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QuarkXPress has always been the perfect tool for creating and publishing documents. In QuarkXPress 8 Essential Training, Jay Nelson—the publisher of Design Tools Monthly and a QuarkXPress expert—covers all the tools and features in this updated version of the program, from basic page layout to Flash integration and web page creation. Throughout this comprehensive training, Jay shows what's needed to produce professional-quality projects that integrate text, pictures, graphics, and tables. He also offers real-world page layout techniques that designers can apply to their own projects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Creating boxes on a QuarkXPress page to put text in and to put pictures in, and then reshaping those boxes and giving them attributes such as colors and frames is basic to how you use QuarkXPress. Let's look at how you make those boxes, put text or pictures into them, adjust their shapes, and control their default behavior. To begin with, let's just create a new project, and accept whatever size it wants to put in there. If you know you want to create a text- box, all you need to do is click on the Text tool there, drag out a box, and begin typing.
If you want to create a picture-box, grab the Picture Box tool, drag out a box, and then you can either double-click it to go and insert a picture in it that's on your desktop, or somewhere else on your computer, or you can drag pictures in from various places such as Adobe Bridge, the desktop iPhoto, pretty much anywhere you can drag and drop a picture, you can drag it right into this box. Same is true with text in this text box by the way. But let's say you created a text box and what you meant to create was a picture box or vice versa. Under the Item menu, you'll see Content, and under Content it tells us that it's a text-box.
But I can also convert it to a picture box, and it will say hey! You are going to lose all your content. I know. That's fine, here we go. And now it becomes a picture box. When you are viewing your page with the guides turned on, you'll see the edges of all of the items, and you'll see an X through a box that's a picture box. If you have a text-box, there is no X through it. That's how you know the difference. Now, to avoid all these decisions if all you want to do is make some boxes, you can do that by selecting this third tool, which is the Rectangle Box tool.
With it, you can create a plain box that doesn't necessarily need to have text or picture in it. Let's say you want to just use it to make a background color. A box that just contains a color doesn't contain text or a picture. So you don't need to define it as a text or a picture box. In any case, you can always change it under the Item menu like I just showed you to either contain a picture or text or keep it as a None Box as they call it, which means it doesn't have anything in it except perhaps a color or a gradient. Now, hiding underneath this Rectangle Box tool is the Oval Box tool and the Starburst.
So let's have a look at those. If I take an oval, there is my oval, and notice I can make it any shape I like. But if I really want a circle, just hold down the Shift key as you are dragging. So it's Click+Shift+Drag and now you always get a circle. The same is true with the Rectangle Box tools. So if I go back to my rectangle box, Click+Shift+Drag, it's always a square. Because essentially what you are doing by holding on the Shift key, you are telling your computer constrain my movement to 45 degree angles and that would be how you create a rectangle or a circle.
But let's say you want something a little bit different. You want a box that has rounded corners on it. Well, you still go ahead and create a rectangle box. You can even make an oval box if you like, and then down in the Measurements palette, you can control what its shape is. So right now I have this rectangle selected, and right here, I can choose what kind of corner I want on it. Right now, it's a Rectangle. I can make it Rounded. And down here is where I can change the radius of the corners. In other words, how rounded they are.
Right now, it's set to a quarter-inch, but if I change it to say a-half-an-inch and hit Enter, it changes the corner radius of that rectangle, which is now a rounded corner rectangle. Similarly, you can change it to be that shape or that shape. Now, one thing you may notice is that if I turn off the guides, basically everything goes away. If I magically click on one of these items, you can see its outline, but otherwise they're just gone. That's because they don't have any frame or color assigned to them. So there is nothing to display.
But let's say you are going to be making a whole bunch of boxes that are similar in their background color or their frame or something like that, frame meaning the outline edge on the item. All you have to do is double-click one of the tools in the toolbox, and it will bring up Preferences for the tools. In this area here we have those three box types. Now, all these preferences work the same way, they are just assigned to different tools. For example here are the Picture Content Preferences and if you double-click on any one of these, it will bring up options for how you want that tool to behave.
So let's say you are going to be creating a bunch of picture boxes, and you want them to all be the same. You can double-click here, and in this Modify dialog, you can tell it gee, I want all of them to be rounded corner rectangles with that kind of corner radius. I'd like them to be filled with Cyan or any other color that you have created etcetera. The picture in the box I want to be positioned in this way, scaled in this way, etcetera. The frame on the picture box should be of this size, and this style, and this color, and the text runaround, meaning how text is going to run around it, can be set there too.
So if I click OK now, I have just changed the defaults for this Picture Content tool. So when I click OK and I create a new picture box with the Picture Content tool, it will look like what I just defined in the defaults. So if I have to create a whole bunch of them, it's really easy to now make them all exactly the same. Now, we just changed the defaults for the Picture Content tool more specifically the Rectangle Picture Content tool, but you can use the same principle to apply to any of the different box creation tools.
You may want to remember to double- click back on the tool and change it back to what it was before with this Restore button here. If you don't remember which tools you changed, you can always hit Restore All, and they'll all go back to their default behaviors. But I'll just click Restore for this one because I know that was the one I changed, and click OK, and now when I go to create a picture box, it will be just like the boxes we were creating a minute ago. The way tools are arranged in the new QuarkXPress toolbox, it appears that there isn't a lot of option to how you want these boxes to look or behave.
But in fact, they are just very simple beginning points from which you can almost infinitely adjust them to get the look and shape that you want. If you just remember that the defaults for these tools can be changed, you can save yourself a lot of work when laying out repetitive documents.
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