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How to Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge for Digital Planners And Printable Planners

How to Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge for Digital Planners And Printable Planners

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Are you tired of manually entering dates into your planners, only to find errors and wasted time? As someone with a lack of focus and dyslexia, I understand the struggle all too well. But what if I told you there’s a way to streamline the process and create beautiful, functional planners with ease? That’s where the Affinity Publisher data merge comes in. With this powerful feature, you can import your planner data into Affinity Publisher, save time, reduce errors, and create the planner of your dreams. Let me show you how…

Unlock the Magic: Creating Dated Planners with Affinity Publisher Data Merge

Affinity Publisher is the rock star of planner creation because it allows you to import all those repetitive dates into your planner with just a few clicks saving you tons of time and a butt load of errors. 

This magical tool allows you to set up a process to create the ultimate planner that you can repurpose over and over effortlessly and put in your shop with different styles and colors easily.  There are a few tricks and tips that can help you accomplish this process and save you hours of time!

Data Merge

Data merge is a process by which you import sequence type data into your Affinity Publisher document. The data merge file exists outside of Affinity Publisher there are a few file types you can use including Excel and CSV. The Affinity Publisher 2.2 now includes the ability to import Anchors and Hyperlinks making planner creation even more magical with Affinity Publisher.

Bonus:  You can import more than just dates!  Wait see we cover it more below…

How To Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge For Digital Planners - How To Create Your Own Planner
How to Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge for Digital Planners – How to create your own planner

Discover the Secret Sauce: Benefits of Using Affinity Publisher Data Merge for Digital Planners

Data merge is the process of importing information into your document automatically.  

It requires two things.  A base import file with a Master Page, and Data Source.

With digital planners, you can import dates, images, affirmations, quotes, and… really the options are endless when you’re talking about text and images you want to have in your digital planner.

The biggest benefit is the amount of time you will save typing the dates, followed possibly second by the reduction in the number of data entry errors for dates.  

I am all about tools that allow you to do the work once and then repurpose that work.  I love the data merge for this purpose.  

Imagine you are creating a planner for moms (maybe you), and on every weekly page you want a supportive quote to help them keep going.  As moms, we work hard, and we deserve a little pick-me-up.  Sure you can type those quotes in by hand, that’s 52 unique uplifting quotes.  

Now this planner is just for moms. 

But what if you could type those quotes and quotes for your mompreneurs, and quotes for those dads and quotes for grandparents, and quotes for doggo owners into a spreadsheet, and you could use that same planner and create base files for each of these audiences?  

That is the power of Affinity Publisher’s data import!

It’s not just the dates, you can add quotes, and images too!

Now, are you even more excited to learn a little more about Affinity Publisher’s data import tool?

Effortlessly Beautiful: Using Affinity Publisher Data Merge for Digital Planners

If you’ve never done an old fashion mail merge in a word processing program, this may seem weird to you so let me explain the process first, then I’ll show you the windows you’ll need in Affinity Publisher.

When you merge data you need a source file (your Affinity Publisher document) with fields that can be filled by a data source (an Excel Spreadsheet) and running the process will create an export file.

So now you need some steps to follow.

The Four Steps to Import Dates

Step one: Create your Data File

Step two: Create your Affinity Publisher Template

Step three: Use Affinity Publisher to insert the placeholders

Step four: Run the merge

Step five:  Save the merge file as your final template file

Step six:  Merge your template files into your base planner file

This may feel like a lot, but once you have the Data File the longest part is inserting the placeholders and we do that on the master page. So you aren’t entering 365 placeholders for the daily pages, you are entering it 1-12 times depending on the setup of your planner.  😉

How To Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge For Digital Planners - Data Merge For Dated Planners
How to Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge for Digital Planners – Data Merge for Dated Planners

IMPORTANT: Each row on the spreadsheet populates one page in your final document.

This is going to be a fun process because you’ll be saving yourself hours!

Setting up a merge file for a Weekly Template.

  1. Create Your Affinity Publisher file
  2. Name Master Page – [MERGE TEMPLATE] – Weekly
  3. Add a Table 
  4. Add a 2 Column 4 Row grid to the page
  5. Size it to page
  6. Open the Data Merge Manager
  7. Connect your data source
  8. Open the Fields Window (Window ->References->Field)
  9. Enter your days into the table
  10. Add your fields to the table 
  11. Generate the document

As you go through this process it is a blast to see your creation appear before you.  Possibly weeks’ worth of pages magically appear when you hit that generate button again on this template.  Now imagine you no longer want black lines for your table.  It’s simple, go in and change the table colors and move the pages back into your original document!

Mastering Your Digital Planning: Tips and Tricks for Affinity Publisher Data Merge

There are a few tips and tricks for using data merge to create planners to sell quickly and efficiently.  

These include keeping your templates well organized and standardized. 

Oh and remember that adding hyperlinks to the templates themselves has to be redone when they are imported back into our base planner.  

It’s important to apply as many links as possible to your master page file as possible in the base planner.

If you can use templates only for the dated pages or simple pages like the tab pages where you might have a quote or graphic to import you’ll see a much faster process.

