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QuarkXPress has an almost hidden and certainly underused feature that lets you combine boxes in many different ways to create entirely new shapes. If I draw a rectangle and give it a stroke and then Option or Alt drag it to create a duplicate, I can add a rounded corner to the top one and then merge these two items to create something like a tombstone. It will have curved corners on the top and square corners on the bottom.
To do that, we go to the Item menu and choose Merge > Union, there. Now we have what was previously impossible, one box with sharp corners and rounded corners. But the Item Merge feature has several other options. I'm going to undo this Merge so we can play with these boxes some more. Item > Merge. Instead of Union, let's look at Intersection. It combines the portions that overlap into one new shape. I will undo that Item > Difference, interesting.
Item > Reverse Difference, okay. Item > Exclusive, alrighty, and Combine. But I'm going to go back to Item > Union and now add some more shapes to it. I'll take the Oval tool, maybe I draw an oval here, and I'll even take the Start tool and draw a star here. Now if we select all three items and choose Item > Merge > Union, we get an entirely new shape that we can than customize anyway we would like, including using the Bezier Pen tool to change its shape anyway we see fit.
This capability is a huge advantage for those of us with limited drawing abilities, but it's handy for everyone because it lets you use basic shapes to begin a more complex illustration that you can then edit into any shape imaginable.
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