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I'm hoping to create (or better yet, find) a script which can populate an illustrator file or the like with text from another file. The goal is to produce a printable sheet of prototype playing/collectible cards. I have a (structured) file with the text, and I have a template for a card. So, I'm hoping there is a more or less straightforward way to parse the file and add each card's text to the appropriate position.

I'm a programmer, so I am capable of employing the javascript (or some other) scripting interface, but it's not at all clear to me from the docs how to get started on this. How does one get the text data available to illustrator?

Forgive me if this is not the right place for the question.

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Illustrator supports SVG files which are text (XML) files which can quite easily be generated by a script/program or even manaully with a text editor. They're certainly easier to generate than Illustrator's binary AI file format.

However, if your text requirements are complex (multiple paragraphs) then SVG might not suit. But titles and brief descriptions beneath the playing cards should be quite simple to implement.

If you want to add images to the SVG file you have the choice of linking to the original files or embedding them within the SVG file (base64 encoded).

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As it turns out, the answer to this is that Illustrator is the wrong program, and that InDesign and its datamerge feature will produce the effect I'm looking for. Serves me right for over-specifying the parameters.

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