Quark XPress Tips and Tricks

Here are a few of our favorite Quark tips. 

The Best Quark XPress Shortcuts

Quark has a lot of keyboard shortcuts, but most of them aren’t mnemonic, so they are hard to remember. Here’s a list of the ones you’ll probably want to suffer to learn anyway. With one exception (noted below), these work in both version 3.3 and 4.0.

  • Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V = Cut, Copy and Paste the selected item (respectively). What you can select depends on the tool you are using.
  • Ctrl+Z = Undo. Everyone’s favorite "oops" command. You get one…count it…one level of undo, so be careful.
  • Ctrl+Shift+B = Apply Bold. Select text press the combination and lo your text is bold.
  • Ctrl+Shift+I = Apply Italic. Same idea as adding bold, except it adds italic instead.
  • Ctrl+J = Go to a certain page. Why J? Maybe it stands for jump? I just dunno.
  • Shift+F8 = Toggle the Item and Content tools. You get really sick of switching between the two using the toolbox.
  • F5, Shift+F5 = Bring to Front and Send to Back respectively.
  • Alt+clicking on a style name = removes local formatting and applies the style. (This command changed in version 4.0 — it used to be Shift+style name.)
  • Ctrl+0 = Zoom to fit in the window. If you have a big monitor, you can sort of still read the text.
  • Ctrl+1 = Zoom to actual size, so you really can read the text.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F = Opens the Paragraph Formats dialog box.
  • Ctrl+E = Get picture or get text (depending on the type of box that is selected).
  • Alt+Ctrl+Shift+F = Make an imported picture fit in a picture box, without changing the aspect ratio.

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Revert to Saved

As noted, the folks at Quark give you just one level of undo. A way around this limitation (sort of) is to use the Revert to Save command. Before you decide to attempt anything weird, save the file. Then commit the weirdness. That way, in the event of a big design failure, you can choose File, Revert to Saved to return to your last good (i.e., pre-weird) version of the document.

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Use Libraries

It’s sad how few people take advantage of Quark’s libraries. Two minutes of setup can save you eons of repetitive formatting. For example, supposed you have a standard figure box and caption that you use over and over in a newsletter. Rather than redrawing them every time you need a figure, create a library and drag the formatted boxes into it. Then whenever you need to add a figure, you can drag the perfectly formatted objects into your layout.

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Apply Styles in Your Word Processor

An easy way to speed up applying styles is to just not do it in Quark at all. Set up the Quark file with the same style names you use in your word processor (or vice versa). The key is that the style names must be exactly the same. Then when you choose File, Get Text, make sure that Include Style Sheets is selected. You’ll get a bunch of messages (one for every style) asking you if you want to use the existing Quark style. Say you do. Your text arrives in the Quark file already formatted. Cool.

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Create a Jump Line

If you have an article that continues on another page, you may want to include a "jump line" to tell your readers where it’s continued. Create a new text box and type in "continued on page" or something like that. For the page number, press Ctrl+4 instead of typing in a page number. This command inserts a code for the page number of the next text box in the linked chain. If you rearrange the pages later, the jump line will automatically update.

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Move to the Next Box

If your layout includes articles that continue on other pages an easy way to have Quark move you to the next page is to place your cursor at the end of a text box. Then hit the right arrow key. Quark jumps you to the next text box in the chain, no matter whether it’s on the next page or 20 pages later in the document.

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Find/Change Special Characters

As you can in some word processors, you can use Quark’s Find/Change function to look for unusual items such as tab characters, spaces, or paragraph. For example, if you (or a wayward author) type two spaces instead of one after a period, you can use Replace to quickly replace two spaces with one space. Or if you have documents with a lot of extra paragraphs, you can search for extra paragraph returns.

These are a few of the special characters you can enter in the Find what and Change to boxes:

  • t = Tab
  • p = Paragraph
  • n = New line
  • c = New column

For example, many times people indicate a bullet with an asterisk followed by a couple of spaces. If you want to find all the asterisks that should be turned into bullets, you would enter "p* " into the Find what box.

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About Susan Daffron

Susan Daffron is the author the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedies and multiple award-winning nonfiction books, including several about pets and animal rescue. Check out all her books on her Amazon Author page.