Author: cpr

DocsFlow at Agidea

Matt Dunton, digital UX (user experience) designer at Agidea, has written a very helpful overview of their use of DocsFlow and how it solves “the problem of inflexible workflow between copy and designers.”

The background:

Our problem at Agidea was that we wanted to create high quality, illustrated, on-brand documents, that could be reused and easily updated in Indesign when required, with copy and design kept separate, so that copy editors didn’t have to go into the graphics package. Because of the lack of flexibility with integrating copy and visual designs, as a work around in the past, we have used Word or Powerpoint as these are easy for content editors, despite delivering less professional visual layouts.

After adopting DocsFlow:

This has simplified Agidea’s process for print document creation, making it a much more flexible and joined up process. Gone are the days of the designer waiting patiently for the copy to be finalised, and correspondingly the copy writer having to meet a fixed deadline set by the designer. This software allows both parties to work seamlessly as a joined up team, in real time, for painless updates, greater efficient and a simpler working process for high quality print layout creation.

We encourage you to read the whole thing.

Urgent: InDesign plug-ins expiring March 1, 2017

Due to a bad decision we made last November, many of you are seeing your CC 2017 plug-in builds expire today, March 1st (not your licenses, luckily). It’s a long story, but the bottom line is that we messed up.

If you just download and install the very latest version of the plug-in (released yesterday), it should work without further problems. You can get the latest version from the “Downloads” sidebar of your plug-in’s product page.

If that doesn’t work, please contact us at support, and we’ll get you going.

Em plugins for InDesign CC 2017

We’re in the middle of porting our plugins to the just-released InDesign CC 2017 update, and hope to have it done in the next few days.

To keep up with the CC 2017 release news, see how to keep in touch.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t updated to CC 2017, and depend on our plugins for production, please hold off until we have them released.

If you’d like to start playing with CC 2017 without our plugins, you can update, but when you do, it’s critically important to display the Advanced Options in the update dialog, and un-check Remove old versions. That will leave your previous version (usually CC 2015) untouched, so you can continue using it.

If you’ve already updated and had your older version auto-removed, you can click on Find additional apps, then to the right select Previous version, and then select InDesign CC 2015 to re-install it. Finally, download and install the Em plugins you were using before (from the relevant product page’s Downloads sidebar), and you should be fully back in business.

We plan to drop support for InDesign CS5/CS5.5 with this release. We’ll still be supporting the CS6, CC (2013), CC 2014, and CC 2015 versions along with the new CC 2017 version.

If you purchased a new or upgrade license since Feb 1, 2016, we’ll be emailing you your free upgrade license in the next few days. Otherwise, you can purchase an upgrade from our online store, or contact us for other options.

Come see us at PePcon 2016

We’ll be at PePcon 2016 Monday and Tuesday of next week, June 6 and 7, in San Diego at the Marriot Marina downtown, 3rd floor. (Sorry for the late notice.)

If you’re in the area, or at PePcon, please come by our table and talk to us. We’d love to see you and talk about anything that interests you.

We’re always happy to show our products and talk about how they could make your work life easier: especially the latest WordsFlow and DocsFlow releases, which have solid performance and reliability improvements.

Hold off on updating to CC 2015 until you read this!

Update

As of the end of today, June 23, we’ll have released new versions of all our plug-ins for CC 2015 and earlier (still going all the way back to CS5).

Release: WordsFlow 2.6 for InDesign CS5–CC2015

Release: DocsFlow 2.6 for InDesign CS5–CC2015

Release: InData 2.3 for InDesign CS5–CC2015

Release: Xtags 2.3 for InDesign CS5–CC2015

(InCatalog coming later today.)

Original news

Adobe released InDesign CC 2015 today. We knew the upgrade was coming, but Adobe kept everyone guessing about the exact timing, and they took us a bit by surprise.

While it’s tempting to upgrade immediately if you’re on Creative Cloud, you absolutely need to read this post first, from Steve Werner at InDesign Secrets:

Read This Before Installing InDesign CC 2015!

By default, all your previous versions of InDesign will be removed, and our plug-ins with them, so you’ll be out of business.

If you haven’t already upgraded, but would like to, see the Adobe Creative Cloud blog article

How-to: Installing Creative Cloud Updates

which details how to install CC 2015 without removing the previous versions, and our plug-ins along with them.

Read more

The Xtags book, “Xtags Maximized,” now freely available

We’ve negotiated the rights with Darryl Keck to make his blockbuster Xtags book freely available, Xtags Maximized. The book has over 200 pages in 9 chapters, diving both deep and wide into using Xtags for serious production work.

You can download the book from the link above, or from the sidebar on this page and the Xtags product page.

Even though it’s some years old now, and written for Xtags for QuarkXPress, the book is still fairly accurate, since the features described haven’t changed. (Xtags certainly has had new features added since then, which you can explore using the release history links found in the download sidebar elements on this page.) The book also generally applies to Xtags for InDesign, since we try to keep the two versions working as closely as humanly possible.

DocsFlow users: switch to browser login immediately

On April 20th, Google is going to shut down the old-style API (application programming interface) employed when you use a direct login in DocsFlow. (You may have gotten a scary-looking notice from Google that says “ACTION REQUIRED: Your Google Apps account is using the Documents List API, which will stop functioning on April 20th, 2015”.)

The good news is that DocsFlow has long been employing the new-style API when you login via the browser, so there should be no surprises.

You should simply start using File > DocsFlow > Sign in to Google Docs… > Sign in securely with your browser (you might need to logout first), rather than Sign in directly here:, and you should be fine.

We also strongly suggest that you upgrade to the latest DocsFlow (see the release notes), as this release fixes a critical bug with anchored, linked items in a story.

QuarkXTensions porting to Mac OS QuarkXPress 10 and 2015

To paraphrase an old proverb about justice, “the wheels of Em Software development turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

It’s been a very long time since we’ve released any news about our XTensions for QuarkXPress 10 under Mac OS X—the Windows port was done mid-last-year—, mostly because we had no good news to share. We’re a small 4-man company, severely engineering-resource-limited (there’s really only one engineer who could do the work, Chris Roueche). The QuarkXPress 10 Mac OS XTension porting work loomed as a mountain we couldn’t really start climbing until we had cleared away some major obligations (the ports involved converting all code from Carbon to Cocoa, which is a serious change). We kept having to make tough engineering resource decisions over the past year that we judged the best for our customers overall. The end result of those decisions was a major delay affecting some of our QuarkXPress customers, and we’re sorry for that.

