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QuarkXPress began as a Macintosh-only application. This is one reason that it supports scripting through AppleScripts. Unfortunately, scripting is not available on Windows. If you can write an AppleScript, you can control just about anything in QuarkXPress. Quark includes a few helpful scripts, which you'll find in the Scripts menu here. Over the years, the functionality of some of the scripts have been incorporated into the main feature set of QuarkXPress, but others are quite handy. For example, Add Crop Marks puts crop marks around an item or a group. Make Caption Box builds a little text box under any picture box.
Grid does something really interesting. Let's select this box and choose Grid > By Dividing a Box. How many columns would we like? Let's say 5. How many rows? How about 3? How much space between them? Tenth of an inch, maybe another tenth of an inch. When we click OK, it says here is your grid. It then offers to build guides between all the picture boxes. I'm going to say No this time, but this is a really clever way to create a grid of guides.
The original picture box is still on the page and it's selected. So I'll delete it. With all these picture boxes, it seems like we ought to be able to do something with them. Another one of the scripts comes in really handy for that. I'm going to select all the picture boxes, go back to the Scripts menu, go to Images and choose Folder to Selected Picture Boxes. When I do that, it prompts me for a folder. I'll go ahead and select the MediaFiles folder that contains all the pictures from our projects that we've been using in this training. Would you like me to start at the topmost picture box, or the bottommost? Let's start at the top.
Would you like to fit these pictures to the box in different ways? I think Fitting Proportionally is probably smart, so here we go and now we have a grid, containing the first group of pictures in that folder. I'm going to delete all these picture boxes except one. I'll drag it to the middle of the page and I'll Fit the Box to the Picture. Now under the Scripts menu, I can go to the next item, Picture Box, and say I would like Crop Marks & the Name. The Scripts menu has other features in it. For example, you can control OPI, you can save each page separately as an EPS file, you can open folders, you can link selected text boxes, which is handy because unlike Quark's built-in linking tool, you can link text boxes that already have content in them.
If you have a table selected, you can color its rows or columns, and there is some Typography features here as well. Let's go back to the Special menu item and notice that there is an Open QuarkXPress Folders item in there. When we open it, it asks us which folder we would like to open. This is really convenient for opening any of these folders that you commonly need to access in QuarkXPress. Notice that the Scripts folder is in here and if I choose it, you can see that the Scripts folder contains folders within it and that hierarchy is reflected in the Scripts menu in QuarkXPress.
So if you've got an AppleScript, you can just drag it right into one of these folders, or make up a new folder of your own and it will appear in Quark Scripts menu the next time you relaunch QuarkXPress. If you use a Mac in your production workflow, you can probably automate some of your tasks with AppleScripts. Apple provides the scripting tools on every Mac, so you can either tackle a project yourself or hire an AppleScript expert to write one for you.
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