Generating a series of tables-as-forms
I've been asked to try to sort a way to get a lot of complex information into a report, where previously a table was on one page and a photo on the following. After a series of back-and-forth drafts, I've come up with each record going into a 1 x 3 table format, where the first cell of the larger table contains a detailed sub-table, the second is an unstructured format for adding longer paragraphs, and the third contains a picture control designed to make adding those site photos easy and keep the size uniform. An image of the table/subtable setup is attached, two to one page.
The left-cell table contains auto-numbering, some dropdowns and combo boxes to make selecting data quicker.
I've saved the 1x3 outer table as a QuickTable in Building Blocks, and then each of the three components also separately.
I'm trying to figure out a way to make it simpler to generate the shell of an entire report. For example, some reports will need 42 separate site tables, most of them tidy enough to fit two to an 11 x 17 page like the picture. Instead of having to have an engineer add 42 separate tables to the report, is there an easier way to do this?
1. Obviously I could create a document with fifty, and it'll be easier to delete the unused rather than add more.
2. I could create this as a mail merge document, and then a simple Excel table with the names and numbers of the sites could be merged, so that it creates the exact number needed. I like some of this idea, trying to think how the engineer would want to maybe rough out the whole thing in a simple Excel worksheet, then not have to retype their work. But do I then have to teach them how to mail-merge? Or do it for them each time?
3. I guess I could write some code, and ask for input on a form as to the number of sites, then have it add that number of tables.
Any ideas I haven't thought of?