Join Jay Nelson for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring the QuarkXPress interface, part of QuarkXPress 8 Essential Training.
Performing tasks in QuarkXPress 8 is very flexible. You can mouse up to menus, use keyboard shortcuts, click in palettes and dialog boxes, use contextual menus, and more. In this movie, we'll poke into all the places you control and adjust the page content, and see some tricks to managing your workspace. First I'll just create a new project, and accept all the defaults. Great! Like every other application, you've probably ever used, QuarkXPress uses a system of menus to allow you to choose just about anything you could ever want to adjust, or look at, or control.
As you can see, they are fairly extensive, and items are grayed out when they are not appropriate for the item that you currently have selected. But here we go. This is all of them. The Scripts menu is particularly interesting. We'll get back to that. QuarkXPress Help is really, really, really good. So I encourage you to definitely go there, if you have a question about a specific feature or need to learn something quickly. Now many of the other controls are under these palettes here, and also in what's known as the Measurements palette, down below here, I just created a Text Box real quick so that the Measurements palette would have something to display.
The Measurements palette has a number of tabs to it. They give you access to the specific features related to the item that you have selected. Some of these tabs come and go depending on what you have selected. But we'll get back to the Measurements palette in just a minute. Over here in the upper left, you see the toolbox. Now you may notice, if you'd been using QuarkXPress before, that looks quite different. There are far fewer tools in the toolbox, but they do just exactly what they did before and even more. The toolbox also lets you access tools using single key command.
So if you type a V, for example, when you are not in a Text Box. When you type a V, you'll get the Item tool up there, and if you type a T, you'll get the Text Box, and you can mouse over the others and see what those keys are. Picture Content tool is R and on down the line. So that's just a quick way to get to those tools. Now you're not limited to the palettes that are currently showing. Instead, this is just a default palette setup that Quark thinks you're probably going to want to use because you're doing a Print Layout job. So, as we look at the palettes on the right, you can see there is a Page Layout palette, which I would love to see renamed myself, but it says Page Layout and it shows all the pages that are in your document.
Under that are the Style Sheets, both Paragraph and Character style sheets. The Color's where you can create new colors and apply them to objects, and the Layers palette where you can stack your items and make layers and group things together that way. But if you look under the Window menu here up at the top, you'll see quite a few more. Any of the ones of the check mark next to it are currently open. The ones that don't have a check mark aren't open. So Shared Content isn't open, Trap, Lists, etcetera. We'll get to all these features later on. But for now, I'm just going to open up the Shared Content palette and it will appear as a free floating, freely movable palette, and by the way, these palette groups over here are also freely moving, they are not docked to anything, but you do notice that they snap to the edges of the document window, which I think is a fabulous feature.
You're not limited to just the one palette group that you see over on the right. You can make separate sets, or separate groups as Quark calls them of palettes and have them stuck together and they'll all move together on your screen anytime you need them. Let's see how you do that. Since I have the Shared Content palette open, I can hold down the Ctrl key to access the contextual menu and because I'm clicking on the Shared Content palette or any palette, it'll show you a list of all the palettes that are available, that can be attached to this palette here and create a palette group.
So for example if I add Index, now we have Index attached to this palette, and now its own palette group. To close the whole group, you just click on the little red dot, and it all closes at once. Now having a look over at the main palette group that opens up when you first launch XPress. We'll see how we open and close these palettes. The little disclosure triangle on the left-hand side of the title of each palette lets you see more or less of the palette. So I close up the Page Layout, close up the Style Sheets, Colors and Layers, and now my palette is this little thing that we can easily place anywhere on the screen and then have access to say colors when we need it.
And like I showed you before, if we want to add a palette to the bottom of this palette group, we just Ctrl-click on its Title Bar and we choose the one we want. And now we have the new palette attached to the bottom. Now Quarks palettes are extremely intelligent, more intelligent than any kind of palette system I've seen on any other program, in that it keeps track of how you've used these palettes, and then as you need more space, because say these palettes extended would go beyond the bottom of your display, it closes up the ones that you used the longest ago.
So what you just saw there was that I opened them in order. Page Layout > Style Sheets > Colors > Layers. And when I go to expand the Lists palette, it closes up some of the other ones that are in the group. So you never have palettes extending off the bottom here to display. Now the Measurements palette is slightly different. I'm going to pull it up to a higher place so that we can play with it. So I have a Text Box selected here with some text in it. Now the Measurements palette is a horizontal palette, and it has tabs on the top of it that allow you to get access to all the different controls you could have over the selected item.
Since we have a Text Box selected with text in it, so the first tab is what they call the Classic Tab and it covers the basic features of the item itself. How wide it is, how tall it is, where it is on the page, what angle it's at, and stuff like that. And each tab as you go along controls a different aspect of the item that you have selected. Just like this. Now if you're a long time QuarkXPress user and for some reason you just don't want to have these tabs here, if you Ctrl-click on the end of the Measurements palette, you'll see that you can change the behavior of the palette to always show the Tab Bar, meaning it will be there all the time even when you're not mousing over it.
