You can export an XML file with program and speakers data to use for page layout in Adobe InDesign.

When you host large events, it’s useful to make your event schedules and lists of speakers available to attendees and participants in various ways. While Grenadine Event Software allows you to digitally publish to your website and mobile app with very little effort, you may, in some cases need to hire graphic artists to produce and print paper programs.

A paper schedule guide typically consists of several sections, such including:

  • The front and back covers
  • An introduction text about your event
  • Information about lodging, event rules, parking, etc.
  • Special pages for your main attractions
  • Sponsors and other advertising pages
  • A longer section with event schedules and speaker profiles.

The event schedules and speaker profiles section is often the longest, most “mechanical” step involved in producing the printed event guide. Your schedule may be changing until the last minute, therefore, integrating text and making sure everything is up-to-date until the moment you print can be quite a chore.

Grenadine Event Planner helps you integrate data quickly and efficiently into Adobe InDesign, one of the most popular software used for generating large printed documents.

Exporting text data for use in Adobe InDesign

There are two main data exports that you may want to use to help you integrate data into your printed event guide:

  • The schedule guide
  • The participants list

To export the schedule guide, navigate to Event Manager -> Your event -> Report -> Schedule -> Schedule guide. You can export it as a XML file, as Excel file and or as a PDF.

To export the participant list (speakers and panelists), navigate to Event Manager -> Your event -> Report -> People -> Participant and select ; a second file will be downloaded to your computer. Take note of both downloaded files.

Reviewing the downloaded Excel program and speakers file

Once you’ve downloaded both the schedule guide and the participants list, take a moment to open the files in Microsoft Excel and briefly review them to see if the data is as you would expect. For example, make sure that you are not missing information (for example, rooms or dates and times) and that you haven’t forgotten to enter some data in your event plan. If you have too many blank fields and need to add that information, you’ll need to go back into the Grenadine Event Software and enter the missing information within your plan before you start a second export.

Be sure to pay attention to special codes or HTML tags that you might have included in fields like “Title” or “Description”. Adobe InDesign does not support integrating HTML syntax, therefore, you may need to remove those tags later on to clean up your printed document display.

Here’s an example of what the exported schedule guide might look like:

Saving your Excel files for use in Adobe InDesign

There are two ways to integrate external data into InDesign:

  • Using Data Merge
  • Using Import XML

This section describes preparing data to use the Data Merge method.

To prepare your data for import into Adobe InDesign, you’ll need to save the Excel file in a format supported by Adobe InDesign. To save your data file within Excel, select File → Save As and choose the Tab Delimited Text (.txt) format. In some cases you can also use Comma Separated Values (.csv) format, however, this format can have issues if some of your descriptions and content contain commas. To ensure better compatibility, we recommend using Tab Delimited Text (.txt).

Give your file a name with the extension .txt and take note of where you store it on your computer.

Importing your file in Adobe InDesign

Once you have your .txt tab-delimited file, you’re ready to import it into Adobe InDesign using the Data Merge method. Instructions in this document are taken from the Adobe InDesign CC 2015 Mac Version, so depending on your version and platform things may be slightly different.

To start linking data, create a new InDesign document and select the menu Window -> Utilities -> Data Merge. This will display the Data Merge panel on your screen. From the Data Merge panel, select the panel drop-down menu and choose Select Data Source.

A file picker window will now open, from here select one of the .txt tab-delimited files you exported in the previous steps. Answer questions about the data source format and proceed. As you can see in our example below, we have chosen Delimiter:Tab, Encoding:ASCII, Platform:Macintosh :

You are using you may need to experiment somewhat with these import, depending on the type of computer/ operating system you are using in order to pick options that yield good results for your particular setup.


Once the file is linked, you can assign fields to your InDesign document as usual. You can find help on linking fields to a document from the Adobe web site here: InDesign Help – Data Merge.