The data automation is currently a closed beta release. During this time, we'll only be selecting a few key partners to participate. You can apply if you’re interested and we’ll let you know if you are accepted.
Who can benefit from using it?
It can help marketers, graphic designers or agents working in retail-wholesale, finance, real-estate, education or marketing agencies. It’s perfect for whoever is involved in producing a large volume of catalogs, by copying data from an external database into presentations or catalogs.
The purpose of the automator is to help you and your team save time by automating the boring parts of the process, providing you a break from the tedious and repetitive task of copy-pasting.
Let’s dive straight in and find out how we’ll make your catalog production workflow more productive and efficient.
1. Connect to a data source
First, you need to connect your data source to your Flipsnack workspace. Go to the main dashboard and click Automation. Now, choose your data source: Excel, CSV or connect to a Google spreadsheet.
The file can be structured however you want, but if you need to view an example, download our sample CSV file, and use it as a starting point.
In the next step, our system will ask you to identify which information from the file you'd like to have displayed in your product list in the Design Studio. However, at this point, we are not actually making a smart template, or connect your catalog to your spreadsheet.
2. Make a design template for automation
Now you can start designing your catalog template. If you have a ready-made template that you wish to use, go ahead and click edit, then skip to the part where I explain how to “create dynamic fields”
But let’s assume that you’re starting from scratch (recommended).
Start by designing for a single product Add individual text boxes for each type of information that you want to display for each product (Product name, Price, Description, Ingredients, Weight, Colour …). You can add an image as well, if you have images in your product feed or CSV. Make the design for one product info box. While designing, make sure your product boxes aren’t too small. The price is probably going to be just 1 line of text, but maybe the Ingredients list is going to take up 5-6 rows of text. You could even fill in all the boxes with real info if you wanted.
In addition to text boxes and images, you can add other elements in your design as well (shapes or icons).
Also, in order to avoid confusion later, it would be better to open the Layers panel and rename all layers according to the type of information they contain.
3. Create Dynamic fields / Smart fields
At this point, your design contains regular text boxes, and maybe images as well, and you need to turn them into dynamic fields. This way our system will know what type of info to display in each text box. In order to do so, select one or more text boxes, then click the Connect icon which is located right next to the trash icon, on the top right. It will open a popup, which will ask you to match text boxes with data from within your file.
4. Duplicate info boxes and pages
This is useful if you’re building the template from scratch. If you’re not, you’ll just have to do a lot more manual mapping. Skip to the next step.
First, select all the elements of the design and click Group. Duplicate this first product info design with the Copy option. Arrange the items on the page as you wish.
If you want to have 20 pages all formatted exactly the same way, add 20 blank pages by clicking +. Then select all the elements you have on the first page, go to the Layers panel and click the Add on all pages button.
Now you’ll just have to make a design for the catalog front cover, back cover, and you’re done designing your first Smart Template for automation!
5. Add products with drag and drop
All you have to do now is to drag and drop products from the Automation tab over the smart field groups. Repeat for each product.
When you’re ready to, turn your product catalog into a flipbook and publish it.
Catalog automation made simple!