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.