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One of the most common effects in a page layout is Text Runaround where say a picture or some other item forces text to run around it. If we look at this layout, you'll see that occurs down here with this text box. As I select the text box and move it around, you can see the text lying around it. It's such a common effect that by default QuarkXPress installs with the Text Runaround turned on for the Picture Content tool. So if I draw a picture box and drag it onto the text, the text runs around it.
Personally, I find that incredibly irritating and so I turned that off as soon as I can, but let's see how it works first. I'm going to zoom in, so we can get a closer look at how this is going, and then down here in the Measurements palette, you'll see a Text Runaround tab. Right now, this object has its Text Runaround set for Item. If it were a picture, it would have these other options available, which we'll get to in a minute. For right now, just notice that you can set different runaround distances for the top, bottom, left and right sides of this item.
For example, if I increase the right side runaround, you can see the text moving its way away from that side of the box. And by the way, for all you Quark old timers, the Text Runaround feature is also still available under Item > Runaround. The only advantage here is that you have a little bit more information to work with if you need it. Now let's have a look at what happens when you have an actual picture in the picture box. I'm going to delete this picture box by pressing Command+K or Ctrl+K on Windows. I think of it as kill. I'll press the V key to switch to the Item tool, and then I'll click on our little chihuahua up here and Option+drag him.
Click+Option or Alt+drag him down to make a duplicate. I'll shrink him by Command or Ctrl clicking and holding down the Shift key, and I'll drag him onto the text. Once again, by default, the Runaround is assigned to the entire picture box. But what if I want the text to runaround the shape of the dog instead. Well, that's easy enough to do because down in the Measurements palette, I have all these different options available now that are based on the picture in the box because the Photoshop file containing that dog has a clipping path built into it.
I can choose Same As Clipping and we can see the text wrap around the shape of the dog itself. If I make the dog bigger, the text wraps accordingly. If the text is too close to the dog, again, I can increase the offset and watch the text move away until it's where I want it. But a lot of times, you'll have a picture that doesn't have a clipping path built into it. For example, this little dog bowl down here. If I Option+drag it up here and make it larger, you can see the text move away from it.
But again, it's moving away from the box and not from the bowl itself. I'm going to increase the Preview Resolution so I can see it better and then I'm going to play with these controls down here on the Runaround tab of the Measurements palette. The first thing I might try is that since it has a white background, I could choose Non-White Areas. Let's see what happens. Okay, that's good. The text is wrapping around the bowl the way I want it to except the white part of the picture is still showing. To fix that, I might go down here and choose Auto Image. Let's see what happens if I do that. Aha! It found the edges of the image and wrapped the text around it.
Again, I can increase the distance from the bowl and I also have control over some of the other aspects of the wrap on this item. Let's zoom in and see what the details are that are affecting this wrap. First of all, you may notice that there is some chopping off of the image itself. That's because Quark is actually creating a clipping path around the bowl and using it for the runaround. A lot of times on small items like this the clipping path is a little too rough for the fineness of the edge of the item. So you can control that down here under Threshold, Smoothness and Noise.
That tells Quark how much noise to ignore when it's creating the clipping path, how smooth the path should be, and how different the background needs to be from the object before it considers it to be the edge of the object. By adjusting these numbers, you can sometimes make the clipping path look the way you want it to. This control here, Outside Edges Only, means if you've got a shape that has a hole in the middle like a donut, if you turn this off, Quark will also find the middle part of the donut and consider that to be see-through.
And Restrict To Box makes it so that, if you make the box smaller than the item and turn this off, the bowl can stick out of the box. One advantage of that is if you fill the box with the color, the color will be inside the box but the item will poke outside of it. Now once in a while, a designer will want to run text around both sides of an object, unlike here, where you have this bowl sitting between two columns of text. If we wanted that bowl to be in the middle of the text and have the text runaround it on both sides, we're kind of out of luck.
A long time ago, the engineers of Quark decided that just was never really a good idea. But given the pressure that some designers had on being allowed to run the text around both sides of an object, they find a way to make that work. Oddly, it becomes not an attribute of the item itself, but of the text box that's touching it. So if I click on this text box here and go to the Modify dialog under Item and then go to the Text tab, I can choose to run the text around all sides. And when I click the Apply button, you can see that the text runs around all sides of that item that's placed in front of it.
By the way, that's an important thing. The item that's going to have the text running around it needs to be in front of the text items. Now the final quality of an item that's going to have text running around it that you might be wondering about is what about Drop Shadows. Let's say I put a drop shadow on this dog here. Do you want the text to run into the drop shadow or run around it? That's controlled down here under the Drop Shadow tab. When you apply a drop shadow to an item, one of the options is Runaround Drop Shadow. Let me zoom in and we'll see what the difference is.
If you've got a big drop shadow and you've got text around it, the text might run under the drop shadow. If I turn on Runaround Drop Shadow, the text moves that much farther away, so that it can't possibly run under the drop shadow. In this case, it seems a little extreme because on the bottom, it's forcing the text to drop down by a line or two. But as I increase the size of the picture and decrease the amount of runaround on the item, you'll see the text move in but never quite touch that drop shadow.
If I turn it off, the text will hit the drop shadow. In most cases, you don't want that, but in some cases, you may. So just be aware that this is an option when you've got text running around an item that has a drop shadow on it. The Text Runaround feature effect is not just for creative effects such as running around a dog on your page, but also for practical purposes, such as the one I showed at the beginning, of being able to move a text box anywhere on the page and not have to rearrange the text around it to make room for it.
And if you use this feature in combination with the grids feature, you'll find that placing boxes on to the page can be esthetically pleasing with almost no effort at all.
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