The Trick to Opening Older QuarkXPress Documents on a New Mac

Based on the number of questions I’m receiving about QuarkXPress 9, there must be a lot of people upgrading! (Yay!)

One common question goes like this: “I upgraded Mac OS X and upgraded QuarkXPress, and now my older Quark documents show up as “unix” files — Quark won’t open them. What can I do?”

The answer is simple, but could be disappointing to Mac users who have been happily NOT adding extensions to their file names: all you have to do is add “.qxp” to the end of your older Quark document file names and QuarkXPress will magically recognize them as its own.

Explanation: before Mac OS X, Mac users had no need for those pesky three-letter filename extensions — Apple always thought it stupid that users had to manage files to that degree. (And I agree.) That’s why Mac OS always took care of “remembering” which documents belonged to which applications.

But with Mac OS X, which is based on Unix, those filename extensions began to rear their ugly heads. Fortunately, Mac OS X can “hide” those extensions for you, but older documents lacking those extensions may require a little bit of user intervention.

Here’s a tip for renaming batches of QuarkXPress documents: use a file-renaming utility! The best file-renaming solution I’ve found is Incredible Bee’s Renamer ($19).

Renamer makes it easy to rename a large number of files. You just drag files or folders into its window, then configure your changes. As you define your intended changes, Renamer previews what each new file name will look like. When the file names appear the way you want them, you can apply the changes.

It has plenty of options: you can remove or replace words or characters, insert text anywhere in the file name, add sequential numbers at either end of a file name, convert to UPPERCASE, lowercase or Word Caps. It’s powerful enough to process regular expressions (calculations and wildcards), and can rename files recursively through nested folders. You can also use it in the Finder as a contextual menu item — just Control-click or right-click a file or folder.

You can even save renaming tasks for future use, or chain them together for complex renaming tasks.

Power Tip #2:

If your QuarkXPress documents are spread all over your hard drive (or within your Documents folder), you may be able to use the Mac OS X “Find File” feature (File> Find) to gather up all the QuarkXPress documents for batch renaming. You can then drag them from the Find File window onto Renamer, WITHOUT moving them from their original locations! Here’s what I did:

Choosing Find from the File menu (or pressing Command-F), brings up a search window:

I chose “QuarkXPress Style Sheets” from the first popup menu (I had to choose “Other” first, then scroll down the list of options to “QuarkXPress Style Sheets“). Remembering that every QuarkXPress document has a style sheet named “Normal“, I typed in “normal“.

This brought up all the QuarkXPress documents, including templates. Not wanting to rename template files (!), I clicked the “plus” button to add another search requirement: Kind. By choosing “Other” and typing in “QuarkXPress Project File“, I narrowed the results down to all the QuarkXPress documents, without the QuarkXPress templates.

Then, I clicked the “Last Opened” column to sort by date, and scrolled down to my oldest documents — which are likely the ones that don’t have a filename extension. I could then select a bunch of them and drag them onto Renamer’s window, ready for renaming!

(If anyone has another technique for finding all the QuarkXPress documents that don’t have a filename extension, please chime in!)

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at, 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.