Chris was able to start the porting work in earnest this year, and so we’re very happy to show concrete porting progress in the release of Xtags 3.8.4 for QuarkXPress 10 under OS X.

Our current best estimate is that Xdata for QuarkXPress 10 OS X will be available by mid-March, with Xcatalog (the largest of the ports, due to its relatively large user interface) to follow a few weeks later.

The good news is that, once these ports are done, there shouldn’t be any more serious mountains to climb for future releases of QuarkXPress.

As a case in point, we’re also simultaneously producing versions of these XTensions for QuarkXPress 2015, which is due in late March, according to Quark. If you’d like to test our prerelease versions of Xtags—and perhaps Xdata if we hit our target—under the QuarkXPress 2015 beta, please contact support, and we’ll put you in touch with the Quark 2015 beta test folks (who will require you to join their beta program under NDA, so only ask if you’re serious).

WordsFlow and DocsFlow user guides now printable/pdf-able

In this Age of the Web, hard copy (physical or virtual) doesn’t matter to most people, but it really matters to some. So we’ve just made important parts of our web site printable or pdf-able for when you want to take some part of it offline with you in paper or digital form, for study, reference or just light vacation reading.

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WordsFlow 2.0 review from InDesign Magazine

Jamie McKee wrote a perceptive and very positive review of our newly-released WordsFlow version 2.0 in InDesign Magazine, issue #65 of September 2014. His conclusion:

WordsFlow already offered InDesign users a solution to the Microsoft Word/ Excel-to-InDesign workflow problem we’ve all been wrestling with for years—updating linked files without losing formatting. WordsFlow Pro 2.0 takes the final step, offering full two-way capabilities so you can send the changes you’ve made in InDesign back to your original Word documents. If you regularly work with text files that are likely to be edited (and who doesn’t?), you need to take a look at WordsFlow Pro 2.0!

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Re-release of CC/CC 2014 plugins

Due to a packaging bug on our part (we initially thought it was an Extension Manager problem), we had to re-package and re-release all the CC and CC 2014 plugins just now.

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InData builds 2100-page directory for RIBA

Phil Handley, Design and Production Manager, and Michèle Woodger, Content Editor, share with us how they built a complex directory for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

RPS2014_Flexy_CoverThe RIBA Product Selector directory is a hard-copy publication featuring construction product information and advertising material, distributed to 20,000 architects each year. The publication contains 8 different indexes with cross references, 800 pages of advertising material and a further 500 pages of educational/continuing professional development information. Until 2013 it was published as a 2500 page, two-volume hardback set, with four corresponding websites making use of the same data.

The directory has been in print since 1982, and due to this formidable 32 year history, the business workflows were complex (advertisements and indexes are handled by two distinct teams), the pre-existing, un-user-friendly DTP software was no longer suitable, and the directory contents were in need of a design refresh.

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Release: WordsFlow Pro 2.0 beta 2

This release fixes a critical and frequently-hit bug in WordsFlow Pro export. (Export would fail with a backtrace error.)

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Release: WordsFlow Pro 2.0 beta 1

We’re happy and excited to share an early public release of WordsFlow Pro (now at version 2.0) for your evaluation and feedback. WordsFlow Pro, like DocsFlow Pro, completes the workflow cycle, and makes WordsFlow fully two-way. With the Pro version, you can now update your Word documents in place with the latest linked InDesign story contents, and you can export any InDesign story to a new Word document as well (which also links it automatically).

Read more

Plugins plan for InDesign CC 2014

Adobe released the Creative Cloud Suite for 2014 this week, and we want to let you know our plans. Since Adobe changed the document format, this will unfortunately require re-releases of all our plugins.

We’re ready to go with our plugin updates, but need to package and release the plugins, and are short-handed during vacation time. But we plan to have it all done and released by the end of the first full week in July (the 11th, give or take a day or three either way).

Any existing InDesign CC license will work with these new CC 2014 plugins, so you should be able to download the updated plugins and go.

Update

We released the CC 2014 plugins on July 14th and 15th, 2014. See the individual plugins’ release notes.

See you at PePcon 2014!

We’re now just two weeks away from PePcon 2014, in Chicago this year. As ever, we recommend it highly, if there are any seats left.

If you’re planning to attend, please do visit our table, where we’ll be showing our dashing new WordsFlow Pro product (hint: two-way Microsoft Word workflow!), and offering prizes, 6-month evaluation licenses, and a special 25% show discount. Plus, we’d love to meet you in the flesh, if we haven’t already; and, if we have, it’s always great to catch up…

“I love InData”

I love InData and use it to create long, complex catalogs. Thanks for a great product!

–Amy G

David Blatner’s new lynda.com data publishing tutorial

David Blatner has released a brand-new data merge and data publishing tutorial on lynda.com. As with anything by the InDesign Secrets crew, it’s quite well done.

This new tutorial also includes a 5-minute overview of our InData product, called “InData, a more powerful Data Merge“. The lynda.com folks have kindly made this video freely viewable.

DocsFlow helps out at Syracuse University

Seth Gitner, Assistant Professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University, writes:

In early 2012, a dozen students in the Multimedia Projects course at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University set out to create an interactive storytelling mobile tablet application on Central New York’s notorious winters.

Famous for frigid temperatures and record-crushing snowfalls, Central New York averages 116.9 inches of snow annually. During the previous winter, more than 179 inches of snow accumulated, making “winter” a natural choice for an interactive storytelling project.

The story ends with a call-out to DocsFlow:

The stories for this application were inserted using a content management system that combined Google Documents and InDesign using the InDesign plugin DocsFlow, from Em Software.

Go read the whole thing—it’s a great story.

New lynda.com course showing DocsFlow and WordsFlow

Anne-Marie Concepción has published a new online video course Using Word and InDesign Together on lynda.com that includes brief overviews of both WordsFlow and DocsFlow.

