The Variable Imaging process
Variable Imaging, short for Variable Data Imaging (VDI), is used to transform unformatted data into presentable reports or transactional documents such as utility bills, tax notices, and statements of account. A simpler example of VDI is a mail-merge for the purpose of a direct mail advertising campaign.
Other uses of VDI include simple numbering (for example, unique coupon codes or PURLs) or even randomizing some aspect of document (for example, a randomized voting ballot or a randomized flourish on a business card). In these cases, the "variable" data need not be customer-supplied, but can be generated on-the-fly.
If these documents are destined to be printed, we call it Variable Data Printing (VDP).