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This post on catalog merge in Microsoft Publisher is brought to you by Bob deLaubenfels.
If you run a retail business, the holiday buying season is vital. If you're considering producing a holiday catalog, take a look at using the Publisher catalog merge feature. Publisher can connect to an existing inventory data source, such as a database, a spreadsheet, or even a text file, and use that inventory to create your catalog.
If you don't have Publisher, you can download the trial version and try it for free or buy it.
Catalog merge in Publisher is similar to mail merge in Word or Publisher, only instead of merging names and addresses you are merging product names, prices, and pictures. When you use catalog merge, you create a catalog merge template publication, and then you combine--or merge--this template with information from your data source to generate catalog pages.
This means that you can create your catalog template once and then update it with your newest information whenever you want by simply re-merging the new data with the catalog template. You can also update the pictures in your catalog to quickly change from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year's.
Getting your catalog ready for the holiday rush involves six basic stages. I'm giving you a quick overview of the logic of it all here. You’ll find step-by-step instructions for each stage in my help articles on Office.com:
No surprise here. Before you begin your catalog merge, you need to think through what you want it to contain. The most obvious examples are:
After you decide what data to include in your catalog, you can create the data source that you will use for your catalog merge. If you already have a data source, you can make sure it contains all the information that you want to include.
The Publisher catalog merge can use a variety of data source formats or even generate one for you. You can also create a data source in an Excel worksheet or a Word table, or in Access, or as a text file in Notepad. The Help articles I linked to will tell you how.
When your data source is all set, you can create your catalog merge template document, which is where you actually design the layout of your catalog pages. Connect to your inventory data source
After you format your catalog merge template page, the next step is to create or locate and connect to your data source.
Now you get specific about how to arrange the information for each item (name, price, description, etc.), and how many items to fit on each page, and preview the results.
This includes the finishing touches: Creating or updating the covers and then using the Pack and Go Wizard in Publisher to take the complete catalog to a commercial printer, or printing it yourself. Again, you'll find full step-by-step instructions in the help file link for your version of Publisher.
Catalog merge, along with everything else in Publisher 2010, has moved to the ribbon. After you insert the catalog pages, the process simply starts on the left of the Catalog Tools Format tab and moves step by step to the right.
For more information about Publisher 2010, please see our Getting Started page.
-- Bob deLaubenfels