The course itself looks great, as you’d expect from Anne-Marie, and the two short overviews of our products are spot on. She mentions DocsFlow 2.0, which includes two-way linking to Google Docs, and which we’re just about to release in the next few days.

InDesign CC upgrade plans

ID-Creative-CloudWith Adobe’s InDesign CC (Creative Cloud) version just released last week, we wanted to let you know our plans for upgrading our plug-ins to work with CC. (None of them are CC-capable yet.)

First, we’re 100% committed to upgrading all our InDesign plug-ins — have no fear!

Second, we’re just starting the conversion effort, admittedly quite late. With our small engineering team (which is normally an advantage in terms of agility and staying close to you, our customers), we decided to give priority to finishing DocsFlow 2.0. (We’ve done that, and its beta is now available.) So now our focus will be 100% on upgrading all plug-in products to CC.

Third, anyone who purchases a CS5/5.5/CS6 plug-in license on or after January 1, 2013, will receive a free upgrade to a CC license.

Read more

See you at PePcon 2013 in Austin!

PEPCON_SponsorBadge2013We’re happy to announce that we’ll be both sponsoring and attending the Print + ePublishing Conference (PePcon) 2013 conference in Austin, Texas, April 28–May 1. Marci, Anne-Marie and David have always done an outstanding job on these conferences, keeping them relevant, with great speakers, great food and attractive venues.

This time, Joe Mathia and John Whitney will be there from Em Software. Joe was at PePcon 2011 in Alexandria with Chris Ryland (who was alone last year in San Francisco), but since Joe and John are both local Texas boys (Dallas and Austin, respectively), they get to have all the fun!

We’ll be showing our current data-driven publishing products, InData, InCatalog, Xtags for InDesign, and our newer editorial/workflow products WordsFlow and DocsFlow.

In particular, we’ll be showing the latest WordsFlow and DocsFlow versions with major table-handling improvements, and we hope to be showing some major new functionality in DocsFlow as well! (Hint: it might involve edits flowing in both directions. ;-))

So please stop by and take a look at what’s new (and old).

See you there!

Xtags helps CatBase automate imoderni catalogs

Pat Bensky of CatBase fame, describes how Xtags works with CatBase to produce imoderni‘s catalogs. (Also see the CatBase case study for Kellogs for another application of Xtags Pro.)

imoderni catalog p43The entire document was built automatically, with minimal intervention from the user, telling InDesign to create the table of contents, for example.

(Click on the graphic to see the full pdf.)

  • The data is maintained in CatBase. This includes all the details, picture names and sizes, etc.
  • The customer selects which products to publish (e.g., all products for one manufacturer, as in the attached example; all products of a certain type, such as sofas; all products that a certain dealer sells; all products in a certain collection; etc.).

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Release: WordsFlow 1.0.1 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

This release fixes a serious bug with update failures in the face of Word documents with embedded graphics, and adds some behind-the-scenes enhancements.

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Release: WordsFlow 1.0 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

We’re happy to announce the first official release of WordsFlow, our InDesign plug-in designed to make a huge improvement in your Word/Excel-based production workflow.

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WordsFlow 1.0 review from InDesign Secrets

David Blatner of InDesign Secrets has been using our new product WordsFlow for a bit, and is very excited about it:

I’m trying hard not to type phrases like “Most useful plug-in ever,” but I have to tell you: I’m sitting here with my mouth agape, heart beating faster, and thinking “This is what I’ve wanted for 20 years.”

In short, I’m playing with WordsFlow, a plug-in from Em Software that fundamentally changes the way you’ll work with Word documents.

Read more

Release: DocsFlow 1.4.7 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

This release supports placing public documents even when not in the user’s account, and fixes a slew of minor bugs.

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Release: WordsFlow 0.4 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

This still-in-preview release fixes more bugs found during pre-release testing.

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Release: WordsFlow 0.3 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

This still-in-preview release bumps the expiration date and fixes some smaller bugs found during testing.

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DocsFlow accelerates annual report production at literacy project

In general, we’re happy to donate software to qualified educational institutions (for teaching applications) and to non-profit organizations, and we did so for Wisconsin Literacy a few months ago. Sheila McGrath kindly reports back with a very positive review of using DocsFlow with InDesign for their annual report production.

WiscLitCoverThank you so much for giving us DocsFlow. Wisconsin Literacy produced their annual report using DocsFlow, with me as an off-site volunteer graphic designer.

(Click on the annual report cover for the full pdf version.)

DocsFlow for CS4 worked very well for flowing text into InDesign. I was not able to get custom style-mapping to work automatically (likely an older Mac Javascript version on my machine rather than a DocsFlow problem) but I had no problem importing text into InDesign smoothly. I just re-imported text after changes and my styles were retained, so all was well. The Links panel indications of file changes worked fine also.

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Release: WordsFlow 0.2 for InDesign CS5/CS5.5/CS6

We’ve just released WordsFlow 0.2, our second preview release, which is one step closer to final release.

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Release: WordsFlow 0.1 for InDesign CS6

As proud “parents,” we’re happy to announce that our latest product, WordsFlow, is now available for the first time in a preview release for your testing pleasure! (There’s also a back story to WordsFlow.)

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WordsFlow – announcing a new product

We’ve just added a section to our site about WordsFlow, a new product.

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InData builds annual commercial real estate directory

Mike Docker, InData developer extraordinaire, shares with us how he used InData with InDesign to build an annual commercial real estate directory.

Estates Gazette (EG) is the weekly magazine for the UK commercial property trade, and each year it produces a directory of warehousing and distribution parks across the country with space available for rent or purchase.

Overview

The data is held in an Excel spreadsheet, which is updated from information provided by property agents. This comes into the EG offices at different times and is handled by different staff members. Also, each distribution park can be represented by multiple agents, so it is not uncommon for one park to be entered into the spreadsheet several times.

As publication date approaches the agents are reminded to check and amend the data they have provided, and the updated spreadsheet becomes the source for the printed directory.

The magazine’s production team had been using cut-and-paste techniques to get the text on to the page but they approached the task with dread as each year rolled around. I persuaded them to give InData a try.

