Creating FIDX Compatible Electronic Catalogs for Case Goods, Accessory and Non-configurable Upholstery Products

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1 Creating FIDX Compatible Electronic Catalogs for Case Goods, Accessory and Non-configurable Upholstery Products Discussion: This document describes a process for creating electronic catalogs for case goods, accessory and non-configurable upholstery products that conform to the XML product catalog standard recently endorsed by the Furniture Industry Data Exchange (FIDX) Committee. The term non-configurable means that no options are offered for the products. For example, if an upholstery chair is offered with three fabrics and a unique SKU number is assigned for each of the three fabrics, the chairs are non-configurable. Otherwise, if the chair is assigned one SKU number offered with three fabrics, the chair is configurable. Contact Jim Hollomon, regarding configurable products, at The electronic catalog publication process consists of three steps: Step 1, the input of product data, is the most labor intensive and time-consuming step. Manufacturers can manually input the data using paper catalogs or if electronic product data files are available, they can be converted to the required data format using the instructions listed below. Step 2, the compilation and publishing of a master catalog, requires special software that builds a product database and adds software that can be used to search, browse and view the products in the catalog and, when required, create a XML file for the catalog. MicroD will perform step 2 when the manufacturer supplies electronic data files as described below. Step 3, the duplication and distribution of copies of the master product catalog, can be performed by the manufacturer or MicroD. Step 1 Data input The data input process consists of the following two steps for each SKU: 1. Enter the SKU data into a spreadsheet 2. Scan and edit the SKU photographs and/or line art drawings First, create a spreadsheet containing the text data for each item (SKU) any quality spreadsheet software can be used but Microsoft Excel is recommended. If the data is available in a database, it can be exported to the spreadsheet. The text data entered for each SKU will typically be the information contained in the manufacturer s printed catalog and price list but any information a consumer might desire about a product should be included in the spreadsheet. You will need to download a sample spreadsheet containing the text data for four items. To download the latest copy visit and click on the Fast-FIDX Example link. The first column of the spreadsheet must contain the SKU number for each item and the following columns in the spreadsheet contain the text data for the item. If item data for a spreadsheet column is not available, enter N/A. Also, do not use the quote character ( )

2 for dimensions or comments and do not include accent characters. To allow users to quickly and easily search for items in the catalog, the item type must be specified in the Type column and the item sub type can optionally be specified in the Sub Type column. To view a list of the standard item types and sub types that MicroD recommends see the Fast-FIDX Example spreadsheet and click on the sheet labeled Types and Sub-Types. If additional item types or sub types are needed, contact Eva Richards. The spreadsheet columns specifying the item dimensions (Width, Depth, Height, Diameter, Weight, Volume, Seat Height, Arm Height, etc.) are optional. If MicroD s EasyPlan room planning software is to be used to create room plans, the item width and depth dimensions must be specified. If MicroD s EasyOrder software is to be used to create and price orders, the item cost must be specified in the Cost column. An optional Description column can be used to specify the item name and an optional Collections column can be used to specify the item collection, suite or line. The standard item finish can be shown in an optional Finish column or the finish can be specified in an optional Comments column. The Photo 1 column is used to specify the item photograph or line art drawing desired for the item thumbnail image displayed in the catalog item browser. If multiple photographs or line art drawings are available for an item, for example, an armoire may be photographed both open and closed, use the Photo 2 column and add additional Photo columns as required. The file names for the item photographs and line art drawings must be entered along with their extension, for example jpg. An optional Room Type column can be added to allow catalog users to search for items by room type in the catalog item browser. To view a list of the room types MicroD recommends see the Fast-FIDX Example spreadsheet and click on the sheet labeled Room Types. An optional NHFA Category column can be added to allow catalog users to search for items and report sales by NHFA Category. To view a list of the NHFA Categories see the Fast-FIDX Example spreadsheet and click on the sheet labeled NHFA Categories. The goal is to include as much information for the catalog user as possible. If additional information needs to be added, feel free to add additional columns to the spreadsheet. Columns frequently used for additional information include MSRP, Finish, Wood Species, Related Items, Notes, Companion Series, etc. If necessary, scan item (SKU) photographs and/or line art drawings - any quality scanner which is capable of scanning 300 dpi can be used. The photograph and line art files should show individual items (not room scenes). If necessary, photographs of individual items can be cropped out of existing room scenes. Save the files as JPG files with the file names equal to the item name or SKU number. If multiple files are used for an item,

