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Create Numbered Tickets the Easy Way in InDesign

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Read Time: 5 min

In this tutorial, we'll explain how to do an easy setup in InDesign for automatically numbered tickets. We will look at the handy "Data Merge Tool," which is a great time-saver. Let's jump into this quick tutorial!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Step 1

Open a new document in InDesign and deselect Facing Pages, choose letter size and vertical orientation. then OK.

Step 2

Open the Margin and Columns Palette (Layout > Margin and Columns) and set the margins all around to 12 pt (1 pica).

Step 3

Drag a horizontal and vertical guide onto the page. Set them both to 1p6 (18pt). To align them select the guide with the selection Tool (V) and type the number into the X and Y tab. This will ensure that the guides are set to the exact number.

Step 4

Repeat Step 3 and set the other guide the same way.

Step 5

I already created a background image (in EPS format, which is available to Vector Plus members in the download). Select the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) from the tools palette and drag a rectangle onto the page. Then click Command + D and locate the image (in this case an image that you chose to use as a background for the tickets).

The background image has a size of 22p5 by 5p6. You can choose any size as long as it fits onto your page. To fit the Rectangle Frame to the background image, select the Option + Command + C. This fits the frame to the content.

Step 6

Create several layers in the Layers Palette. We will need one for the background ("bg"), one for text ("text") and one for the numbers ("numbers"). Lock the background layer.

Step 7

A very important step is to make sure we are working in the Parent Page. Double-Click the A-Parent icon in the Pages Palette. This will make the parent page active.

Step 8

Start adding some text. Date, time, place, event, etc. Be creative. You can place color boxes behind the text and play with the font sizes. I usually never use more the two fonts, and if I do, I'll make sure that they are quite the opposite. Pick a font with a big family, meaning lots of weights. Helvetica, DIN or Univers are good choices.

Step 9

We also want to setup right away the crop marks for the tickets. Create another layer and call it "crop marks & score marks." We will place the crop marks and the score line onto this layer. Start placing crop marks that you create with the Pen Tool (P) around the ticket.

Step 10

We also want to place a score mark where the ticket in theory will be perforated and torn. Create a dotted line with the Pen Tool (P) and place it where you want your ticket to be scored.

Step 11

Now let the fun begin. Go to Window > Automation > Data Merge and select the text file 100.txt. (You can download this data file with numbers 0-100 here).

Step 12

Select the Text Tool (T) and start dragging a text box that will wrap around the whole ticket including the crop marks. This is very important since the Data Merge will automatically calculate the duplication. Then open up the Text Frame Option (Command + B) and set the Inset spacing to 1p4 for the top and 1p8 for the left. Of course, you can place the text for the numbers anywhere you like. I set the numbers to a small text.

Step 13

Start writing the text for the numbers. In this case, I typed ticket "nr." Leave any numbers out. This will be filled in by the data file. As you can see, the text box wraps around the full tickets with crop marks.

Step 14

Zoom into the tickets where you have placed the text for the numbering and click on the data merge palette. This should be open already since we already called in the data file in Step 11. Place the text cursor behind the last letter of your text. Then click on the text data file (100.txt) in the Data Merge Palette.

Step 15

This is what you should see now. Brackets with 000. Make sure you are still on the Parent Page.

Step 16

This is what you should have right now. We are still in the parent page.

Step 17

Go back to the Data Merge Palette. On the bottom-right of the Data Merge Palette is a small icon called Create Merged Document. Click this icons once.

Step 18

You will now have a pop-up window called Create Merged Document. Make sure you select All Records. Then select in the Records per Document Page the Multiple Records drop down.

Step 19

On top of the pop-up windows click on the second tab called Multiple Record Layout. In there set the margins to 1p0. Check Column first and leave the spacing at 0.

Step 20

Select the last tab on the right called Options. Check Link Images. Then click the OK button on the bottom. Watch what happens.

Step 21

InDesign will automatically generate as many pages as needed and automatically insert the numbers. It's magical :)

Step 22

When you zoom in (Z), you can see that each ticket has a number. Not just randomly but in sequence.


This is the final result. I exported the tickets as a PDF. I hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial.

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