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Dimitrije's picture
136 pencils

Numbering tickets (stickers) with InDesign CS3

Now it’s possible. Now it’s easy and fun. In this simple tutorial you will learn how to use improved bullets and numbering InDesign’s feature to get numbers on your tickets. Our goal will be to create 1000 tickets, numbered from number 1 to 1000. Of course, you are not limited to this number. You can create as many as your like.

We will start with ticket dimensions: 80x30mm. This is important because we are going to impose these tickets on A4 paper. After some calculation I found 15 tickets per page works OK for me - 3 columns and 5 rows. To make room for 1000 tickets we need 67 A4 pages (1000/15 = ~67).

Create new A4 InDesign CS3 document with 67 non facing pages in landscape orientation.

Open pages palette and double click on A master. Make text frame with dimensions matching dimensions of ticket and place it in upper left corner on master page.

Go - Type – Show hidden characters (make it active).

Type some text in newly created text frame and after the first line press Enter 2 times to get 2 paragraph symbols as on image below.

Select second paragraph symbol and lower font size for a couple of points. Open Paragraph styles palette and Option/Alt click on new style icon located at the bottom of palette to create new style. Name your new style to something like “to change”. Leave all settings and click OK. Click on the “to change” style in paragraph palette while you still have selected paragraph symbol.

Now make duplicates of text frame to fill A master page. You will end up with 15 tickets.

If you open page 1 you will find that text frames are not editable. To make all text frames editable select page 1 in pages palette and hold shift key when you click on last page in document (page 67). Open flyout menu and choose “Override All Master Page Items”.

Now go to page 1 and select second paragraph symbol of the first text frame located in upper left corner.

Option/Alt click on bullets and numbering button located in control panel. In the B&N window make following settings:

List type: numbers

List: choose New… name it, and leave both items checked. This is very important step. Each text frame is one story. “Continue across stories” option will allow continuous numbering across all text frames in document.

Format: 1,2,3,4

Number field: default is ^#.^t You can play a lot with this field.
^# - represent auto number
^t - represent tab
No.^# (customized)

Mode: continue from previous number

Open Paragraph styles palette and Alt click on new style icon at the bottom of palette. Name style to something like “numbering”. Click on the new created style name in paragraph palette just to be sure that you applied style to selection.

Deselect everything.
All we have to do now is to call Find/Change to help us with numbering process – Edit – Find/Change and make settings like on image below. Click on Change all button and watch the magic.

Delete unwanted tickets from last page if you want exactly 1000 tickets.
To create crop marks select all text frames on master page and apply CropMarks script with “each object selected”.
That’s it Indy lovers.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

mokenke's picture
314 pencils

Thank for this, it was useful.


Ivan's picture

very useful! thank you

Mainedesigngeek's picture
1 pencil

I have been using ticket numbering since PageMaker 6.5 scripts. I am currently
using CS3 and love it very much. But, I find using the data merge to be much easier to use. The trick comes in when you need multiples per page. You have to create your excel or text table accordingly. With the scripts, you don't have to do any math, you don't have to figure how many pages you need, InDesign figures all this out for you automatically and will also place images in your merge. I just did a merge for a print shop yesterday with 3000 names and 3000 photos for a Christmas mailing. It was sweet. I just send the the 3000 page PDF and they print it on the color copier and they have 3000 unique full color Christmas cards. The whole excel side, InDesign layout and creation of the 3000 page PDF took 20 minutes. But I do like the way you used the new find and replace. My question is has anybody found a pratical use for GREP yet?

Geetha's picture
1 pencil


ScottLarsen's picture
1 pencil

Took me a couple of tries but now I can do it without thinking... which is good. Thanks for the post.

Mainedesigngeek: If you have posted a step-by-step of your process I'd like to see it, thanks.

Anonymous's picture

Hey thanks for the post but got a problem my numbers are backwards!! on the master page they show fine but when they show on the page the first number is in the top left (where it should be) and the second number is at the bottom right and it counts from right to left all the way back up to the first number...

Anonymous's picture

Bless you. I really thought I was gonna have to place 4,000 graduation tickets by hand.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for posting this tutorial. It saved me a lot of time and headaches.

Twixxie's picture
1 pencil

Thank ... for people like you! You saved my day. And my clients money... :-)

Backtocrazy's picture
1 pencil

This is a neat trick, but in most numbering situations you want the tickets collated or in books. So I use data merge. The data merge offers more flexibility so you can stack your numbers. You can set it up so ticket 1 is on page one, in text box one, Ticket 2 is on page 2 in text box 1 ect... This allows for easy bindery. You just cut the tickets and thy are stacked in order, no collation involved. Data merge is a little more time intensive (By may be 5 min.) but is a important tool to learn for any Mail merge, collated numbering situation and personalized tag lines. You will also save hours of bindery work for your print shop or printer increasing your profits.

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