Everything you ever wanted to know about “Dividing A Box” in the Scripts menu

Need to align a bunch of photos to a grid? Here’s another really useful built-in script for Mac users…

If you’ve ever had to make a grid of pictures in QuarkXPress, perhaps to produce the “man on the street” section of a newspaper, you need to read this.

If you’re dragging in guides to align images, and then importing pictures one at a time through the File menu, you’re doing way too much work!

Even if you’re clever and use the Guide Manager in Quark 6 or 7, the new Guides palette or Grid Styles palette in Quark 8, or simply use Step and Repeat to accomplish this task, you’d still be working way too hard!  Let me show you how to work smarter…

As a continuation of my Scripts series, I’d like to show you how Dividing a Box can help.

Instead of the 6 different ways you could accomplish this task, let me propose to you a seventh…

Here is the task at hand: you need to make a grid of images that are aligned to each other. Instead of using any of the aforementioned tools and palettes, consider using a Script that has even been available since Quark 4! You’ll find it under Scripts> Grid> By a Dividing Box. (The Scripts menu is that scroll-looking icon at the right end of Quark’s items in the menu bar.)

To make a Grid, simply draw a box. This box is the box that will automatically be divided into rows and columns as the Script generates new boxes and guides in your Layout.

You can use either the Text Box Tool or the Picture Box Tool to create the box to be divide. The tool you use determines what kind of boxes will be generated. If you wanted to have multiple linked text boxes in a grid, this Script actually asks you if you would like to link boxes together at the end of the script. For this exercise, I would like to concentrate on Picture boxes. 

The first step is to create a box. In this exercise I will create a picture box to define the outside edges of the Grid of Picture Boxes that I want.

Draw a picture box.

Then choose Scripts> Grid> By Dividing a Box. The Script is launched.

The first question the Script asks is how many columns you would like. I chose 3.

The next question asked was how many columns I would like. I chose 3 again.

You can choose any number you’d like — they just need to be whole numbers (obviously!).

Chose your Column Gutter Measurement.

This is the space that will appear vertically between your picture boxes. It’s too bad there is no preview checkbox or apply in this window. Hopefully this will become a Menu command in Quark 9!

Chose your Row Gutter Measurement.

You may want to leave enough room to make your caption boxes. So think this one through. If it’s wrong, you can always delete these boxes and start over.

Chose whether you want Guides attached to the boxes.

Even though Quark is aligning these boxes perfectly for you, you may want to make guides just so it makes it that much easier to see if the boxes have moved, or if you need to align caption boxes later on.

And there it is: a Grid of perfectly aligned picture boxes ready for you to import pictures into. Now, if you have any version of Quark prior to Quark 8, unfortunately you will have to import each image separately.

But if you are one of the smart ones who has upgraded to QuarkXPress 8, I’d like to show the two easiest ways to import these images.

The first is using Adobe Bridge. If you have any professional application from the Adobe on your computer, you can use Adobe Bridge to navigate to the folder full of images you would like to place inside your newly formed picture boxes in QuarkXPress 8. The best part is that all you need to do is drag an image and drop it directly over an existing picture box in Quark to either fill the box, or replace an existing picture. You will see the picture box highlight in blue, so that you know which box you are dropping it into. And if fitting has already been applied to the box, that fitting will stay.

You may want to click in the upper right hand corner of Bridge and choose> Switch Bridge to Compact Mode. When in this mode Bridge becomes a palette floating over your Quark Project. You can drag and drop the images as needed.

Using Bridge to drag-and-drop images.

But, let’s say you don’t have Bridge. In QuarkXPress 8 you can now drag these images directly from a window on your desktop into your QuarkXPress project or into existing frames. (For further information on drag-and-drop in QuarkXPress 8, see this story at PlanetQuark.com)

To use drag-and-drop in earlier versions of QuarkXPress, download the free XTensions mentioned in this story at PlanetQuark.com. 

Choose your items visually using View> Show items as Icons in Mac OS X 10.5

Drag your images directly into Quark Picture boxes.

