Variable Data Printing is printing of a set of documents with mostly shared elements, except for certain text, or images that change from document to document. In Flexi, this starts with designing a template by loading a sample file and assigning which elements are to be used for variable data, and then specify the data to be used to instantiate those elements.
Besides image and regular text, barcode, data matrix, and Braille text can also be used for variable data.
Variable Data Toolbar
The design tools for this can be accessed from the Variable Data Toolbar:
To open the toolbar, choose from the menu File > Variable Data. Or choose View >Toolbars, and check the box for Variable Data.
Create: This is the tool to assign a text or image to be used for variable data. Select one of such objects and then click on this tool to create a variable data object. Note that this should be done on a top-level object. For example, if a text object has an effect on top of it, the effect object should be selected instead, so that it will be applied to the substitutions.
The tool uses the following DesignCentral page for options:
Keyword: This is the string to identify this element, for title and for looking up the CSV data files.
Variable String: This is the part of the text that will be substituted. It can be a substring of the selected text.
Width & height: These define the clipping box of the element. If the substituted string or image exceeds this box, they’ll be either scaled to fit to this box or be clipped.
Scale to fit: If the instantiated string or image exceeds the clipping box, whether to scale it to fit.
Proportional: If there is a need to scale to fit, whether to have equal X&Y scales.
Alignment: How to position an image with smaller size.
Edit Data: This tool is for loading and editing data to be used for the variable data. It displays the following dialog:
1. Data list: It shows the date currently assigned.
2. New: Add a new entry. Click on the data list to type the strings directly.
3. Delete: Remove the selected entry.
4. Clear: Remove all entries
5. Load Data File: Add the data from a text file (tab delimited) or a CSV file.
Open: Open a template (from the /Variable Data folder).
Save: Save the Variable Data template.
Save as: Save the current document as a Variable Data template.
Preview: Display the pages after the data has been applied.
After the data has been applied, the document can be exported as a PDF file that can be added to Production Manager for output.
RIP and Print Dialog Variable Data Page
The data can be loaded instead (or further edited) in the RIP and Print Dialog, on the Variable Data tab. It is similar to the Edit Variable Data dialog from the main design window, except for 2 additional options:
-Apply Variable Data: Whether the data will be applied or just printing the template.
-Preview: Whether to display the final pages after applying the data in the preview window.
The data added here is also saved with the .fs file.
Switch the preview mode to “Page Preview” to browse through the pages.
Note: When the job is sent to Production Manager from here, the data is applied and can no longer be edited. But Production Manager can display the final output pages for this job.
Production Manager Variable Data Page
The Variable Data template (or .fs file) can also be used in Production Manager to generate variable data output. To do that, add the .fs file to the job queue, and open Job Properties dialog for this file. It will have an extra tab for assigning and editing the data, which is similar to the one in the RIP and Print dialog. Use the page preview to browse through the pages.