Ordering packages with a text file

Applies to: NeoPack/Professional, PackBuilder, NeoPack/Plus


This article describes the method for importing a text file directly into the Form Packs Mode of NeoPack/Professional and PackBuilder. It is also possible to import orders with a text file imported in Details Mode where the order information is most often imported at the same time as other subject data.

Ordering by importing a text file is perhaps one of the most popular methods of ordering packages with NeoPack/Professional and can also be used with NeoPack/Plus and PackBuilder.

Often a photographer or laboratory enters orders into their own databasing program or perhaps a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel. Provided this order information can be exported as a text file (txt or CSV) it can be imported into the software to automatically form a print queue.

A simple order text file

At its simplest, the text file need only contain two fields - one field to identify the subject or image and the other field with the layout's (template) key. If you are not familiar with assigning keys to templates please refer to the article 'Template Properties'.

A sample test file may therefore look something like this:

1111,C
3333,A
6666,B
9999,A

The first field is the subject's unique ID. It could instead be the imagefilename (it must be the imagefilename(tag) or imagenumber in NeoPack/Plus since NeoPack/Plus works solely with images - not subjects). The second field is the layout's unique key.

Of course the text file is likely to have more information than just these two fields. A more typical text file may therefore be:

Loretta,Fusel,1111,C
Joanna,Liederman,3333,A
Bruce,Martin,6666,B
Johnathon,Charles,9999,A

This text file is now ready to import. Using NeoPack/Professional as an example the text file is imported into Form Packs Mode>Queue>Import text file>Setup. This presents the user with the Field Map Window

Fig 1: Setting up the queue text file import

Take note of the field position map.

  • The subject field is the third field in the text file - the subject's unique ID.
  • The Pack layout code or key is the fourth field in the text file
  • The field in this particular job file that holds the unique ID is called "ID" and needs to be specified in the "Subject field to match on" pull down

Once the setup is complete import the text file to build the print queue.

If the queue does not build make certain the templates are available. If templates have been arranged into folders ensure the correct folder has been selected in the templates drop down. Likewise if templates have been arranged into pack sets. And finally make certain the template key in the text file matches the template key for the templates you are using

Ordering multiple layouts per subject

Multiple layouts can be ordered for each subject in one of two ways

  1. Adding additional lines for each layout
  2. Using just one line but seperating each layout key with a space delimiter
Adding an additional lines for each layout

With this method each layout is ordered by a seperate line in the text file. The sample text file above may then look like:

Loretta,Fusel,1111,C
Loretta,Fusel,1111,B
Joanna,Liederman,3333,A
Joanna,Liederman,3333,B
Joanna Liederman,3333,C
Bruce,Martin,6666,B
Johnathon,Charles,9999,A
Johnathon,Charles,9999,C

Ordering all layouts with just one line

By seperating each layout key with a space, all layouts can be ordered with one line. The example above then becomes:

Loretta,Fusel,1111,C B
Joanna,Liederman,3333,A B C
Bruce,Martin,6666,B
Johnathon,Charles,9999,A C

Ordering multiple copies per layout

Multiple copies for each layout can be ordered with a seperate field. Where multiple layouts have been ordered in a single line and each key has been seperated by a space, the number of copies need to "line up" with the corresponding layout key and are also seperated by a space.

Taking Loretta Fusel as an example from the text file above:

Loretta,Fusel,1111,C B,3 2

This entry will order 3 copies of layout C and 2 copies of layout B

Adding the number of copies field will require the field to be mapped in the import text file setup. In our example the number of copies is the 5th field.

Fig 2: Text file import setup with number of copies option

It may be tempting to order multiple copies by simply repeating the layout key the desired number of times. The Loretta fusel example above then becomes

Loretta,Fusel,1111,C C C B B

This is not recommended because of it will result in greatly increased rendering times since each package is rendered multiple times instead of being rendered once and multiple copies made.

Ordering layouts with item designs

By adding another field it is possible to order each layout with an optional item design. Where multiple layouts are ordered with a single line, the item design key must "line up" with the desired layout key. Using Loretta Fusel once again as an example the following entry will add item designs with keys X and Y to the layouts C and B.

Loretta,Fusel,1111,C B,X Y,3 2

This will order 3 copies of layout C with item design X and 2 copies of layout B with item design Y. The queue text file import setup will have to be mapped accordingly.

Fig 3: Text file import option with item design option

Orders may also be placed per pose. This is covered in a seperate article.

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