|Setting Up Links to Web Images (OnMerge WebImages Only)|
This section is only about working with images on the Worldwide Web (internet). For images on your PC's hard drive or local network, see Setting Up the Local Image Collection for Merging.
OnMerge WebImages Option is Needed
This section is only about OnMerge WebImages, an optional upgrade to classic OnMerge Images which is needed to work with web images. You can upgrade classic versions of OnMerge Images to OnMerge WebImages on our website at OnMerge.com.
OnMerge WebImages doesn't create any new images, but selects and downloads the correct existing image to use on each merged page or record. It does that by composing the appropriate Site Name and File Name for each image to get its "address."
OnMerge WebImages supports virtually all types of popular web images:
OnMerge WebImages does not support merging PDF files.
Images on websites are usually protected by copyright and/or other legal mechanisms. Websites typically grant you a license to view images on a web browser in the context of their enclosing web pages, but downloading them into your document may be prohibited. That's because, in effect, OnMerge WebImages is making a COPY of the image into your document when it merges them.
YOU MUST ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT RIGHTS AND PERMISSIONS BEFORE COPYING OR MERGING ANY IMAGE INTO ANY DOCUMENT. CHECKING THIS IS SOLELY YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY. By using OnMerge WebImages, you represent and certify that you have sufficient rights to copy the merged images into our document(s). All the examples and instructions in the present document assume that you have secured such rights. This is not legal advice; consult your legal advisor to specifically determine what is allowable.
Ground Rules for Web Image Addresses
Like all web files, image files' address names always stick to the following:
Some websites make you log in with a user name and password before you can access their contents. Use the web browser on the Internet tab in the OnMerge WebImages dialog (not your regular web browser) to log into those sites before previewing your document or merging. For details, see Internet Options.
Websites That Demand a Visit
Some websites don't require login, but do require you to visit a web page (usually the home page) before you can access their images. Use the web browser on the Internet tab in the OnMerge WebImages dialog (not your regular web browser) to visit such sites before previewing your document or merging. For details, see Internet Options.
Getting Web Images' Addresses
Let's assume you don't run the website(s) that host the images you want to merge. (If you do, you likely already know what to do.) There are 4 basic scenarios:
Getting Various Arbitrary Images' Addresses (URLs)
Using your web browser, you can right-click most images on a web page to get a pop-up menu and then click an action. Depending on your browser:
Paste the copied address into a field in your database or spreadsheet, then use that database field as the Field Name in the OnMerge WebImages dialog box.
You may not see any Copy-style options in the pop-up menu if the website has taken steps to prevent third parties from downloading images. In that case, that image is probably best left alone.
Do NOT use the options with the word Link in them since those are hyperlinks to linked web pages -- not the images themselves.
Organized Images Collection Addresses
Using a web browser, navigate to the web page(s) that show the images you need. Using the same techniques as in the above section, determine the address of several images. You'll probably be able to see a pattern in the various images' addresses where certain parts are the same and others vary. For example, the addresses http://abc.com/employees/123.jpg and http://abc.com/employees/456.jpg suggest that in the OnMerge WebImages dialog you should set up:
Images Via an API (e.g. Maps)
You can most likely get documentation from the website that details how to use the API. You might have to use the website to generate some sample images and look at their image addresses if the documentation is obsolete or lacking details.
The API will likely be in one of two general styles: a pure RESTful interface (e.g. http://abc.com/maps/NY/Brooklyn) or one that uses query variables (e.g. http://abc.com/maps?state=NY&city=Brooklyn). Both styles are equivalent, but query variables are the most popular. Assuming that you have two database fields STATE and CITY, you might set up your OnMerge WebImages Name Parts like this:
Escape database, bookmarks in query part of URL
When using query-style interfaces as shown above, you'll notice the "Escape database, bookmarks in query part of web URL" option at the bottom, right of the File Names tab in the OnMerge dialog. This works ONLY in the query part of the address (the part after the ? mark, e.g. state=xxx&city=yyy) and ONLY for information from database or bookmark lookups. That's because this option is only needed because you can never be 100% sure what a bookmark or database field will contain.
Here's the issue that this targets: let's say you had city=Peace&Love. The & character is used to separate query fields, so the server would see city=Peace and Love=???. Setting the Escape... option will cause OnMerge WebImages to convert certain characters such ? and = to "escaped" versions (%26 and %3E) that don't break up the field. Web servers understand escaped characters. The option isn't set by default because you may have designed your database to contain data that's already formatted as a query e.g. "?state=NY" in a database field, in which case you'd want the = to stay as-is so that it acts as a delmiter.
The upshot is that OnMerge WebImages expects you to manually escape certain characters in the query (after any ?) portion of web addresses (URLs) unless you want them to have special meaning such as the = in ?state=NY. Those characters are:
SPACE (blank) characters will always be escaped for you automatically by OnMerge WebImages—no need to escape manually.
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