I personally have my biggest issue with organizing and remembering where I put things… ADHD ya know.  So I’m working on a system for this in Notion.  I will share when it’s completed and I’m happy with it.  It may be a while… I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

Creating Masterpieces: Tips for Designing Master Pages and Base Files for Digital Planners in Affinity Publisher

Let’s talk about Master Pages and Base files.  What the heck do I mean by these?

Well, the Master Pages in Affinity Publisher are the pages that act as a template for other pages.  This is the power of Affinity Publisher.  This template page allows you to design once and duplicate it across pages.

The best way to design your planner is to actually have a Base Import file for each template that is dated.  

So you would have an import file for the Monthly Calendars, another one for your weekly template, and finally one for your daily templates.

In each of these base files, you would have a single master page with your templates and your fields set up for import.

Once you have all your templates populated, then you import them into your master planner.  This would look like this:

  • Monthly Calendar Import File
  • Weekly Calendar Import File
  • Daily Calendar Import File

Each of these would generate a fully populated calendar file.

The populated calendar files become the pages in your planner.

It sounds like a lot.  But these are all relatively simple pieces once you have a process.  It’s this process that I teach in Affinity Publisher: Planner Pizzazz.  It is a step-by-step process to create a dated planner.  But this post should get you started.

If you are stuck on this make sure to leave a comment below, I will do my best to help you out.

From Spreadsheet to Planner: How to Import Data into Affinity Publisher for Digital Planners

In the last section, we discussed what the process is.  Here I want to give you an overview of the actual steps.

There are more steps to create a dated planner this way, but it saves you massive time because you are focused on one dated template at a time.  

This process sets you up to reuse these templates.  Let me walk you through the steps below.

Steps to Create Dated Pages in Affinity Publisher with Data Import

  1. Create your import spreadsheet.
  2. Create your base import file 
  3. Create a Master Page 
  4. Create your Calendar Design
  5. Add the import fields for the date
  6. Generate the file using Data Merge Manager
  7. Add the generated pages to your Master Planner File (the planner you sell/use/give away)
  8. Hyperlink your pages.  

Just a side note, if you check out some of my other posts I help you with setup and hyperlinking your dated digital planner. 

How To Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge For Digital Planners - Connect The Data Source
This is where you Connect the Data Source and Generate the dated files

Maximizing Efficiency: How to Automate Data Entry for Digital Planners in Affinity Publisher

Have you ever wished you could just wave your magic wand and have all the dates added to your planner, just like that?  All that time you spend typing out “Month date, year” is just tiring when you’re creating a planner.  And how many times can you type 1-31 before your fingers go numb and you start to feel like your brain is numb too?

Well, importing your dates saves you from that brain-numbing process!

To wave your magic wand you just need an Excel file that will solve all your problems.  I did create one with formulas that I use so that I open the file and enter my planner time period and it magically populates all the rows I need for my planner.

You can either make your own or grab mine below.  🙂  It does save a great deal of time, but it must be opened in Excel only.  Opening it in Google Sheets breaks the formulas, and at this time Affinity Publisher does not work with Google Sheets

PlanWizard Excel: Magic for Your Planners and Affinity Publisher is a premade import sheet for you to use to save you many hours and headaches on your first or next-dated planner.  

How To Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge For Digital Planners - Planwizard Excel
How to Use Affinity Publisher Data Merge for Digital Planners – PlanWizard Excel – You Planner Dates Automatically created for you.

Make Your Planner Dreams a Reality with Affinity Publisher Data Merge

Dated digital and printable planners are becoming increasingly popular, and the process of creating them can be daunting, especially when manually entering dates and other repetitive information. 

Fortunately, Affinity Publisher’s data merge feature simplifies this process by allowing users to import dates automatically. However, some people may still find the process challenging. That’s where PlanWizard Excel comes in – a premade import sheet designed to make the process of creating a digital planner even more effortless. PlanWizard Excel automates the process of populating your planner with all the necessary dates and information, leaving you with more time to focus on designing and customizing your planner. By using PlanWizard Excel and Affinity Publisher data merge, you can create beautiful, functional, and unique digital planners with ease.

Don’t let the fear of a challenging process discourage you from creating your dream digital planner. With the power of Affinity Publisher data merge and the convenience of PlanWizard Excel, the process of creating a digital planner has never been more accessible. So, go ahead and give it a try! You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to create beautiful and functional digital planners that can help you stay organized, motivated, and productive.

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FAQ’s About Data Merge in Affinity Publisher


How do I merge data in Affinity Publisher?

Affinity Publisher Data Merge requires an external data source.  This can be a simple Excel file.  The column headers of the Excel file become the names of the merge fields.  Using Affinity Publisher Data Merge tools you can add those fields to your template and merge the files.


How does data merge work?

Data merge basically does a find a replace on your file.  It takes a piece of data from the data file and searches for the merge field associated with the data and replaces the merge field with the data from your Excel Data Source.  Each row on the spreadsheet will become a single page output for the datasource.


Where can I find data Merge?

In Affinity Publisher click on Window->Data Merge Manager to add a Data Source (or more) and then add the fields to your template.

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