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How do I create variable data cards from illustrator and excel or a csv?

To create variable data cards using Illustrator and Excel, you can follow these general steps:

  1. Prepare your Excel data: Organize your data in Excel, with each row representing a unique data entry. Make sure you have a column for each variable you want to include in your data cards. For example, if you want to include names and addresses, you would have separate columns for the first name, last name, street address, city, etc.

  2. Design your card template in Illustrator: Create the design for your data card template in Adobe Illustrator. Set up the layout, add graphical elements, and leave empty areas or placeholders for the variable data fields. You can use text boxes, frames, or shapes to define these areas.

  3. Import data into Illustrator: In Illustrator, go to "File" > "Import" and choose your Excel file. Illustrator will prompt you to select the worksheet and define import options. Make sure to select the appropriate worksheet and set up the import options correctly.

  4. Create variables: With the data imported, go to the "Window" menu and choose "Variables" to open the Variables panel in Illustrator. Click on the "Create Variables" button at the bottom of the panel. A dialog box will appear, allowing you to specify which columns from your Excel data you want to use as variables. Select the columns that correspond to the variable fields in your card template.

  5. Define text fields: Select the text fields or areas in your card template that should be populated with variable data. In the Variables panel, click on the "Make Text Dynamic" button. This will link the selected text fields to the corresponding variables.

  6. Generate multiple data cards: In the Variables panel, click on the "Create Data Set" button. Illustrator will generate multiple copies of your card template, each populated with the data from your Excel file. You can preview the resulting data cards and make adjustments if needed.

  7. Export or print: Once you're satisfied with the variable data cards, you can either export them as separate files or print them directly from Illustrator.

Note: The steps provided are a general guideline, and the exact process may vary depending on the specific version of Illustrator you're using. It's recommended to refer to Adobe's official documentation or user guides for detailed instructions based on your Illustrator version.

If you are unsure of this we recommend you create a sample file with three records. You can send this to us at and ask us to check your file. We are happy to do this.