QuarkXPress 8: Tricks for Text

There are a number of small but helpful improvements in QuarkXPress 8 involving hyphens, invisible characters, spell checking, and indents. Below is an explanation of the small improvements made in the world of text, courtesy of X-Ray magazine. (This is an excerpt from “QuarkXPress 8: a Suite Response“.)


In QuarkXPress 6.X, if you added a discretionary hyphen (COMMAND + HYPHEN) at a point in a word, the word would hyphenate where you had inserted the hyphen (if necessary) and ignore any automatic hyphenation. If you placed a discretionary hyphen at the beginning of a word, it would break at that point (in essence, preventing a hyphen within the word itself). In QuarkXPress 7.X, Quark changed this behavior in an attempt to make it more flexible. After customer feedback, they’ve now changed it back to be more in keeping with the behavior style of QuarkXPress 6.X, but with the added flexibility of QuarkXPress 7 — namely word joiner. In QuarkXPress 8, a discretionary hyphen at the beginning of a word will simply kill hyphenation for that word (be it auto hyphenation or discretionary hyphens).

  • A discretionary hyphen placed within the word will cancel auto hyphenation and break the word at the point of the discretionary hyphen.
  • A discretionary hyphen placed at the beginning of a word will cancel both auto and discretionary hyphens within the word.
  • To cancel an automatically inserted hyphen, insert a word joiner at the point of the undesired hyphen.

Figure 41	 Using word joiner, a feature of QuarkXPress 7, you can cancel both auto and discretionary hyphens placed within a word.

Figure 41 – Using word joiner, a feature of QuarkXPress 7, you can cancel both auto and discretionary hyphens placed within a word.

When you open a legacy document, it should not re-flow due to these discretionary-hyphen changes that have been made to each of the last versions of QuarkXPress. However, if you option + open an older document (in short, open the document and flow it using the new QuarkXPress 8 text flow), then any discretionary hyphen you inserted into the legacy text flow will adopt the new QuarkXPress 8 behavior and you might end up with unexpected line breaks. There’s a simple fix: Use the find/change feature to remove discretionary hyphens and enable QuarkXPress 8 handling (find \h and replace with nothing). When a discretionary hyphen is found, it will not be viewable on the screen since discretionary hyphens are a zero-width character, but you can find/change them anyway.


Many of the glyphs for invisibles characters have been enlarged for easier viewing on the document page. (You can now safely put away your reading glasses.)


If you are a current user of QuarkXPress, I’m sure that you have felt the frustration at some time in the past when the spell checker insisted on stopping to check every URL and email address. Since QuarkXPress 7.31 you have been able to set preferences for whether or not the spell checker will bother with such words. I include it here because I just discovered it, and figure others have not yet. It’s quite simple to change:

  2. Set the options.
  3. Click OK.
Figure 43


If your body copy design calls for a text indent at the start of the paragraph, you can now add an em space width in the first paragraph indent field as opposed to typing an em or en space character for the indent.

Figure 43 – As a nice side benefit, when you use these percentages of an em to indent your paragraph and you later change the text point size, the indent is scaled as well.

Later, if you change the design of your style so that an indent is no longer desired, you will not have to search and replace to remove them all. Simply set the indent here to zero.

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.