Variable Data Alternative to SmartStream


New member
I'm currently using HP SmartStream for our VDP products and my builds are fairly robust in terms of the amount of variable data and images. I'm looking for an alternative and was hoping some people here may have some suggestions. I utilize the fast template options (.JLYT) for SmartStream so I can drop CSV files into a hotfolder which will automatically RIP my products. I'm hoping there's a similar feature in the alternative software that will allow me to easily generate press ready files. My restriction with SmartStream is that in order to use the fast templates, it needs to RIP directly to the indigo, I can't create a PDF that I can use on other presses unless I make it manually in InDesign.

We print in high volumes, so the bigger, better solutions would be best. And obviously something that integrates with InDesign as well.

I'm assuming XMPie from my initial digging may be the best option, but I wanted to check here in case there were alternatives I should be considering to that as well.


Well-known member
HP offers Composer, which is basically SmartStream on steroids running on a server. You still build your templates just like you are now with SmartStream, then you save out an HPD file - this is basically a proprietary HP zip file containing your SmartStream InDesign template. Copy the HPD to the Composer server and now you can drop your CSV file(s) into a hotfolder on Composer and it will do its thing. You can output to PDF if you want so it can go to any press.

It's very fast compared to the desktop version of SmartStream. We use it a lot.


New member
I'm seeing SmartStream Composer and PrintOS Composer, are these two different things? and If so I'm assuming you are talking about SmartStream Composer?


Well-known member
Check out DesignMerge Pro by Meadows Publishing. It's an InDesign PlugIn and it's specifically designed for large volumes. You can output PS, PDF/VT, PPML, and CreoVPS. With PPML, you can automatically send the job over in smaller chunks so it doesn't overwhelm the RIP. It also gives you the option to output to a file rather than direct to RIP. Additionally, it works with 1D barcodes and 2D QR Codes. Lastly, you can create scripting actions for automation. Check it out here:

Also, if you already have a relationship with Konica Minolta, they re-sell the exact same product under the name EngageIT Variable Data Pro.

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