As designers, the first step in taking our thoughts from a physical space to a digital one is often transcribing them from stickies and whiteboards into spreadsheets.

This allows for greater collaboration with partners, advanced handling of data and information, and documentation.

Transforming these spreadsheets into effective communication tools for presentations or workshops isn’t so easy.

Wrangling the multitude of unique data bits and making sure the text is styled correctly, color coded, and easily updatable can be time consuming and frustrating at best frustrating at best, but transforming a sea of data into something visual is a powerful tool and will be well worth your efforts.

One tool we find useful for streamlining this process is InDesign’s Data Merge feature. Data Merge transforms large volumes of spreadsheet data into neat and orderly things like sheets of mailing labels, directories, or even infographics. Data Merge takes the information you have in your spreadsheet and automatically places it in repeating elements within an InDesign file.

We find Data Merge particularly useful when creating communication tools specific to the service design field like service blueprints, concept cards, and others things that require a lot of complicated data to be presented in a consistent manner. Data Merge helps us to produce these tools with ease while avoiding tedious and error-prone tasks like text styling and copy-pasting of repeating elements. You can think of the Data Merge function like an automated copy-paste ability on steroids.

Source: Easier, Better, Faster, Stronger – ONE Design Community – Medium

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