How to Start a Publication Part 1

Those of us who have been working in the publishing industry for any length of time have been exposed to some kind of editorial workflow – that is, importing and formatting text on pages. But like many of our ever-expanding areas of responsibilities, we often don’t think past our first exposure to a way of doing things. Instead, we often accept what we’re taught, check it off our list and move on to the next thing to learn (“Learn editorial workflow: check!”).

In this series, Robert Underwood describes several ways to create the most efficient editorial workflow for your particular size of workgroup. He begins with the simplest and probably most common workflow, and leads up to larger systems for much larger workgroups. Part 1 focuses on efficient ways to import Microsoft Word documents so that they require the minimum amount of formatting effort.

Even if you’ve been using Word with QuarkXPress for years, you may learn a little something from his story.

-Jay Nelson
Editorial Director

A Simple Editorial Workflow Using QuarkXPress and Microsoft Word

In this first installment, we’ll cover how to set up a smart workflow using QuarkXPress and Microsoft Word. Here is the situation: You have a couple of writers in the building, but most of your stories come in from freelancers. Instead of buying QuarkXPress for the writers and the freelancers, who are only going to use the product to type in stories, you have them use Microsoft Word, which we assume they already use.

When the stories arrive and are edited, they are then placed into QuarkXPress layout. The paginator then applies the correct styles to the text. First, the “body” style is applied, then the “headline” style and so on. Believe me when I say this is very time consuming. I have probably wasted 10% of my life applying styles to text and deleting a hundred returns at the end of a story. (Do writers get so excited when they finished writing a story that they start pressing the return key repeatedly?)

The solution to spending all your time formatting in QuarkXPress is to have the writers apply text styles to their stories in Word. As long as the names of their text styles in Word match the names of your style sheets in QuarkXPress, you will be able to flow the text in without having to format it at all. Even user-applied local formatting such as Bold and Italic are maintained! Here’s how:

The first thing to do is to look in your QuarkXPress document’s Style Sheets palette, and write down the names of the styles you commonly use. For example you would write down Headline, Subhead, etc… You will now make a template in Word that contains all of these style sheets, so that you can distribute it to all of your writers.

The biggest challenge I have seen is getting the writers to apply the style to the text. A lot of writers don’t even know that styles exist. A quick two-minute lesson on how to select type and click on the style name is really all they need. But I’d like to offer two more suggestions: Give your styles simple names that make sense so that they are easy to locate and apply; and build the writers a style map that shows a story with all of the styles applied, with the name of the style next to its corresponding paragraph or sentence. Another effective option is to take a snapshot of the Style Sheet palette and draw lines to the corresponding paragraph or sentence. You can then send out the style map in PDF format so that everyone can print the map and hang it next to their computer so that they will remember to apply the style.

Next is building the Microsoft Word template. Create a new document in Word and choose View> Formatting Palette. By default, Word includes styles named Normal, Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, and an option to Clear Formatting. If your writers haven’t chosen any other style when they begin typing, then the Normal style is applied to all the text that they type. This is handy to remember, because even if the writers forget to apply styles manually, QuarkXPress will automatically use its own Normal style to format their text. Do you see where I’m going with this? If you define the Normal style in Quark to match your intended body copy, you can import the text and have it automatically formatted like your intended body copy style.

The Style dialog box in Word

The Style dialog box in Word

Now you need to add the same style names you have in QuarkXPress to this Microsoft Word template. In word, choose Format> Style to open the Style Sheet dialog box. Click on New to create a new Style Sheet. Now insert the style names from Quark. Start by naming the style with your first style name from QuarkXPress. Optionally, you can change the way it looks in Word, but it isn’t necessary – the way it looks in Word has no effect on the way it will look in QuarkXPress. Now click OK, and then New again and repeat this process until you have created all the styles that your writers will need. You are now ready to email this document to all the writers.

The New Style dialog box in Word

The New Style dialog box in Word

Now for the true test. You receive all of the stories from your writers with the correct styles applied in Word (right?). You create a text box in QuarkXPress, and choose File> Import Text. Then select the Word document you want to import. Once you have the Word document selected, you will see options appear at the bottom of the Open dialog box. Check the box next to Include Style Sheets.

The Insert Style Sheets check box

The Insert Style Sheets check box

Now click Open. Another dialog box will open. The message states, “This Paragraph Style Sheet is already in use. How would you like to resolve the conflict?” This means that the name of the first Microsoft Word style is the same as one in QuarkXPress. But we already know that, and here is where the hard work of building that template in Word really pays off. You have four choices: Rename, Auto-Rename, Use New, Use Existing.

Rename will ask you to rename all of the styles from Word one at a time and import them into Quark. Auto-Rename will just place the number one (1) after the name of each style from Word and then add them to Quark’s styles and import the text as it appeared in Word. Use New would use the styles you just created in Word to replace your existing styles in Quark. None of these options are going to accomplish what you need. What you want is Use Existing, which brings the Word text into Quark and applies the formatting of your existing styles in Quark to the text as it is imported.

The Microsoft Word import options dialog in QuarkXPress

The Microsoft Word import options dialog in QuarkXPress

Turn on the Repeat For All Conflicts checkbox, click on Use Existing, and there it is! All the text is imported and now has the correct style applied. This small task, when done correctly by writers, allows the paginator more time to be creative with layouts, and to spend less time performing mundane tasks such as applying styles.

The Microsoft Word import options dialog in QuarkXPress

The imported text with all the correct styles applied