9 QuarkXPress Workflow Resources

By Jay J. Nelson

QuarkXPress has a thriving ecosystem that includes third-party XTensions (plug-ins), free tools from Quark, free training videos, websites, a Facebook group, and forums. You may be surprised at the unique and valuable opportunities in the following sections.

Quark’s Free QuarkXPress Document Converter

QuarkXPress Document Converter is a stand-alone application that converts legacy documents (QuarkXPress 3, 4, 5, and 6) to the new format (QuarkXPress 9.1), which lets you open these documents in QuarkXPress 10 or later. It can convert multiple documents at one time, including entire folders and subfolders, without overwriting the original files.

The easiest way to obtain this utility is to choose Convert Legacy Files from the Help menu in QuarkXPress.

When you open a converted legacy document in QuarkXPress 2016, it uses the text flow engine introduced in QuarkXPress 9 — therefore, your text may reflow.

App Studio

App Studio is Quark’s online service that lets you create HTML5-based publication apps for iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, and Android devices. Anything you can create in a QuarkXPress digital layout can be exported to a native app, and you can enrich it to include further bells and whistles such as map coordinates (geolocation), hotspots and pop-ups, HTML5 widgets, page flips, and vertical scrolling pages and text boxes.

To use App Studio, you upload your QuarkXPress project to Quark’s online App Studio Portal and use the portal to export the app with its content. (Amazingly, you can even upload an InDesign document, a PDF, or even an XML file if you have the skills.) Because App Studio is intended as a tool for distributing publications, you can create and publish new issues for your apps, and those issues will then be available to the app.

To learn more about App Studio, visit its website and read Quark’s “Digital Publishing with QuarkXPress 2016“.

Key Commands for Tools

To quickly switch from one tool to another, press its corresponding key on your keyboard — when you’re not typing in a text box, of course!

Keyboard Equivalents for Switching among Tools
Tool Windows Mac OS X
Item tool V V
Text Content tool T T
Text Linking tool T N
Text Unlinking tool T N
Picture Content tool R R
Rectangle Box tool B B
Oval Box tool B B
Starburst tool B B
Composition Zones tool L B
Line tool P L
Orthogonal Line tool P L
Bézier Pen tool P P
Add Point tool P P
Remove Point tool P P
Convert Point tool P P
Scissors tool P P
Select Point tool P P
Freehand Drawing tool P P
Table tool G G
Zoom tool Z Z
Pan tool X X

XTensions That Will Blow Your Mind

For more than 25 years, the publishing professionals at XChange U.S. & U.K. have advised QuarkXPress users on XTensions that make specific tasks more productive. Visit their website — or better yet, give them a call for experienced advice on whether they know of a timesaving solution for the tasks that you most often tackle:

https://www.xchangeus.com or +1-877-940-0600

https://www.xchangeuk.com or +44 (0) 345-259-0255

Other affordable workflow tools

Although the following products aren’t XTensions for QuarkXPress, they can be quite helpful for QuarkXPress users.

Quite Imposing Plus

This plug-in for Adobe Acrobat rearranges the pages in a PDF so that they can be correctly printed in spreads and signatures on a printing press, or as a booklet on a desktop printer. It has tons of professional imposition features.

JoJo (Mac only)

If you need to open a QuarkXPress document in the version that created it (instead of the most current version on your Mac), drag and drop the document over the dock icon of JoJo.

AppleScripts (Mac only)

QuarkXPress includes a bunch of AppleScripts for Mac users. To run a script, choose it from the Scripts menu (which looks like a paper scroll). To add new scripts, place them into the Scripts folder in the QuarkXPress application folder. Here are some of the most useful:

Box Tools submenu:

  • Add Crop Marks places crop marks around the selected box.
  • Make Caption Box creates a caption box (text box) below the selected box.

Grid submenu:

  • By Dividing a Box creates a grid of boxes based on the dimensions of the selected box.

Images submenu:

  • Copy to Folder saves a copy of the picture in the selected picture box to a specified folder.
  • Fldr to Select PBoxes imports picture files from a specified folder into selected picture boxes. Pictures are imported in alphabetical order.

Picture Box submenu:

  • Crop Marks & Name places crop marks around the active picture box and enters the name of the picture file into a text box below the picture box.
  • Place Name enters the name of a picture into a text box below the picture box that contains the picture.
  • Set All Bkgnd None changes the background color of every picture box in the layout to None.
  • Set All Bkgnd changes the background of every picture box in the layout to a specified color and shade.

Saving submenu:

  • Each Page as EPS saves each page of the layout as an individual EPS file with a color TIFF preview.

Special submenu:

  • Open Apple Events Scripting PDF opens “A Guide to Apple Events Scripting.pdf.” This PDF file contains detailed information about writing AppleScript scripts for QuarkXPress.
  • Open QuarkXPress Folders opens your choice of folders within the QuarkXPress folder.

Stories submenu:

  • Link Selected Text Boxes links selected text boxes. The text chain order is based on the stacking order of the text boxes.
  • Unlink Selected Boxes breaks the links between selected text boxes while retaining the position of the text in the text chain.

Tables submenu:

  • Row or Column Color applies a specified color and shade to every other row or column in a table.

Typography submenu:

  • Make Fractions converts all instances of numbers on either side of a slash (for example, 1/2) into formatted fractions.

Documentation from Quark

Quark keeps the current versions of documentation for QuarkXPress 2016 at this web page. Here are some of the most useful:

The Skinny on QuarkXPress Tips & Tricks

This affordable e-book series of tips and tricks covers a wide variety of techniques and tools in QuarkXPress. Other titles in the series cover tools you may also use, such as Photoshop and Lightroom.

Online Resources

Quark actively participates in a number of online presences, including the supremely helpful ones that follow: