New Plugins for Catalog Automation Released

Plugins for Catalog Creation 

Catsy is proud to announce that we have officially released InDesign CC plugins for both Windows and Mac. There are some major changes under the hood, although we’ve kept the UI and functionality the same in order to remove any learning curve for existing clients.

Catsy Product Information Management Interoperates With Adobe InDesign CC

Some new Features / Benefits of the all-new CC plugins for Catsy:

1) First true 64-bit plugins. Allows you to take advantage of the latest powerful Operating Systems and the latest software (such as InDesign CC) optimized to run on them.

2) First plugins to no longer require Java. This means the plugins are self-contained, and installing / updating the plugins is much easier. There is no longer a 2nd component (the Java “jar” file) that needs updating.

3) Re-written to take advantage of today’s hardware. Besides being designed for the 64-bit platform, the latest version of Catsy plugins are optimized to take advantage of the latest advances in graphics acceleration hardware, multi-core CPU’s, and machines with > 4GB RAM.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Catsy InDesign plugins, here is a breakdown of the Top 6 most-used plugins and a brief summary of what they do:

Template Builder

This plugin allows you to take standard text & image frames within InDesign and assign Catsy database “tags” to them. You can pre-style the templates using any combination of paragraph, cell, object, table styles, etc. Using your choice of fields, as well as different output options for each field, gives you unlimited combinations of potential templates you can create. The goal is to maximize automation while at the same time enforcing your branding and styling preferences.

Content Sprayer

This plugin reads the Catsy templates, complete with database tags, and allows you to “Spray” any number of your products. If you use the same template for all 118 products in your “Flatware” section, for example, then you can perform a “Section Spray” and all 118 products will be brought to the InDesign page using the exact styling, fitting options, etc. designated from your template.

Frame Refresh

Once you’ve sprayed your initial document, most people will use that document as a “proof” to see what data is good and what data needs updating in the database. Even if you have your data pretty much squared away, it’s inevitable that at some point after spraying the document..something will have changed in the database before you’re ready to publish. This is where the Frame Refresh plugin comes into play. You can select as many frames as you’d like, and the “Refresh” will then go back to the database for those selected fields and retrieve the latest values. There is no limit to how often this can be done; once your data is tagged, it has a two-way communication line back to the live database!

Create Index

So, you have 800 pages of newly-sprayed catalog. Now what about the Index? What used to be a painful exercise in tedium can now be done by simply adding your document(s) to a book and clicking “Create Index”! You choose which fields to base your index off of, and whether or not you want 1, 2 or 3 indexes merged into a single document. Then, the plugin happily plugs away through all 800 pages, matching these tags to the page numbers, and spits out an Index file in minutes that would have taken a team of designers WEEKS to come up with.

Update Catsy

In the vast majority of cases, the marketing people will be updating the database and the designers will be spraying or refreshing that information onto the actual InDesign page. In some cases, people want the ability to be able to correct a mistake they see in the document and PUSH it back to the database. This can eliminate playing email tag notifying someone of a typo or incorrect data, and then waiting for them to get around to fixing it, so you can update the document. With Update Catsy, you can fix it yourself and then update the database with no middleman.

Document Cleaner

Behind scenes, InDesign stores tagged data and the frames they reside in, in a format called XML. While you can’t see what’s going on, every little frame you delete from your document is accounted for in that XML. It doesn’t get rid of it when you “delete” something; it assumes you’ll want to retrieve it as some point, even when you don’t. What this means is that over time, your document becomes “dirty” in the sense that these orphaned tags and frames continue to be collected. This unnecessarily bloats up the file size of your document, and just slows down your day to day operations by wading through this junk. The Document Cleaner allows you analyze the document, where it quickly comes back with a total number of frames versus “unused” or unnecessary frames. Then, it gives you the opportunity to clean your document and overwrite the old copy. In extreme cases, this procedure can reduce the filesize to 10% of its original size, and make working within the document much more responsive.