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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.
When doing page layout work, it's really common to have a bunch of items on the page that are overlapping or in some way interacting with each other and that's why it's important to understand how they stack on top of each other and how you can distribute or align them together and how you can group them and do things to group them all at one time. So, first of all, let's look the stacking order as they call it. In other words, every time you create an object in QuarkXPress and then after that make another object, let's say I'll take this thing here and make a circle, fill that with some color.
This item is on top of that item. Well that's the stacking order and if you had more of them stacked up, each one would have its own place in the stacking order. To control this place in the stacking order, let's say I wanted to move this circle underneath the square, you could either go to the Item menu and choose Send To Back or you could Ctrl-click or right-click on the item and choose Send & Bring > Send To Back. So, now it's behind the blue rectangle. Now you also notice a chunk is missing now because this item right here is in front of it. Why is it in front of it, because this one was sent to the back? So let's undo that and let's say we wanted to send it backward but just by one level.
If you Ctrl-click on the item or right click on it, Send & Bring > Send Backward, instead of Send To Back and what that will do is send it one level back in the stacking order. So now we have this blue box on the very top and this lighter blue box just behind it. Now don't confuse this with the concept of using layers as in the Layers palette. What we are looking at right now is the stacking order, the order that items are on the same layer with each other. Groups of items can be on layers and the layers can be adjusted individually but we'll talk about that later on.
The next thing I want to talk about is aligning and distributing items. Sometimes you have a bunch of items like, say these squares here and we want to be able to distribute them evenly or align them. Let's say they started out in a very unusual arrangement like this and what we wanted to do is make them all line up. Well the first thing you do is select all the items and then in the Measurements palette, you will see this tab here that's for Spacing and Aligning. There you can say take all these items and move them to a new position, do these other things to them, but what we want to focus on, are these little icons here that will space the top edges, space the vertical centers, the bottom edges etcetera or space the left, center and right or align the left, center or right edges or align the top, center or bottom edges.
So, for example, if we click on Aligning Bottom Edges, they are all going to align on their bottom edges. But notice that the spaces in between them remain the same as they were before just kind of random, and that's because we use the Alignment buttons here. The Space buttons here are about distributing. So if we click the Space Horizontally button here and notice that here under Space it says Evenly, guess what we are going to get. We are going to horizontally space them evenly. Now what we just did was distribute items in relation to each other. But what if you want to distribute them in relation to the page? That's right.
Let's say you selected this box here and you wanted to put it in the exact center of the page or against an edge. All you do is select the item and in the Space Align tab here, notice that we can switch to Page Relative instead of Item Relative. By clicking that, these buttons become active which allow me to, for example, move that box over the right edge of the page, boom, just like that, or to the left edge or to the top or to the bottom. If you want to have it completely centered, just click these two buttons here and now that item is exactly centered in the page.
The other useful thing that you'll find yourself doing with multiple items in QuarkXPress is grouping them. That way you can move them all at the same time without being afraid that you will move one without the others. So for example, if I wanted to make sure that this text box and this text box and this picture always move together, I can select each one and choose Item, Group or Command+G or Ctrl+G on Windows. As you will see, it now creates an outline for the whole group that extends to the very edges of all of the items.
If you wanted to rotate them all together, just move your cursor just outside one of the corners and you can rotate everybody at the same time. I'll undo that. You can also scale all the items in there at one time. Let me zoom in a little bit, so you can see better what I'm talking about. You can scale all these items at once by simply holding down the Command key when you click and drag on a corner and on Windows, just hold down the Ctrl key to do that Another way to scale this group is to simply type new numbers into the Width and Height field down in the Measurements palette.
Understanding the relationships between items will make you much more capable of moving around on your page and being efficient while you do it.
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