3 simply add an A, B, etc. to the file name. Note that the file names must match the files names in the PHOTO columns of the spreadsheet created in step 1 above. If desired, use third party artwork editing software to edit photographs and line art drawings Adobe PhotoShop is recommended. A list of Adobe PhotoShop editing tools that can be used, is located at the end of this document. Step 2 Master catalog compilation and publishing After the spreadsheet, photograph and line art files have been completed, they should be organized into 3 folders as follows: 1. A folder named Spreadsheet containing the spreadsheet file with the product text data 2. A folder named Frames containing the primary photograph or line art drawing for each item (this is the art work that will be used as a thumbnail in the catalog item browser) 3. An optional folder named Images containing additional photographs and line art drawings for all products, if any. The electronic files should then be sent to MicroD, Inc via one of two methods: 1. Via CD-ROM mailed to Eva Richards at MicroD, Inc, 910 Tate Blvd SE #111, Hickory, NC Via Internet ftp file transfer to ftp.eprevue.net. The files must be zipped, named according to your company s name and will go into the folder called Downloads. Please contact Eva Richards, for login information. MicroD will compile the electronic files and publish a master product catalog that conforms to the FIDX electronic product catalog standard. The master catalog will be published on a CD-ROM and the catalog will be provided to the manufacturer for verification and editing if required. Step 3 Catalog duplication and distribution MicroD, the manufacturer or a third party can duplicate and distribute the master electronic product catalog as desired. With the manufacturer s permission, MicroD will, at no charge to the manufacturer, provide catalogs to the manufacturer s retailers who use MicroD s PreVue software. In addition, retailers will be able to display the catalog products on the web sites using MicroD s eprevue Internet services. Contact Robin Smith at for information about PreVue and eprevue.

4 PhotoShop Editing Tools The following PhotoShop tools can be used to edit photographs and line art drawings to improve their quality: 1. Crop tool - crop out the white by using the Rectangular Marquee to draw a box around the part of the photograph you want to keep. Select Image and Crop from the toolbar to cut out the unwanted portions from the photograph. 2. Rubber Stamp tool - cover up page numbers or words written on photographs using the Rubber Stamp tool. Select the Rubber Stamp and select the size of the stamp on the brush card. (If you do not see your brushes, Select Window and Show Brushes from the toolbar). Hold down the Alt key and click the stamp on the area of the photograph you wish to copy. Left mouse click on the area you wish the item to be copied to. 3. Sharpen the image: (Choose one of the following procedures) a. Select Filter and Sharpen from the toolbar. This may cause the photograph to become pixilated. If this occurs, select Edit from the toolbar and click Undo. b. Select Image, Adjust and Brightness/Contrast from the toolbar. Type in 10 for brightness and 10 for contrast. This will sharpen the photograph. Note: If using procedure b, the photograph may need to be darkened because this step may lighten the photograph. Follow Procedure 4, to make sure the photo looks as close as possible to the original photograph. 4. Variations and Hue/Saturation: a. Select Image, Adjust, and Variations from the toolbar. Midtones should be selected at the top of the Variations box. Notice you can change the degree of coloring, darkening, or lightening of the photograph by adjusting between Fine and Course. It is best to keep this adjusted to Fine. Adjustments may be made by clicking on the color or darkness/lightness needed. Click OK when finished. b. Adjustment to color may also be made by selecting Image, Adjust, and Hue/Saturation from the toolbar. A particular color scheme may be chosen to adjust under the Edit drop down menu or the user may stick to the Master and adjust all colors. Click OK when finished. 5. Pencil tool: a. Use the Pencil tool to draw lines. The size of the line may be determined by clicking on different brush sizes on the screen. If you do not see the brushes, select Window and Show Brushes from the toolbar. b. Left click the mouse to make dots. To create a straight line, click the mouse where the line should begin. Then, hold the Shift key down and click where the line should end. 6. Eraser tool: a. Erase unwanted items by left clicking and using the eraser tool. The size of the eraser can be determined by clicking on the different brush

5 sizes on the screen. Again, to view the brushes, select Window and Show Brushes from the toolbar. b. Erase a straight line by clicking where the line begins. Hold down the Shift key and click where the line ends. 7. Zoom tool: a. Zoom in on a particular part of a photo by using the Rectangular Marquee tool to draw a box around the desired object. Select the Zoom tool and click it inside the box until it is the correct magnification. b. Always view items at 100% when finished editing. This is how the item will be viewed in PreVue. Holding down the Ctrl and plus or minus keys will allow viewing of the photograph at different magnitudes. 8. Copying and Flipping an Area in a photograph - Images that are identical on both halves may be cleaned up on one side and copied to the other side. Clean up one side and select the Rectangular Marquee tool. Draw a box around the exact area to be copied. Hold down the Control key and click C, this will Copy the area. Hold down the Control key and V key at the same time, this will paste the item to the screen. Select Edit, Transform, and Flip Horizontal or Vertical from the toolbar (whichever applies). Using the Move Tool, pick up the item and move it to the desired area. Make sure that the item lines up with the other side so that it looks natural. Select Layer, Flatten Image from the Toolbar.

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