Ch. 029 Variable Data Template Creation - An Example

The option to upload a database file to populate the template fields is only available in the Forms Based version of eDocBuilder. Below is an example of the process using a simple Name tag product. It is assumed you are already familiar with the basics of creating a standard forms based template.

1) Create the new document in the same manner as any other conventional document. In this example we have three fields (Name, Company, and Venue). Two of them will be populated by a database file (excel or csv) that will be uploaded during the customization process and one will be chosen by a drop down list of possible options the user will choose from.

2) Upload the master PDF to eDocBuilder. For this example we will not use any images and we will use the default Arimo Font that is included with the system.

3) Set the properties for the Name Field. Refer to the image below. You can see we set the field type to Text, and set "Variable Data File" for the Data for the field. Data Capture is not needed for Variable Data fields.

4) Format the font and size under the Format tab. If you want the text to be white, make sure to set the color value to zero.

5) Save the formatting for this field. Then set up the Company field in the same way. Since we are discussing the variable data option we will not go into the setup of the third field (the venue). You can refer to the standard drop down formatting of a text field from previous chapters if you need help.

6) Commit Changes.

7) Test the template.

  1. The first step is to upload a database file to the template. The supported file types for the database file are CSV, XLS, and XLSX.
  2. Update Preview
  3. The fields that need to be mapped will display
  4. Map the fields with the columns in the database
  5. Update Preview once more
  6. File Upload Complete Message displays

File Upload complete message contains, the number of total records and lets the user know how many records they are able to preview.

If the field names are the same as the column headers in the database file, the match will happen automatically.

Note: This pop up appears when six or more records are uploaded. Five and under will go directly to the next step since all pages will part of the preview. The drop-down next to Page allows you to select the row of data you want to preview, and will allow you to preview up to 100 records.


Variable data templates create a proof file with the full set of records even though the customization of the template will only show the first 100 rows.

The proof file will contain all records so that if someone needs to approve the order all records can be checked. The preview when customizing the template is to verify that all fields are aligned correctly and so only shows the first few records.