Once the items are dragged in they come in at 100%.

This is what the images look like dropped in at 100%.

You can instantly fit an image to its box in any of three ways: by pressing Command-Option-Shift-F, or by choosing Style> Scale Picture to Box, or by Control-clicking or right-clicking on the picture box and choosing Scale Picture to Box. Then you can Shift-drag the corner of the image to resize it within its box, while keeping its proportions correct.

Fit the image.

Once one image is fitted, you can drag and drop the rest into their boxes.

The final result. box.

The Scripts menu in Quark is full of very powerful features. Explore thy Scripts!

Technical Consultant, Instructor Aquent Graphics Institute

Rob has nearly 12 years of print production experience on top of his formal education in the graphic arts. He worked in production and later as Systems Administrator for Media News, publisher of multiple weekly newspapers in suburban Boston, prior to becoming a consultant and instructor for Aquent Graphics Institute.

Rob’s expertise lies in editorial workflow systems, he is an expert in News Edit Pro, K4, and Woodwing. He teaches both QuarkXPress and InDesign and and has a full understanding of Quark Copy Desk and InCopy. Rob has the ability to observe a production workflow and make suggestions on how to enable people to work more efficiently. Either with a database solution, or something much simpler. He also teaches Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat.

Rob has used QuarkXPress for more than 12 years now and has been teaching both QuarkXPress and InDesign for nearly 3 years. Rob travels around the country seeing real production problems every day. He has the unique perspective of someone who knows what both QuarkXPress and InDesign are capable of, and how they measure up against each other in the different fields they are used in. He has coordinated countless upgrades and conversions between the programs and enjoys meeting new people and examining the different ways people accomplish the same task, and the many different ways people use page layout programs. His real world experience with everything from building templates, font management, and color correction, make him a valuable asset during transitions and upgrades.

On his own, Rob is still a freelance designer, and loves page layout. His favorite interests include his two daughters, Lynda.com, and anything related to Star Wars.

Aliens in QuarkXPress

QuarkXPress has hidden aliens. To see one in action (his name is Marvin), select a page item and press Command-Option-Shift-K (Windows: Ctrl-Alt-Shift-K). An alien will walk onto your page from the right side zap the item off the page. The effect is most fun when the item is near the right side of your display.

Do this 5 times to see a bigger alien (called Alberto) walk in from the left side of your page and zap the little alien and the item.

Jeff Gamet is a contributing editor for Design Tools Monthly, the executive summary of graphic design news. He is also the morning editor and reviews editor for The Mac Observer and iPodObserver.com, and contributing writer for Layers Magazine and Photoshop User. He writes the InBrief column for InDesign Magazine, and is the author of “The Designer’s Guide to Mac OS X,” from Peachpit Press

When Jeff isn’t writing about the graphic design world, he’s talking about it on the Design Tools Weekly podcast with co-host Jay Nelson. He also talks about Apple and the Mac world every week on The Mac Observer’s Apple Weekly Report.

Jeff studies, tests and reviews new software and technologies for the Macintosh community as well as the design and print industries. He is a former Pre-press specialist, and has nearly 25 years experience with computer technology. Jeff trains, lectures and consults on techniques for more efficiently using Mac OS X in creative environments throughout the country.

In the rare moments when he can get away from his MacBook Pro, Jeff spends his time climbing and biking in the Colorado mountains.

Will QuarkXPress 6.5 Run On Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard?

Apple released new MacBooks and MacBook Pros recently, and today I received a question about whether it was safe to use QuarkXPress 6.52 with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

The answer is: QuarkXPress 6.52 and earlier will NOT work 100% properly with Leopard (nor does Adobe Creative Suite 2, which is of the same vintage). And unfortunately, since no recent Macs can run on earlier operating systems, you’ll need to either upgrade QuarkXPress or find a used Mac that can run 10.4 or 10.3. (I’d strongly encourage upgrading QuarkXPress!)

