Cap Force One​ Team Guidebook​
Presentation Decks 101

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Presentation Deck Hacks

How to auto generate lots of presentation slides using an Excel spreadsheet

This (above) is how I set up my excel spreadsheet to auto generate many Indesign slides. (I had to make sure to concatenate all the file names under the “image” column with .jpg so that images could be named (XYZ_.jpg)- I used the concatenate function, copied the values over (ONLY values, not formula), then deleted the old dependencies column.

I saved my spreadsheet as a .txt TAB DELIMITED text file. This has done better for me than CSVs in the past for whatever reason.
I set up my document in inDesign as I would normally, creating text variables for each column name of the excel spreadsheet I had a variable for.
Then, I implement the InDesign data merge function. Windows → Utilities → Data Merge.
I click the top right icon with the little grid icons to specify where my data source is coming from and select “Select Data Source”.
You can click each of your header keys (the column name titles) to put in your variables to your template doc. They will be formatted like this : <<headerkeyname>>
After you import your data source you will see this:

For your images – make sure they are aligned from the top, and “filled frame proportionally”.

Debugging: make SURE your excel/txt file does NOT have any quotation marks. If the cel ever had quotes in it, your text file will have hidden quotes. Make sure to verify in Text Edit (find – replace) that you have no wild quotes. Apostrophes are fine. Data Merge cannot import items if they have a rogue quote.


After all your variables are implemented and you have previewed your document, Click “Create Merged Document” in the top right of your modal.
Then, wait a moment for your files to generate aaandd… Ta-da! 14 new files generated with all your correct files!

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.