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Xtags streamlines production process for hundreds of newspapers and magazines with Pre1

Mark Jockin, CEO of Pre1 Software in Portland, Oregon explains how Em Software’s Xtags product became a backbone of the Pre1 newspaper software sold to hundreds of publications across the Americas.

pre1-casestudy-figure4In 1999, Pre1 first sold its newspaper software to an alternative newsweekly in Portland, Oregon. Today, more than 400 titles are printed using Pre1’s SmartPublisher, with more coming online each month. By now, literally millions of ads have been converted into print. Xtags made it all possible.

Pre1’s mission is to streamline workflow for publications by integrating into one product multiple business processes vital to newspaper and magazine publishers. For the most part, every publication works the same. The sales reps sell ads, the accountants collect money, and the production department builds the ads. When deciding how to unite these various disciplines in a single software product for newspapers and magazines, Pre1’s challenge was which technologies to count on to get the job done.

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DocsFlow gets “exceptionally good” rating in a full review from InDesign Magazine

David Blatner, one of the patriarchs of the InDesign ecosystem, in the June/July 2012 issue of InDesign Magazine, reviewed the latest version of DocsFlow and gave it 4 stars for “exceptionally good.”

David opens with a great story:

For me, one of the most memorable highlights at the PePcon conference this year was a simple conversation in the hallway with an attendee about the DocsFlow plug-in. Staring at me in near-disbelief, he stammered, “You mean I can have all my writers and editors working in Google Docs, and have their changes automatically update in InDesign? That’s awesome!” Yes, yes it is.

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InCatalog a critical part of skiing/snowboarding guide workflow

Chris Gill, Editor of Where to Ski and Snowboard, Britain’s leading winter sports resort guide, writes about how InCatalog acts as a critical part of their automated editorial processes.

WTSS_Sample_TignesWhere to Ski and Snowboard is the British skier’s “bible”—a comprehensive and detailed annual guidebook running to 700 pages, covering of all the major ski resorts in Europe and North America. It was first published in 1994, became an annual publication a few years later and is now in its 15th edition.

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InData builds antiquarian books catalog

Pia Oliver at Randall House Rare Books in Santa Barbara tells how they use InData to save “enormous time.”

Randall House featuredWe create our rare book catalogues utilizing InData to get the data from our database into our layout program. We use FileMaker Pro v.10 and InDesign CS4 (previously we used QuarkXpress). Since our data is very strictly formatted and our catalogues consist of unique items, averaging 500-800 at a time, it would be dreadful having to do all this formatting by hand. The plug-in saves us enormous time.

(Click on the graphic above for the full pdf version.)

I have attached a pdf of the finished product of one of our catalogues created this way. All of the information for the books are taken from approximately 25 different fields for each record/book. I first began using InData for a catalogue that consisted of more than 1,000 books.

InData helps a building materials company

Dave Karras, Marketing Manager at Wimsatt Building Materials, has a great success story about using InData to build a whole range of marketing materials.

Wimsatt featuredAs a wholesale distributor of building products, Wimsatt Building Materials delivers roofing, siding, insulation, windows, doors, and composite lumber to builders and contractors across the state of Michigan. With 20,000+ SKUs in over 1500 categories, our Marketing Department had a formidable challenge in communicating building product information to several audiences across multiple media. Our annual printed contractor catalog, our regularly-updated internal price pages, and our online catalog were all isolated production processes that required a great deal of manual effort on the part of the design team and proofreading on the part of our Inventory Department.

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DocsFlow is a huge time saver at a non-profit

David Rager, a designer/art director in Paris who works with a non-profit organization called The Ecology Center in California, has been using DocsFlow recently and is quite enthusiastic about the product.

Evolve508I’ve been plugging away with DocsFlow over the last few months and found it that it’s been a huge time saver. What I love most is that it takes away the trouble I often run into with the conventional edit, proofread, approval, repeat system. My clients are also very happy that they get to interact with a live document and see how their text edits change the way the design looks and feels.

Our first “DocsFlow project” came back from press recently, 5 contributors were involved, each updating their own docs and everyone is very pleased with the results.

(Click on the graphic to review the issue.)

See you at PePcon 2012 in San Francisco, May 14—16!

We’re happy to announce that we’ll be both sponsoring and attending the Print + ePublishing Conference (PePcon) 2012 conference in San Francisco, May 14—16.

We’ll have a table in the conference area. We’d love to show you what we’re doing and make new friends while catching up with the old!

David and Anne-Marie always put on a rousing conference, and this looks better than ever. Plus, you’ll get a peek at what’s coming out in CS-next from Adobe.

Our last year’s conference trip was a resounding success, and we hope to repeat that in Bagdad-by-the-Bay.

See you there!

Early DocsFlow release reactions

It’s only been a couple of days, but we’ve seen a huge amount of interest in DocsFlow since its official release on Tuesday.

The Twittersphere has exploded with interest (keep scrolling down for dynamic refresh).

And The Unofficial Apple Weblog has an enthusiastic response.

We sponsored the InDesign Secrets podcast this week with Anne-Marie Concepcion and David Blatner, and they talked about DocsFlow in podcast 156 at some length (starting at 15:00). The whole podcast is great (as usual).

DocsFlow 7.0 for InDesign CS5/5.5 released

We’re thrilled to announce that, after almost exactly two years of development, and several months of intense beta testing, we’ve released the first version of DocsFlow (7.0) for InDesign CS5 and CS5.5. DocsFlow is a plugin that connects Google Docs to InDesign, for a breakthrough in affordable collaborative publishing.

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InCatalog+InData bundle offer for Tip of the Week readers

We’re happy to provide InDesign Magazine Tip of the Week readers a time-limited bundle offer that gets you InData for free when you purchase InCatalog. Using InData, you can build documents from your data that are pre-linked to that data for later InCatalog update (or extraction) in place. You save $400 on a powerhouse catalog publishing combination!

Simply use the coupon code idmt811 when purchasing a single copy of InCatalog or InCatalog Pro along with InData, and you’ll receive a $400 discount to cover the cost of InData.

(This offer expires August 19, 2011.)

Release: InCatalog 6/7.2.9.1 for InDesign CS4/5/5.5

This release of InCatalog improves link editing at an insertion point, and fixes several bugs.