You see, Mac OS X 10.5 was nowhere on the horizon when Quark shipped QuarkXPress 6. In fact Mac OS X 10.3 was current when QuarkXPress 6 was released, almost two full years before Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which was the predecessor to 10.5. Apple changed a LOT of basic-level things from 10.3 to 10.4, and then again in 10.5.

Since I couldn’t find a one-stop source that listed the problems you’re likely to encounter when trying to use QuarkXPress 6.5 in Mac OS X 10.5, I thought I’d try to collect as many broken bits as I could find.

Picking through Quark’s user forums, here are the problems I found so far:

  • File corruption, especially when opened across a network.
  • Unexpected quits when saving a file.
  • “Unexpected end-of-file occurred. [-39]” errors.
  • Font confusion in existing documents, especially Zapf Dingbats.
  • Fonts don’t print correctly, defaulting to Courier.
  • Loss of some printing capabilities.
  • Loss of printer PPD file location.
  • Loss of PDF generation.
  • Not everything shows up in menu items, dialog box components, or palettes.
  • Can’t input values for new Section.
  • Can’t input values when adding pages.
  • Can’t input values for Step and Repeat.
  • If you hide the application, it sometimes won’t come back — you have to force quit it.

As you can see, it isn’t pretty. You may not run into all of these problems, but even one or two would be a showstopper for me.

And before you ask: QuarkXPress 7.5 works relatively well in Leopard, except for the window hiding issues and the PPD file location issue noted above. For a solution to the PPD problem, see here.

If anyone has additional problems running QuarkXPress 6.5 in Leopard, we’d love to hear about them — just use the comments feature below. (But please, keep it to version 6.5 AND Mac OS X 10.5!)

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

Video Tutorial: Convert Dingbats to Picture Boxes

If you often use the same dingbats or illustrations from a picture font in QuarkXPress, you can eliminate the need to include the font when outputting if you convert those characters to picture boxes in QuarkXPress. This video by Jay Nelson shows you how.

PLAY Video: Convert Dingbats to Picture Boxes

Just select the character(s) and choose Style> Text to Box, or in QuarkXPress 8, choose Item> Convert Text to Boxes.

The result is a native QuarkXPress picture box shaped exactly like the dingbat, and the font is no longer necessary for output. You can change its shape with the Pen tool, fill it with a picture or text, color it with a gradient — everything you can do with any box.

Here’s a second tip: If your dingbat falls at the beginning or end of some text, you can anchor it in the text while you’re creating it. If you’re using QuarkXPress 7 or earlier, just hold down the Option key when choosing Style> Text to Box. In QuarkXPress 8, just choose Item> Convert Text to Boxes> Anchored.

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

Instant File Name Labels for Pictures

QuarkXPress offers an easy way to add the file name of an imported picture to a text box beneath the picture box.

Under the script-shaped menu, choose Picture Box> Place Name. A text box will be created beneath the picture box, the same width as the picture box, containing the name of the picture file. The text will be styled with the Normal style sheet, which you can change. The Scripts menu is only available on Macs.

Jeff Gamet is a contributing editor for Design Tools Monthly, the executive summary of graphic design news. He is also the morning editor and reviews editor for The Mac Observer and iPodObserver.com, and contributing writer for Layers Magazine and Photoshop User. He writes the InBrief column for InDesign Magazine, and is the author of “The Designer’s Guide to Mac OS X,” from Peachpit Press

When Jeff isn’t writing about the graphic design world, he’s talking about it on the Design Tools Weekly podcast with co-host Jay Nelson. He also talks about Apple and the Mac world every week on The Mac Observer’s Apple Weekly Report.

Jeff studies, tests and reviews new software and technologies for the Macintosh community as well as the design and print industries. He is a former Pre-press specialist, and has nearly 25 years experience with computer technology. Jeff trains, lectures and consults on techniques for more efficiently using Mac OS X in creative environments throughout the country.

In the rare moments when he can get away from his MacBook Pro, Jeff spends his time climbing and biking in the Colorado mountains.