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XTension are plug-ins that add new capabilities to QuarkXPress. Many of the features in QuarkXPress are actually XTensions written by Quark and can be enabled and disabled from within QuarkXPress. One of my favorite free XTensions from Quark is their Quick Look Filter, which lets Mac OS X display previews of QuarkXPress documents in the Finder. In an earlier movie, I showed how to add XTensions to QuarkXPress. All you have to do is add the XTension file to the XTension Folder within the QuarkXPress folder. You can enable and disabled your XTensions from within QuarkXPress by using the XTensions Manager, which I have open now.
To get to it, you just go to the Utilities menu and choose XTensions Manager. To enable or disable XTensions, you simply click the check box next to them. To get more information about an XTension, you click the About button and when you have enabled and disabled XTensions that you need for a particular work, you can save them as a set and recall them at any time in the future. QuarkXPress includes sets for enabling and disabling all your XTensions but unfortunately they do not include a set that includes only the XTensions that Quark provides.
Therefore soon after installing Xpress, you may want to create a new set and call it Quark Only. Then you can easily jump back to Quark's native XTensions any time you need to do that. If you have been watching carefully, you realize that I disabled one of their native XTensions and then created the Set. If I want to make a change and update that set, all I have to do is to click on Save As again and retype the name of the set, Quark only. It allows me to replace the existing one. I say, yeah. So, now I have got all of Quark XTensions in one set that I can open or close all at the same time.
If I create a set of XTensions that I'd like to share with somebody, I can export the set and then the other person can import it from the file that gets created. Any changes you make in the XTensions Manager take effect on the next launch of QuarkXPress and by the way, you can use Quark's Preferences to control when the XTensions Manager opens. Either every time you launch the program or when one of these situations occur. Now, besides Quark's own XTensions, there is a strong cottage industry of third-party developers who make commercial and free XTensions. Usually to add features that many users would benefit from but there are also quite a few XTensions that are aimed at vertical markets such as book publishers, output providers and packaging designers.
There is even an XTension from Markzware that lets you open and design files in QuarkXPress. For more information about XTensions, I encourage you to visit the powerxchange.com. They don't make XTensions but they do try to sell all the XTensions available on the market. Their website lists every XTension they carry and if you don't find a solution to your particular need, their staff is very happy to help you find one. If you are outside the US or Canada, XChange International can help you. As a final workflow warning, I need to mention that XTensions have been around since QuarkXPress 3 in the early 1990's and usually have to be updated by the developers to work with each new version of QuarkXPress.
So, if you use an XTension that's essential to your workflow, make sure it's been updated before you began using a new version of QuarkXPress for production.
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