The QuarkXPress Utilities Menu

By Jay J. Nelson

Longtime QuarkXPress users may forget the first time they discovered the spell-checking tools in the Utilities menu and concluded that this menu holds a hodge-podge of commands and tools that don’t fit under the other menus. New users are about to have that same “a-ha!” experience.

If you’re a wordsmith, you’ll want to remember that the spell-checking, word count, and content variable controls are here (not in the Edit menu). The Usage utility is also here, which every user needs to manage fonts and linked pictures.

Following are the tools on the Utilities menu:

  • Insert Character: Lets you insert special characters such as breaking and nonbreaking spaces.
  • Content Variable: A content variable is text that is automatically created based on its location in the layout, such as a running header or footer. This tool lets you create, edit, insert, and remove a content variable or convert one to text.
  • Check Spelling: Check the spelling of a word, a selection of text, a story, a layout, or all Master pages in a layout. On a Mac, Auxiliary Dictionary and Edit Auxiliary are here, too — see explanations in the next two items.
  • Auxiliary Dictionary (Windows only): Lets you specify an auxiliary dictionary for use in spell checking. (You create an auxiliary dictionary and add words to it that you want QuarkXPress to spell check and hyphenate in addition to the words in the built-in dictionary. For example, you might add industry-specific or discipline-specific terms.)
  • Edit Auxiliary (Windows only): Lets you edit the auxiliary dictionary associated with the active layout. This is where you add, edit, and hyphenate words in the auxiliary dictionary.
  • Word and Character Count: Displays the number of words and characters in the active layout or story.
  • Line Check: Finds widows (a lone word on a line at the top of a page), orphans (a lone word at the bottom of a page), loosely justified lines, lines that end with a hyphen, and overflow text.
  • Suggested Hyphenation: Displays the suggested hyphenation for the current word when it breaks at the end of a line.
  • Hyphenation Exceptions: Lets you view and edit the exceptions as well as import and export lists of language-specific hyphenation exceptions.
  • Convert Project Language: Lets you convert all the characters in the active project that use a particular character language to a different character language.
  • Usage: Lets you view and update the status of fonts, pictures, color profiles, tables, Composition Zones, and assets used in layouts.
  • Item Styles Usage: Lets you view and update applied Item Styles.
  • Job Jackets Manager: Job Jackets are a collection of requirements and limitations for specific kinds of projects; they ensure that your layouts will output properly. This menu item displays the Job Jackets Manager dialog box.
  • Build Index: Creates an index from the contents of the Index palette.
  • Insert Placeholder Text: Generates random text in the active text box.
  • Cloner: Displays the Cloner dialog box, which lets you copy items or pages to one or more other layouts and projects.
  • ImageGrid: Displays the ImageGrid dialog box, which lets you create a grid of picture boxes and fill them with pictures from a folder.
  • Tracking Edit (Windows only; under Edit menu on Mac): Lets you control tracking (letter spacing for a selection of text) for installed fonts.
  • Kerning Table Edit (Windows only; under Edit menu on Mac): Lets you control kerning, or the spacing between each specific pair of letters, for installed fonts.
  • Linkster: Displays the Linkster dialog box, which lets you link and unlink text boxes in various ways.
  • ShapeMaker: Displays the ShapeMaker dialog box, which creates boxes in a mind-boggling number of different shapes.
  • Remove Manual Kerning (Windows only; under Style menu on Mac): Lets you remove all manual kerning applied between characters.
  • Font Mapping: Lets you create and edit rules for substituting a new font for a font that is requested when you open a project, but which is not active on your computer.
  • Component Status (Windows only): Lets you view the status of required software components.
  • PPD Manager: Lets you control which PostScript Printer Description files (PPDs) are loaded in the Print dialog box.
  • Convert Old Underlines: Converts all underlines in the active story from QuarkXPress 3.x (Stars & Stripes) format to Type Tricks format.
  • XTensions Manager: Lets you control which XTensions are loaded when you launch QuarkXPress.
  • Profile Manager: Lets you control which color profiles are loaded in QuarkXPress.
  • Make QR Code: Lets you generate Quick Response (QR) codes directly within QuarkXPress and then style and color them the way you want.
  • Redline: Enable and disable automatic tracking and highlighting of text changes or display the Redline palette.
  • Check Out License/Check In License: If you have installed Quark License Administrator (QLA), this tool lets you check licenses in and out.