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Beta release: DocsFlow 7.0 beta 2 for InDesign CS5/5.5

DocsFlow 7.0 beta 2 (for InDesign CS5/5.5, Mac OS and Windows) is now available for download and testing. We encourage you to upgrade to this version if you’re using DocsFlow, as it fixes some update merge problems, improves stability, and builds in some debugging tools to help us diagnose future merge problems.

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Beta release: DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1 for InDesign CS5/5.5 Windows

After a long struggle with packaging the complex technology behind DocsFlow, we’re very happy to announce the release of the first Windows beta version of DocsFlow 7.0 for both InDesign CS5 and CS5.5.

You can download it from the sidebar on the right or from the (same) sidebar on the main product page. When you download and expand the linked .zip file, you’ll find an outermost folder Em DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1, containing the folder Plug-ins for InDesign CS5 & CS5.5, containing the actual installation file docsflow70b1_installer_win.zxp, which you double-click to install.

(Adobe Extensions Manager will install the proper version (CS5 vs CS5.5) based on what you have installed on your system.)

We’re working on beta 2 for both platforms (Mac OS and Windows), containing some important bug fixes and feature additions. We hope to pick up the release pace, now that we’ve jumped the initial release hurdle.

InDesign CS5.5 plug-ins now released

As promised (and explained), we’re happy to announce the release of all our plug-ins for InDesign CS5.5 in concert with our current CS4/CS5 releases.

When you download any of our plug-ins, and double-click the .zxp installer file in the Plug-ins for InDesign CS5 folder, Adobe’s Extension Manager will install the appropriate CS5 or CS5.5 plugin, depending on your most-recently installed version of InDesign. If you have both InDesign CS5 and CS5.5 installed, and would like to install the plug-in for use in CS5, you will need to manually start Extension Manager CS5 and use its File > Install Extension to select the plug-in’s .zxp installer file.

Thanks for your patience, if you were waiting!

Early DocsFlow beta feedback

There are already a couple of public responses to DocsFlow that might be helpful for others kicking its tires.

David Blatner gives his initial thoughts in an InDesign Secrets blog entry and emphasizes the “magic” part of DocsFlow, the document merging facilities. His tagline is “Em Software’s DocsFlow heralds a breakthrough in collaborative publishing!”

Haeme Ulrich calls it a “dream fulfilled” in his Ulrich Media blog entry (German; here’s a Google translation into English.)

Beta release: DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1 for InDesign CS5.5

Last night we re-released the DocsFlow beta to include binaries for both InDesign CS5 and CS5.5 (including 7.5.1, the latest update).

You can download it from the sidebar on the right or from the (same) sidebar on the main product page. When you download and expand the linked .zip file, you’ll find an outermost folder Em DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1, containing the folder Plug-ins for InDesign CS5 & CS5.5, containing the actual installation file docsflow70b1_installer_mac.zxp, which you double-click to install.

(Adobe Extensions Manager will install the proper version (CS5 vs CS5.5) based on what you have installed on your system.)

Beta release: DocsFlow 7.0 beta 1 for InDesign CS5

We’re delighted (and relieved) to announce that the first beta of DocsFlow, our brand-new product for connecting InDesign to Google Docs, is now available for public download and testing, at no cost during the beta test.

See the sidebar to download and for further information, such as the DocsFlow product overview (home page) and the user guide.

We’re first releasing the InDesign CS5 Mac OS version, with the CS5.5 Mac OS version coming later today. Then we’ll release the Windows versions over the next few days as we finish its integration process.

If you’re interested in testing, we strongly encourage you to learn more about keeping in touch via various methods, so you can hear about each beta release as it happens. At first, they’ll be coming pretty fast and furious, while we work out the bugs and glitches.

Thanks for any feedback you can give us, and we hope you find this new tool incredibly useful!

Updated plugins coming for InDesign CS5.5

Adobe recently released an InDesign 7.5.1 version (first minor version of CS5.5) which fixed the “bug” that CS5 plugins worked with CS5.5. Apparently, Adobe needed to require new CS5.5-specific versions of all plugins due to internal changes, but we somehow didn’t get the message ahead of time.

The result is that, if you do an auto-update of CS5.5 to the latest 7.5.1, InDesign will complain that there is a plug-in conflict with any one of our plugins.

We’re scrambling to release new versions of all our plugins that will work with CS5.5 specifically, and hope to have them sometime later this week. This is effectively a whole new release, even if it means no code changes, so we have a lot of repackaging, re-versioning, rebuilding, and re-releasing to do across all 4 plugins for MacOS and Windows.

We apologize for this mishap.

Xdata samples featured on Quark’s web site

Quark has recently featured a couple of Xdata samples on their web site.

The first, at Directories and Yearbooks: Automate the Publishing of Directory-style Documents, has the caption John Catt Educational‘s 2011 publications were created using Em Software’s Xdata XTension for QuarkXPress in conjunction with databases created by consultant Roger Fuller. (John Catt Educational is UK-based, and Roger Fuller can be reached at roger@data2page.co.uk; Roger is a long-term Em associate, and we can recommend him highly.)

The second, at Catalogs and Circulars: Limitless Design Flexibility, has the caption Mike Docker, Deputy Production Editor at Caterer & Hotelkeeper Magazine, said these guides involved a lot of coding at first but using Em Software’s Xdata XTension for QuarkXPress paid dividends for years afterwards.

(In both cases, you have to click on the embedded picture to see the samples.)

Print and ePublishing Conference 2011 (PePCon) report

Joe Mathia and I (Chris Ryland) provided Em’s presence at the (now apparently annual) InDesign Secrets Live! Print and ePublishing Conference designed and implemented by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción. David and Anne-Marie are just plain great people, and were wonderful hosts for the conference. (They (and other speakers) very kindly pointed people to us several times in general and specific sessions.)

We had a couple of tables in the registration / eating area of the conference (upstairs at the Westin Alexandria, Virginia) with some signs and a couple of large monitors to show off our software. (That’s Joe holding one of our brochures.)

The two days were pretty intense, and we met a whole bunch of great people. Many of them have been using our software for years, and more than one even expressed a desire to find more work involving our tools because they’re such fun to use! Many hadn’t seen the tools before and were excited to see them demonstrated on real projects. (Joe has a great collection of demos that we’re planning to add to our showcase listings.)

