How do I assign unique codes to my DIY tickets?
August 22, 2008 7:52 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to merge data from a spreadsheet with Photoshop?

I'm looking to print off tickets with unique codes on each, is there a way to merge a spreadsheet of data with Photoshop for printing? Or any other suggestions on how to go about this?
posted by perpetualstroll to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
I have to admit that I would probably do this The Hard Way.

I'd print out X copies of the tickets, with no number on them. Then I would put that (printed) paper back in the printer, and use something else to just print the list of ticket numbers. Using word with mail merge would probably work.

If that was going to be too tedious or there were too many tickets for that to really be feasible, then I would probably save my ticket as an image, and use something like ImageMagick, which is a command-line image manipulation tool, to paste the ticket #s on top. Actually now that I think about it, I'd probably do that first.

If no one comes up with a better solution, PM me and I can probably whip something up for you.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:12 AM on August 22, 2008

Yes. It's called "data-driven graphics." There's pretty extensive help on this in Photoshop. You can do it in Illustrator too.
posted by adamrice at 8:14 AM on August 22, 2008

You can merge a PDF with data in Acrobat Pro, too. It has a more intuitive interface, but it can only do textual merges as opposed to PS's flexibility with layers, etc.
posted by cowbellemoo at 8:29 AM on August 22, 2008

You can use Photoshops javascript capabilities to read the values from a text file and write them to the appropriate place in the Photoshop file. There's a Photoshop scripting forum that might be helpful.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:37 AM on August 22, 2008

If you have InDesign, this is super simple. Place your Photoshop ticket as a graphic, then place text fields over it for the numbers. Search InDesign Help for "data merge" and it will explain how to link your spreadsheet and turn your text into data fields.
posted by junkbox at 8:50 AM on August 22, 2008

This primer on photoshop scripting can probably be tweaked to do what you want. But I agree that it's ridiculously simple with InDesign.
posted by O9scar at 9:00 AM on August 22, 2008

As adamrice says, "Data Drive Graphics" are the feature that you're looking for here - See here for a guide.

Note that this is CS3 only - before that there was a similar feature in ImageReady that you can probably use.
posted by OldMansHands at 9:41 AM on August 22, 2008

I think that something like data-driven graphics (perhaps not by that name) has been a part of Illustrator for a very long time.
posted by adamrice at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2008

If you have InDesign, you should really do it there. Make the ticket in Photoshop and then place it and draw text boxes in InDesign using the techniques suggested above. It will be much faster to print this way, because printing separately from PS will be a pain; it would take forever to rasterize/flatten everything on the way to the print driver every time.

Alternatively you could set up a mail merge in Word using text boxes over top of a graphic if you don't have InDesign. This would probably be the simplest way of doing it.
posted by PixelatorOfTime at 12:16 PM on August 22, 2008

Holy crap, I never knew this was possible! Bookmark!
posted by radioamy at 9:03 PM on August 25, 2008

Just for future readers, one of the most advanced programs for this kind of thing is made by Kodak and called Darwin. It can do text replacement, graphics replacement, change colors, and even do logic-based operations. It really makes you think about how to design your documents so they are dynamically compatible (i.e. leave room for more text here, what colors/graphics can be changed based on an entry's value in a database category, etc.). You will never think about design the same again.
posted by PixelatorOfTime at 10:07 PM on August 29, 2008

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