Making OnMerge Guess File Name Variations

Let's say you have a collection of files keyed by database field <name> BUT some of them are <name>.JPG files and some are <name>.GIF. How can you make OnMerge figure out which type of file to use without painfully adding that bit of trivia to your database?

How to Guess File Names

Just put two or more OnMerge images side-to-side. Make the images identical, except for the varying file name parts. In this example, one image has Name Part 1 = database lookup <name>, and Extension = .GIF. The other OnMerge Image is the same except Extension = .JPG. That way, one OnMerge Image or the other will match and show a photo.

But, wait! Won't the "missing" image leave a hole in your layout? One more trick: on the Option tab of each OnMerge Image, under heading When OnMerge Image is Unavailable..., select Merge blank image. Further, select Make blank image tiny just to the right of that. The "Tiny" option will make the blank images virtually disappear, taking up about a much space as the period at the end of this sentence. The "missing" images will still be full-sized in the template document's on-screen preview, but they'll disappear in the final merge. See Handling Missing Images for details.

Not Just for .JPG and .GIF

You can use this trick for many file name variations by juggling various Name Parts. A few examples:

  • <First> <Last> vs. <First><Last>
  • <First> <Last> vs. <Last> <First> vs. <Last>, <First>
  • <First> <Last> vs. <First> <Middle> <Last>
  • <First><Last> vs. <First><Last> copy
  • <Photo> vs. <Photo>-1 vs. <Photo>-2
  • (WebImages only) http://site/logo.jpg vs. http://anothersite/logo.jpg
  • ...lots more possibilities