I was showing DocsFlow, our new Google Docs live linking InDesign plug-in, and we had a phenomenal response, with a lot of enthusiastic requests to join our public beta. DocsFlow’s ability to merge editorial changes on the Google Docs side with editorial and formatting changes on the InDesign side is what really caught people’s attention. Additionally, we discovered that Google Docs usage in the publishing business is exploding, so there’s a huge amount of interest in connecting InDesign. (The fact that the per-editorial-seat cost of Google Docs is $0 doesn’t hurt. Though we did change our screen signage from “the poor man’s editorial solution” to “the cost-effective editorial solution” at Chris Kitchener’s suggestion.)

(Meanwhile, back at home, Chris Roueche and John Whitney were madly debugging and fixing things in DocsFlow as we went along, since the software had just started working a few days before. It was great to have their support and virtual presence.)

As we told people at the show, we hope to have a public beta of DocsFlow starting in a couple of weeks; the demo was working quite well, and we just need to work on packaging, documentation, and edge cases.

If we saw you there, thanks for stopping by! It’s always great to meet you in person, and we hope to do more of these kinds of shows.

David and Anne-Marie, and all the good folks involved with the show, thanks again!

“I have used this product for over 11 years and could not live without it”

I just want to tell you that I have used this product for over 11 years and could not live without it. Exporting data out of our database and having it magically formatted to look beautiful sure is sweet. Of course, I have to write all the scripting/programming for it to look so nice, but it sure makes it fast. I use InData in 20 books that range in pages from 300-800, and I love using it.

–Greg Kemp, contexo | media

Three Trick Pony’s InData/Xdata showcase

Mike Docker of Three Trick Pony (UK) is now showcasing InData/Xdata on his web site.

These are beautiful applications of our tools, and should give you a good idea about what you can accomplish with the same set of tools.

Mike is available for consulting, and can be contacted via email from the footer of his site.

Adobe InDesign CS5.5 and our plug-ins

Adobe just announced InDesign CS5.5, which is a mid-cycle refresh of their flagship print publishing product with an emphasis on electronic publishing to tablets, e-books and more.

As far as we know, our CS5 plugins should continue to function well with this release, and we’d love to hear about your experiences with InDesign CS5.5, good or bad or in-between.

Em 9.x XTensions now available for QuarkXPress 9

Quark announced recently that QuarkXPress 9 is set to ship on April 26th (later this month), with a “test drive” version available until then on the Quark web site.

We’re delighted to announce that the 9.x versions of our XTensions–compatible with the final QuarkXPress 9 release–are now available from the right sidebar of this post, and from the respective product pages.

This version of QuarkXPress looks to have a tremendous set of new features and improvements, and should be a must-have upgrade for anyone who wants to build e-books or make mobile apps from QuarkXPress content. This new version also catches up to its main competitor in various ways: conditional styles, bullets and numbering, callouts, story editing, etc.

One of the new features of QuarkXPress 9 that greatly improves our products is the new anchored-table-breaking ability. This means you’ll be able to create anchored tables in Xdata that break automatically over column or page boundaries.

Em exhibiting at the Print and E-Publishing Conference, May 23-24

We’re happy to announce we’ll be exhibiting at the InDesign Secrets Live Print and E-Publishing Conference, May 23rd and 24th, at the Westin Alexandria.

InDesign Secret’s own David Blatner gives an overview of the developer attendees and says kind things about Em.

If you’re an Em product user and will be at the conference, we’d love to talk and find out how you’re using our products and how we could make them better. If you’re not using them, we’d be glad to show them to you in person.

We hope to be showing an entirely new product as well that may be a killer solution for editorial workflow.

So do stop by our table–we’d love to see you!

InDesign Secrets podcast talking about InCatalog, InData

The latest InDesign Secrets podcast—from David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepcion—talks at some length about both InCatalog and InData. (The lead-in to our products starts around 11:00, but the whole podcast is gold for data publishers.)

These podcasts are always great, but this one is particularly relevant to anyone interested in our products.

One nit, though: David talks about InCatalog being the big brother of InData, which isn’t quite true: it’s more like a brother who does something fairly distinct but complementary. (InData builds, InCatalog links, very roughly.)

“nice to get the quick support and response”

I have to say, it’s been nice to get the quick support and response from you guys, as opposed to posting on the Adobe forums and waiting for a response. I’m sure I will have some more questions, but I’m convinced that your product will do what we need.

Stew B.

“impressed you actually took the time to help”

I also wanted to take an extra minute to thank you again for taking the time to walk me through the issue I was having over the phone. It seems like most companies anymore are not willing to take the time to speak to someone and solve a problem. They would rather pass you off to someone in another country that really doesn’t care. I was very impressed you actually took the time to help.

Brad H.

“we don’t have that luxury with other software vendors”

Thanks for all your help Joe—we truly appreciate your prompt responses. We don’t have that luxury with a lot of the other software vendors we deal with.

Adam S.

“we couldn’t possibly do without InCatalog”

I still love your product, and it’s saved us a TON of time in our layouts (we average anywhere from 160-200 pages of print work a week with a staff of 3, which we couldn’t possibly do without InCatalog).

Nathan A./

Release: InCatalog 6/7.2.7 for InDesign CS4/CS5

This release of InCatalog for InDesign adds support for InDesign CS5 to that for CS4, drops support for CS2/CS3, adds full XPress-tagged text support bi-directionally without needing our Xtags product, adds anchored text frame support in Xtags, changes the link markers to display as brackets (like in Xcatalog), adds link markers for tagged page items, merges the Pro and non-Pro binaries, adds support for abitrary per-field or all-field WHERE clause prefixes when using ODBC, adds full Unicode support when communicating with FileMaker, and fixes some long-standing bugs.

Read more

Release: InFlow 6/7.2.2.1 for InDesign CS4/CS5

These are the release notes for the InFlow 6/7 series.

Read more

Using Xtags with Drupal

Here and here are a couple of articles from the University of Kent CMS blog, providing a brief overview of how they use Xtags to drive printed output in a Drupal environment, and their experience with the process.

