Creating Tickets on Publisher with auto-number

An awesome new feature to has been introduced to Microsoft Publisher 2010 is the ability to use Data Sources to create "Catalogue Pages". This is like a Mail Merge for design documents. Now, I would have to agree that Publisher isn't the best graphic design program in the market. But it's certainly adequate for simple ticket designs — for example, for a school social. Let's say we want each ticket to have a unique number and an inspiration quote. This is all possible through Publisher and a data source, e.g. an Excel Spreadsheet.

Files used to produce this:

Step 1: Preparing the Data Source

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We need to create a spreadsheet (table) with all the ticket numbers and their matching quotes. So, it's as simple as that. Do something like this:

(Remember the first row is a heading!)

Ticket Number Quote
1 Quote #1
2 Quote #2

You can auto-fill the first column by:

  1. entering 1 and 2 in rows 2 and 3
  2. selecting the two cells (drag from cell A2 to A3)
  3. clicking on the black square on the lower right and dragging the cross hair down until you reach the desired number

Save this Excel spreadsheet.

Step 2: Preparing Publisher

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Firstly, launch Publisher and select your page size.

The first thing you would want to do is to remove all margins. When we print these pages, we don't want a border around each full page, instead, we want it on every "ticket". So, do remove margins:
1. Select the Page Design tab
2. Margins > None

Step 3: Merging the data with Publisher

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  1. Select the Insert tab
  2. Click Catalog Pages and a new page is created
  3. Select the Format tab for Catalog Tools
  4. Choose Add List > Use Existing List
  5. Navigate and locate your spreadsheet. Click Open to open
  6. Select the Sheet you create the table on (normally Sheet1)
  7. Check that the data has been loaded in the table and click OK

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Step 4: Laying out the ticket

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Don't get too tempted with the preset layouts!

To get started with a blank template, simply determine the number of rows and columns you want page page. It works rather like the "table" creator on Word. For this example, I chose a 2x4 (two columns, four rows) layout.

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You will now see a "Catalog Merge Area". You'll be able to enter anything in here — plus the data fields we created in the Excel document previously. This area is duplicated automatically 8 times per page (because my example is 2x4)!

Now, you can start putting images and text into here. But you can also insert the ticket number and inspirational quote in by inserting a Text Field. Clicking on those will add autofill textboxes into the merge area.

Your Finished Product

Once design is complete, you're ready to print. Just print this document as you would normally do and you're done :)

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