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The QuarkXPress Library feature has been around for many versions of QuarkXPress and in my opinion it's one of the most underused features that could really help a lot of people in their workflows. You can think of a QuarkXPress Library as a special kind of QuarkXPress document. It has many of the same abilities and limitations as a QuarkXPress document. For example, it can contain multiple items, each item in the Library is just a combination of standard QuarkXPress items that have been selected and dragged into the library.
When you drag them back out of the library, they recreate that collection of items on your document page. In this example, you might be working on a publication that has a number of writers whose pictures appear next to their stories. So, it can be handy to have them all ready to go anytime you need them for your magazine. In addition, if you have a standard callout that you use, you can put that in the library and then just drag it out anytime you need it and then change the text in it as necessary. Once again, these are just collections of standard QuarkXPress page items dragged into the Library palette.
Now, how did we get this Library palette open? Well, like I mentioned, it's just like every other QuarkXPress document, you choose File > Open and then choose it from wherever it is on your hard drive. If you want to create a new one, you go to File > New > Library. It asks you for a name and where to put it. If we put it on the Desktop and call it Jay's new library, we now have another new library floating around just like it was another document in QuarkXPress. One main difference with the Library is that, by default, it automatically saves whenever you close it.
So, you don't have to manually save it every time you close the Library. Let's look at how to add items to the Library. I'm going to select these ones we dragged out and get rid of them and select this picture box with these text boxes and drag them into the Library. Now, notice that the Library shows a pair of eyeglasses and some arrows that indicate where that item is going to go, in this case, at the end of the list. I could also put it in between other items and even at the top. But for now we'll put it at the bottom here and pretty much like any other window you can move it around and you can resize it so that you can see everything that's in it.
In fact, you can make it wide and it will rearrange the items to match the shape of the window. So, let's keep it long for now and look at what you can do inside of it. First of all, if you've got hundreds of items in here, it would be really handy to have them labeled, so that you could then find the ones you need. That's what this little pop-up menu is about right here. If I double-click any of these items, like the one we just dragged in here, I can give it a label and you can either type something in or choose from the existing ones that are already assigned to other items in the Library.
In this case, those don't make any sense for me. So, I'm going to call it Picture with Caption. That way when I want to use it again, I can look it up by its Library label. I'll click OK and now from the top menu I have All the different labels that I've used on any of these items and I also have Unlabeled. When I select Unlabeled, I don't get any because they all have labels. When I select Picture with caption, I get that picture. If there were more Library items that had Picture with caption assigned to them, then we would see them all there.
Now notice it says Mixed Labels. That's because you can select more than one label and have them all show up in this list. And that's just a great way for organizing and categorizing the items in your Library. Removing an item from the Library is as easy as removing it from a page. You simply select it by clicking on it and then hit your Delete key and it will prompt you to make sure that you really want to delete it. I'm going to say OK and now it's not in the Library. So that if I go back to my list of labels, select All, they are all in there again, without the one that I added.
Now to wrap this up, I've got a tip and a couple of warnings. The tip is Libraries are a great way to take a bunch of pictures that you want to give somebody else to layout on a page, without giving them the full resolution giant files that have the pictures in them. So, you could for example, create a bunch of picture boxes in QuarkXPress, import the pictures into it and then drag them onto this Library. Give someone the Library, they've got all the picture boxes with the previews of the pictures in them that they can layout the full document with, and then when you get it back, the high-resolution pictures will be reattached to them and printed out.
So, that's the tip. The warnings are, number one, the Libraries are not cross platform. So, if you create a Library on a Macintosh, you've got to keep it on a Macintosh and the same for Windows. And also be aware that since it is essentially a QuarkXPress document with Auto Save turned on, once you open a Library in a newer version of QuarkXPress, it can no longer be opened in the older version of QuarkXPress. So, be very careful about that and if you need to open it into a newer version, make sure you make a copy of that Library before you do, just in case you need to go back to the older version of QuarkXPress and use that Library.
If you keep those limitations in mind the Library feature can be incredibly useful. Use the Library feature and you will save a lot of time when you are using repeating items on multiple projects.
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