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How CatBase and Your Page Layout Program Work Together

CatBase works in partnership with your page layout program (eg QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign) to create your publications. Think of it this way:

CatBase handles the CONTENT

You tell CatBase what data to publish, how to sort it, and which styles to apply to each paragraph or Element within a Paragraph.


The page layout program handles the FORMATTING

You set up a template which contains the basic page objects and your Character and Paragraph Styles.

How they work together

First let's have a quick review of the publishing process:

  1. Get your data into CatBase's database, either by entering it manually or importing it

  2. Create one or more Publishing Projects

  3. Publish the data: this creates a specially tagged text file

  4. Import that text file into a text box in your page layout template

It's the Publishing Style Sheets (which are part of the Publishing Project) that create the link between the data and the page layout program: they tell CatBase what data you want to include in your publication, what rules to follow, how you want it sorted, and how you want it styled.

Setting up CatBase

The styling of the text is handled using Character Style Sheets and Paragraph Style Sheets. Character Style Sheets determine the styling of the text (the font, size, weight, etc.) and Paragraph Style Sheets determine the characteristics of the paragraph (space before and after, indents, leading, etc.). In Adobe InDesign, the basic character styles for a paragraph style are specified in the Paragraph Style; you only need to create Character Styles if you want to have mixed formatting within a paragraph. You create Character and Paragraph Style Sheets in both CatBase and your page layout template; their names must match exactly. When you publish the data and import it into your page layout template, it will try to match the character and paragraph styles in the data to the ones in the template; if it doesn't find a match, it will create a new one with the CatBase settings.


For example, in a typical catalogue, you might set up a Paragraph Style Sheet called "Product heading" in your page template, and choose a font, style, colour, space before, and indent for that style. In CatBase you'll also create a Paragraph Style Sheet called "Product heading ". In your Publishing Style Sheet you would choose the "Product heading" style as the Paragraph Style for the paragraph that publishes the product names -

Suppose you want to have mixed formatting within a paragraph - for example, perhaps we want to combine two fields of data into one Paragraph: the product name and the pack quantity, something like this:

Chocolate Soldiers pack of 10

To accomplish  this, you select a Paragraph Style for the paragraph and then select a Character Style for the Element that you want to style differently. 

Setting up your Page Layout Template

Remember that the page layout template controls the FORMATTING of your publication.

Basic Page Elements: Master Pages

The first thing you need to do is set up the basic page elements for your publication: these include things like the page number, headers and footers, and probably, a text box to contain your data. These things go on the Master Pages. You modify the Master Pages by double-clicking on them in the Page Layout or Pages palette. For example, in InDesign:

Add your basic page elements to the Master Pages: they will then appear on every page you create. You can add additional Master Pages with different designs; for example, you might have some of your document pages set with a three-column text box, and others with one large single-column text box. Or no text box at all.

Important note! When you publish your CatBase data, you import the published file into a text box in your page layout document. So you must have at least one Master Page with at least one text box on it.


Having set up one or more Master Pages, double-click on an actual page to enter or import the document's content. You'll need to set up some Paragraph Styles and Character Styles, and perhaps some Table Styles as well.

Now, when you publish your data from CatBase and import it into the page layout template, the styles will be applied to the relevant text.

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