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Unless you are beginning with an existing document or a template that someone has created for you, you are going to be creating a new document in QuarkXPress and in QuarkXPress a document is called a Project. So, to create a new project, you go to the File menu and choose New > Project. It presents you with a dialog box that asks you for a name to give the first layout in the project, because in QuarkXPress a project can have multiple layouts within it. Think of them as smaller documents within a larger container, the project being the container, the layout being the document that you are working with.
Because each layout can have a different kind of output intent, either Print, Web or Interactive. You choose which one you want to begin with. By default it's Print because most people use QuarkXPress for print documents. You don't need to name your layout right away. You can name it later. But if you know what the name of it is going to be, you can enter it now. If you know that your project is only going to have one layout, you can able this Single Layout Mode checkbox and then the project name becomes the layout name. But right now let's leave that turned off and then we choose our page size. You can choose the size from any of these presets.
These are just common paper sizes. You can also enter any custom size you'd like here and then choose whether you want it to be tall or wide, in other words, Portrait or Landscape here. To the right are the Margin Guides settings. Now your margin guides are the guides that sit just inside the outside of your page edge and outline what might be called your live area or your column area. It's not that things that are outside that area won't print, but rather just it's the area within which you are likely going to be putting your text and graphics. Outside that area and into the margins, you might be putting your running heads, your folios and other repeating items.
The width of the margins can be different for the Top, Bottom, Left and Right and if you enable Facing Pages down here on the left, you will notice that Top, Bottom, Left and Right becomes Top, Bottom, Inside and Outside. That's because often in a book, for example, the Inside margin will always be bigger than the Outside margin and when you have Facing Pages left and right, QuarkXPress will maintain that relationship so that the Inside margins are always a different size from the Outside margin. Now, within the area that's outlined by the margin guides, you can also setup column guides and what that does is divide the area inside the margin guides so the center of your page, the live area will have a number of columns that you put right here.
By default it's 1, but let's say you wanted it 3 Column Layout, you could put a 3 in here with the Gutter Width of whatever you need and that would be the distance between the columns and the final magic checkbox is this Automatic Text Box. You would turn that on when you are creating a book or a lengthy document with lots of text and you want QuarkXPress to create new pages as new text gets added. So, we'll just click OK and have a look at what we've got. There we go, we have a 3 Column Layout with these margins around it, a text box ready for you to input text, 1 Layout in this project.
A topic we'll get to later are master pages, but for now just realize that you can have several master pages over here in one layout and each master page can have a different page geometry, meaning these margin guides can be in different arrangements, you can have different numbers of columns etcetera. That's important to know because you can't drag margin guides around, they live on the master page and you can adjust them there, but you can't adjust them on the document pages. And I'll wrap up with one final note about that New > Project dialog and that is every time you go there, it presents the same information that you put in the last time you were there.
So, notice we've got three columns here because we did that the last time. I recommend that each time you create a new project, you just double check all of this to make sure that the settings are what you think they are, instead of what they happen to be from the last time you created a new project.
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