inside individual data fields and create “directory-style” headers and footers on each page or spread.
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.