An Xtags overview from DPCI

There’s a great article on Xtags here, on the DPCI (Database Publishing Consultants, Inc.) website.

It covers a bit of history, the target audience for Xtags, gives a simple workflow example, and then talks about using the same tags for InDesign as for QuarkXPress, and the issues you might encounter.

Overall, an excellent overview of Xtags!

Fall 2010 newsletter

We’ve just sent our Fall 2010 newsletter with the latest news of InDesign CS5 upgrades for Xtags and EmData.

You can view it online at Em Fall 2010 Newsletter, if you didn’t receive a copy as a customer or subscriber.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for future very occasional news, or, for all your options, visit our information about keeping in touch.

Hyperlink support in Xtags 6/7 for InDesign CS4/CS5

Since we forgot to include documentation for one major new feature in our original release notes for Xtags 6/7 for InDesign CS4/CS5 (now fixed), we thought we should call attention to it separately: Xtags now boasts new tags for hyperlinks, cross-references and text anchors. See the updated release notes.

These tags have long been requested, and we’re glad to finally deliver them with this release. Let us know how they work for you.

Keeping in touch

We’ve fleshed out our support page about “keeping in touch” quite a bit.

We’re trying to make it easy for you to keep up with our progress on the products and on the web site (new and updated tutorials, documentation, etc.) that are coming in the future.

In particular, you can subscribe to our news using RSS (e.g., in a news reader like NetNewsWire or Google Reader), via email, via Twitter updates, and via our very occasional company email newsletter.

We intend to use Twitter both to update you when any new articles appear, and when there are non-trivial changes to the more static parts of the site. And, we’re happy to interact over Twitter for quick back-and-forth kinds of communications.

We’re also going to provide more specific news/email news feeds, for things like following the progress of a single product, or a group of related products.

So, if you’re interested in staying in touch, we urge you to try one of these methods.

And please let us know how we could improve in this effort, via email to webmaster@emsoftware.com. Thank you!

InData and Xtags CS5 updates now available

We’re delighted to announce that both InData and Xtags for CS5 (and CS4) are now officially released, and available for download and purchase from their respective product pages:

InData for InDesign CS4/CS5

Xtags for InDesign CS4/CS5

InCatalog for CS5 is coming to life in the labs, but is probably still a couple of weeks away from beta test.

Release: Xtags 6/7.1.3.1 for InDesign CS4/CS5

This release of Xtags for InDesign adds support for InDesign CS5 to that for CS4 (dropping support for CS2/CS3), adds tags for hyperlinks, cross-references and text anchors, adds support for Xtags import and export through the standard InDesign place/export dialogs as well as drag’n’drop, for above-line and custom positioning of anchored frames, for anchored frame position locking, and improves missing picture handling.

Read more

Release: InData 6/7.1.6 for InDesign CS4/CS5

This release of InData for InDesign adds support for InDesign CS5 to that for CS4, drops support for CS2/CS3, adds support for Xtags styled text without requiring the Xtags plugin, adds support for inline picture frame tags in Xtags styled text, and allows you to choose which format of styled text you’re using (Xtags or InDesign Tags) on a per-use basis.

Read more

Welcome

Welcome to our new site!

We’ll be building it out over time with FAQs, tutorials, screen casts, online manuals, new products, etc., but we first had to convert our creaky old site to a new, solid foundation for future expansion.

If you have any questions about or problems with the site, or suggestions for how we might improve it to better serve you, please contact us via email to webmaster@emsoftware.com. In particular, we’d love to hear about anything you find confusing or missing.

Thanks!

Release: InCatalog 4/5/6.2.6.7 for InDesign CS2/CS3/CS4

These notes cover all the InCatalog 4/5/6 release series.

Read more

Release: Xtags 4/5/6.1.3 for InDesign CS2/CS3/CS4

This release of Xtags for InDesign adds standard white and black color names for XPress cross-compatibility, and adds more intelligent handling of non-style-applying @ characters in text (e.g., as used for email addresses).

(This release includes all release notes back to the beginning of the CS2/CS3/CS4 series.)

Read more

Release: InData 4/5/6.1.5 for InDesign CS2/CS3/CS4

This release of InData for InDesign adds support for missing pictures, and fixes a bug with importing from the clipboard.

(This includes all release notes back to the beginning of the CS2/CS3/CS4 series.)

Read more

Release: Xtags 6/7/8.3.3.5 for XPress 6/7/8

This set of releases includes a huge set of bug fixes, and such features XPress 8 support, XPress Server 7/8 support, as intelligent @-sign handling, improved missing picture handling, Xtags Pro (table) handling improvements, a massive performance speed-up when placing unanchored boxes (up to 10X), “version 2” variants of all the anchored box tags, new “none” box tags, box background blend support, auto-shrinking of text boxes horizontally and in the face of multiple columns, box background and frame opacity support, blends in table, row, and cell tags, and much more.

Note that this covers all releases back to the start of the XPress 6/7/8 series.

Read more

Release: Xcatalog 6/7/8.3.3.2 for QuarkXPress 6/7/8

This set of release notes covers the whole Xcatalog 6/7/8 series.

Important: versions prior to 6/7/8.3.2 will not recognize or display links created in 6/7/8.3.2 (or later) due to the addition of full Unicode support in the 6/7/8.3.2 release. This means that if one person updates from 6/7/8.3.1 (or older), everyone with whom they share documents will need to update their copy of Xcatalog as well.

Read more

“InData & InCatalog have allowed us to complete many projects”

Just wanted to let you know that InData & InCatalog have worked great, saving us a lot of time and money.

InData & InCatalog has allowed us to complete many projects that we couldn’t have done without them.

Steve Parrish, Lone Star Pet Supply

“having a reliable support team is best”

Can you transmit my best regards to Chris Ryland, who for 15 years, has provided reliable support (along with the entire team [at] Em Software) in our use of Xtags?

I am proud to have bet on your soft and especially your support, and although my testimony is never published (probably because of my bad English) I regularly recommend to other newspaper publishers in France to trust your team really reliable. Make a soft performance is good, having a reliable support team is best.

Pierre A.

Release: Xdata 6/7/8.4.1.2 for QuarkXPress 6/7/8

These notes cover all the 6/7/8-series Xdata releases.