Always hide the Tab Bar. In other words, I don't want to see any tabs at all, or only show the tabs on rollover. That's the default setting, which means that I've got an item selected on the page, I rollover the Measurements palette and those tabs pop-up. If I change that behavior to Always Show the Tab Bar, then it's always there, no matter what I'm doing. And of course, if I choose Always Hide the Tab Bar, it doesn't show up no matter what I do, and to get it back, I have to go back over here, Ctrl-click or Right-click and choose either Always Show it or Show Tab on Rollover. And again being a standard palette, if you click-and-drag it, it will snap to the edges of your document.
So, right now, boof, it snaps right to the bottom of the document window. One of the advantages of having this kind of control over where your palettes are and how they're grouped together and where they are on the page is you could create separate arrangements or palette sets of palette groups for different tasks. So if you're heavily working on text for example, and it's a long document, you can put palettes together that relate to that kind of work. If you're working on graphic intensive documents, you can create a palette set for that kind of work.
So for example if I were to move this palette set over here and it's really what I want because I'm recording a training video and that's how I want it to look. I can go to the Window menu and at the very bottom, see palette Sets > Save palette Set As, and that will let me name this collection of palettes and where they are and how they're docked. Give it a name Training Video, and I could even give it a key command so that I can call it up very quickly anytime I need it. Personally I think that's overkill, but if you wanted to have changing your palettes that's around quite a bit, it can't be handy for you.
Now I don't really want to do this. I'm going to click the Cancel button and give you one very important tip. Again under the Window menu, under palette Sets, you'll notice that I have a default set. Well, that's the set that I made, and if I have one bit of advise to give you about making palette Sets is the minute you launch QuarkXPress for the first time, go to Save palette Set As and create one called Default set. That way, anytime you want to get back to Quark's original setup of palettes, you can choose default set, and everything goes back to the way that Quark originally shipped the product.
I have no idea why Quark didn't include that, but there you go. Okay, so far we've looked at the menus at the top and all of the controls that are there. We've looked at the palettes and all the controls that are there. The third place you may find yourself doing work in QuarkXPress is what they called Modal dialog boxes. Let me show you what I mean. So I have some text in this box and I select it, and I go to the Style menu and I choose say Format. Here, we have lots of control over the item that we were just working in. We can control everything about the text that's in the box, drop-caps, everything.
We can control how the tab sets are on lines of text and we can add Rules about and below. Now that's all very nice, but being a Modal dialog box, it doesn't go away until we click the OK button. Those changes aren't permanently applied until we click the OK button. You can click apply to see what it looks like or what your changes are going to be if you do click the OK button. But you can always click the Cancel button if you change your mind. And by the way here's a good tip. If you hold down the Option or Alt key and then click on Apply, the Apply button stick, and as you make your changes here, they'll show up on your page as you make them.
That way you just don't have to click in the Apply button. Now, well many controls are available in these Modal dialog boxes. Quark made extra effort in QuarkXPress 7, specifically, and then of course carrying over in QuarkXPress 8 to make sure that as much of the controls that were formerly in those dialog boxes are also in the Measurements palette. That's why there is all these tabs here. And it's intelligent. It only shows the things you can change for the item that you've currently got selected. So whenever you can, go down to that Measurements palette and make your changes because those appear on screen, you make the change, unlike the dialog boxes where you have to click the OK button.
If you are an old time QuarkXPress user, have been using it for years-and-years, this can be a significant change in the way you do your work. But I think it's much more efficient and much more effective in most cases. I am going to switch tools just to make it simpler. So the last thing I want to cover are contextual menus. A contextual menu is just something that pops-up when you hold down the Ctrl key or a right-click onto an item on the page. So if I Ctrl-click on this Text Box, it gives me the options that appropriate for a Text Box. If I Ctrl-click on the page itself it gives me the options that make sense for the page itself.
Fit in Window, Save, Import, Export, make it a PDF, that kind of thing. As I showed you a moment ago, you can Ctrl-click on the Title Bar of any of these palettes and choose other palettes to doc or un-doc. If you Ctrl-click on the Rulers, it let's you change the Unit of Measure. So encourage long time QuarkXPress users and Mac users in particular to start Ctrl-clicking or right-clicking on items on the page and everywhere else and explore how those contextual menus can speed up your work. One of the beautiful things about QuarkXPress is that it provides so many different ways to access the controls that you need to improve the efficiency and creativity in your workflow.
- Understanding the QuarkXPress interface
- Building a new layout and working with master pages
- Using long document features to streamline workflow
- Building QuarkXPress 8 documents with Adobe and Microsoft files
- Creating custom styles using typography and picture effects
- Collaborating in real time with other users
- Exporting finished projects to PDF, Flash, and the web