Data Merge not populating fields CC2019
I use Data Merge for variable data production every day. I am using IDCC2019 v14.0.1. iMac 27 inch late 2013. OS High Sierra 10.13.6. Processor 3.2 GHz Intel Core i5. 16 GB memory.
This problem started with IDCC2019. I link to .csv for data merge. When exporting to PDF, I choose a record range – for example 1-1000. In the PDF result, the first page is not the first record. It is a random record in the middle – for example, 319. It merges records 319-1000. Then the remaining pages of the 1000 page output are not populated – in the PDF, it will have only the placeholders, such as <<Name>> <<Address>>. This happens sporadically but frequently. I cannot say a similar problem never occurred with an earlier version of ID, but I do not remember ever having this precise problem before CC2019. To clarify – it successfully merges many of the records, but starts with a random record in the middle, not the first. Then the unpopulated records are at the end of the PDF output, and I am missing the records that should have been at the beginning. It is very strange. I cannot provide steps to reproduce the problem because it is a random ocurrence. For starters I would just like to know if anyone else has experienced this same problem. Thank you in advance.
The fix for this issue is now available in the Beta builds of InDesign.
You can download the latest Beta build from the Downloads section of InDesign Prerelease portal.
1. Go to adobeprerelease.com
2. Log in with your Adobe Id.
3. Once logged in, search for “InDesign CC Prerelease” program in the list.
4. Click on the program to join the same.
5. You can now download the build (22.214.171.1242) from “Builds and Plugins” section on the page.
6. The steps for installing the build can be found in the release notes
Adobe InDesign team
The data merge placeholders appears because the merge was canceled in progress. The recursive count variable didn't reset along with the cancellation, so when the merge begin anew, it pick up right where it left off until it reaches the end. After that, there are no more records to merge, so it just left the placeholder in place and count until it have the right number. Once the bad merge completes though, it does reset the variable and the next job merge just fine to our endless frustration.
Closing the file alone does not reset the recursive count variable. ID must close completely after stopping the cancelled merge to reset the count and not have the placeholder appears.
To answer your questions:
• Records per Document page: Single Or Multiple
• Does it happen with preview ON?
Next time we discover the problem (because it appears "randomly"), we will have an eye on the preview!
• Can the Data source file and template be shared?
Next time we discover the problem, I will send you the files - if possible.
Data Merge is broken in InDesign 2019. First off the ISO must be correct when creating the CSV or the import fails completely half the time, also I've had multiple occasions where a data source works fine in a new document w/o formatting, but not in a document that has any previous formatting — data merged or not.
We have the same problem here at our office. We have a lot of data merge jobs, but the problem first appeard with Indesign CC19. We also get placeholders at the end of the PDF - as many records as were missing at the start of the document. We quit Indesign and open the file again, data merges as PDF - and everything is fine! This problem appears on different iMacs (e.g. iMac Retina 5K, 2017, MacOS 10.12.6, Indesign 14.0.1). Sometimes we have this problem, sometimes we merge without any troubles.
Lab Man commented
It just happened again. This time, the job was a letter with no barcode. To be precise – I did 11 separate outputs, using 5 InDesign files linked to 5 different .csv files. The reason there are more outputs than files – I output in batches with large .csv files.
After I finished outputting all of them, I checked the PDF results – all 11 of them. It just so happened – the 2nd output was bad. This was from the 2nd file, first output. The csv file being used has 4218 records. The bad output was for records 1-2000. In the bad output, the first record is 92. It finishes through record 2000. Then the last part of the output is unpopulated. The very next output batch using the same list – for records 2001-4218 - was OK.
After noticing the faulty output, I did not quit InDesign. I just tried opening up the file, and reexporting records 1-2000. the result was good - no problem! So there was no need to quit InDesign and relaunch.
But this problem has got to be fixed. Otherwise, I can't trust my output and I waste time checking the final record of each and every export. There is another operator here, using an iMac, same version of InDesign, but he is running Sierra instead of High Sierra. He has not encountered this problem yet. He doesn't do as much data work as I do, so not as much opportunity.
If it matters – it seems the number of bad records in the faulty output is never a lot. Like with the example just now – out of 2000, it was only the first 91 records missing. This is always the case – a small percentage of the output is in error. It's always random, but always a small part that's no good.
I hope this all makes sense. Surely someone else has seen this problem?
Lab Man commented
I trashed preferences, thinking that might help but it didn't. I experienced the issue again just now. Today I have output several different files using many different csv files with Data Merge. I had 8 successful outputs. Then the same issue happened again – records not populating. I was alerted to the problem because I am using USPS IMB barcode font. Outputting using X-4 standard, and I get a missing glyph error. This is because the font only has 4 glyphs – F-A-T-D – and when the barcode field does not populate, the error comes up. It is a good way to catch the problem. But the font is not related to the problem – I have had this same merge issue when not using the barcode font. No missing glyphs then. The only way to catch the error in that case is open the PDF, check the last record – if it's populated, ID output correctly. Because the error always happens at the end of the output.
Quitting out of InDesign and relaunching corrects the problem. But it will happen again with some later output. It is random. Has anyone else had this issue, or a similar issue – ID not populating the fields when exporting a PDF using Data Merge?
To reiterate – on the faulty output, the merge begins with a random record, and outputs all records thereafter, to the end of the csv. Then the remaining pages of the PDF result have unpopulated fields. So for example, I am exporting a list with 4089 records. ID might start the output with record 812. It will output records 812 - 4089. Then it will finish the output and create a PDF that is the correct page count for 4089 records. But the first 811 records are missing, and the last 811 in the PDF are not populated.
If I don't catch it, we end up with a bad print run, or worse a bad mailing. It's a serious problem. Thank you for any input.