Read more

“your customer service is, hands down, the best I have ever experienced”

My company has been using InData for 4 years and I’ve been very impressed. The software does what is expected and anytime we’ve had a question/concern it has been addressed. Your customer service is, hands down, the best I have ever experienced in the software industry. It is a pleasure to work with you and your software. Thanks.

Feel free to publish part of this email but please keep our company name anonymous. We want to avoid giving too much info to the competition. 😉

JP Fulton

Release: InFlow 4/5/6.2.1.3 for InDesign CS2/CS3/CS4

These are the release notes for the InFlow 4/5/6 series.

Read more

“You’re a hero! It worked!”

Oh my gawd! You’re a hero! It worked! I have two hours to finish this 300 page catalog! You saved me! Thank you so much!

[…]

You can’t imagine how miserable my life was before your program came along. Thanks for the prompt support!

Matt R.

“Em is absolutely fantastic in its support and customer care”

I don’t know how much to thank you? This is of a great help and relief to us, as we’re going to press on Friday! Em Software is always being absolutely fantastic in its support and customer care.

Suleyman Twana

“InData was the software of choice”

Here is a compliment to you: please be advised that Em Software InData was the software of choice in comparison with e.g., [competitor] and [competitor], from our evaluation. This was due to the ease of use as well as the possibilities!

Johan H.

“minimize the amount of manual labor required”

I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for your time, expertise, and support in helping us automate & audit our price sheet documents. You were very timely and gracious with your responses; as well as extremely helpful in guiding me. Without that support, we would have continued to struggle with this project with no end in sight.

This project was very important to our company to minimize the amount of manual labor required to update our price sheets; and to be able to audit that what we produce is as close to 100% accurate as possible.

Please give my best to Joe as well, for his support also. Thanks again!

Bob Romano, Web Applications Manager, Taco, Inc.

“saved hours of time placing and formatting text for a catalog”

I have used your product [InData] in the past and think it is GREAT! Saved hours of time placing and formatting text for a catalog.

Maria R.

Release: Xtags 4/5.1.1 for InDesign CS2/CS3

This set of releases fixes a huge range of bugs and adds improved bold/italic font handling, layer support, object-level scripting support, hierarchical styles, no-content (“none”) frames, updated anchored frame variants with more control, full runaround types on frames, translation tables, macros, tagged text output, and much more.

(This includes all release notes back to the beginning of the CS2/CS3 series.)

Read more

Release: InCatalog 4/5.2.5.2 for InDesign CS2/CS3

These notes cover all the InCatalog 4/5 series releases.

Read more

“thanks again for a great set of products”

Thanks again for a GREAT set of products! I’ve been basically making my living with Xdata/InData and Xcatalog for the last 12 years.

Ken L.

“I cannot say enough about these tools”

My first encounter with Em Software was with the Xdata plug-in back in 1996. I was working for an advertising agency at the time and was seeking for a solution for a new client. So any leverage to win them was a plus. I discovered after a site visit that they were using a paper system to produce product labels. The client did not have a product database and the labels were hand set each time.

After extensive research online I came across Xdata, the automated solution for QuarkXPress. Now, what I was using the plug-in for was not mentioned in any of the documentation. Being the pioneer that I am I tried to make it work. And to my surprise it did. The results were astonishing. I created a push button tool to create product labels complete with CMYK colors, bar codes, symbols and product data. We won the client over and it was simple enough that anyone in the organization could use it.

Then a major opportunity for another project came up. Can we create a business card solution for our client that has over 10,000 employees? A similar idea as the label solution. This client learned during the process that their data structure was screwy. Final result—solved the database issues and created a streamline system for Human Resources.

I was really getting into to this plug-in to the degree I decided to go out on my own as a consultant. In 1998 I took on a business partner and we were on a roll.

After a very convincing sales pitch to a chemical reagents company, we were awarded several catalog projects. My client’s team was amazing surprised how much time they were saving over a course of two years.

Later on formed another company Designismylife in 2000, to provide automated print solutions to many design businesses, manufacturers and marketing departments.

Em Software’s plug-ins have been a part of my design career for which I am very grateful. Chris Ryland is a business genius and of course his team of experts. I cannot say enough about these tools. They have given me the freedom to pitch to clients with confidence that I have a solution right from the start. I still see redundant tasks eating away at designer’s creativity.

If I could say, there is only one problem, the product works so well that it intimidates people. I have been asked several times during presentations ‘what will happen to our design team.’

I simply reply, “They will now have the time to design with passion.”

David M Bey, Creative Director, designismylife™

“it worked beautifully”

I bought InData several months ago to use for helping to turn a database into a book. It took us a while to figure it all out, but we did, and it worked beautifully! Thanks for a great program.

Colleen B.

“has already saved us the cost of the software many times over”

I bought InData for my company two years ago. It has already saved us the cost of the software many times over in the working hours spent completing projects. Our last full company directory took 4 months to complete using a well-known word processing product. This year I am at a draft stage after just a working week on the project.

But I really wanted to thank and commend you on your support. On a number of occasions I have looked for help sorting out a prototype. Your response has always been quick, efficient and comprehensive. I was particularly grateful for the recent assistance I received on what for me was a tricky/complicated issue, which was sorted through a short number of email exchanges with your excellent support department. Thanks so much.

Nick Clarke, Diocesan Communications Director, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich

“do you have any products to give me more hours in a day?”

Thank you for directly answering my questions. Many companies today don’t seems to take the time to do that anymore? I hope to get everything together soon… Do you have any products to give me more hours in a day?

Don M.

“I have to say I’m really impressed with the software”

I have to say I’m really impressed with the software [InData] and the service. I had some help initially with another product from a guy [R F] whom you might be aware of and now I’m trying to roll out as many products as possible so we should be buying more licenses in the future. Having such great support as well makes all the difference.

Paddy O.

“support is on par with the products’ quality”

First, I want to say that your products [InData, InCatalog] are really awesome. 🙂

And now I discover that the support/bug correction is on par with the products’ quality. Thanks for your work.

Vincent P.

“you’re the master”

You’re the master. … I’m amazed how you can keep all this information in your head. Of all the support people I have ever asked for help, you are the BEST (and I do this a lot).

Marianne W.

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