Image Merge With Layout Control
January 20, 2012 7:53 AM Subscribe
I'm trying to determine if there is an easier way than using Excel/Word to do a layout image merge from a database. Windows 7 standard Office Suite or freeware preferred.
posted by meinvt to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I'm working on board game design that uses iconography in standard ways and repetitive patterns. In the past I've done this sort of effort by hand, most recently using Inkscape and Scribus, along with Photoshop. I have also done simple text work with Word, track components with Excel, etc.
I'm now embarking on an effort that I can anticipate will require lots of tweaking of fine data and I want to avoid wasted effort recreating layouts every time I make a change in the icons or associated numbers and text. The ideal way to track the game related data is probably an excel spreadsheet.
From my searching, it is theoretically possible to get word to do image imports and try to lay out tiles/cards within that program and use mail merge to automate generation of a new set of printable materials when I make changes. But, I have also seen that the process is finicky and a bit buggy requiring some workarounds (such as always merging to a new document, then selecting all in the new document and f9 to refresh the data). Also, getting Word to preserve any sort of useful layout for this, I can already anticipate will be a nightmare.
Before I start on that track I'm interested in whether the Hive Mind has a suggestion of better/easier tools for this. I'm not averse to a bit of investment, but probably can't stretch as far as a tool like InDesign (though I'd be curious if it has a mode for this).