The Linking and Unlinking tools in QuarkXPress 7 haven’t changed since they were invented many years ago. But Quark’s free Quark XPert Tools Pro adds a new TextLink palette that provides several — in my view — essential improvements.
For example, let’s say you have two text boxes with text in them and you want to link the second one to the end of the first one. QuarkXPress won’t let you do that, but TextLink will. Just click on the first box, then on the first button in the palette, and then on the second box.
The second box becomes linked to the first box, and the text in the second box is added to the end of the text in the first box.
Now let’s say that you have several linked text boxes and want to unlink them, but without disturbing the text in the boxes — in other words, leave all the text where it is, but unlink the boxes.
You can’t do that in QuarkXPress. But with TextLink, you just select all the text boxes and click the bottom center button. All the boxes are now unlinked and they retain their text.
The other unlinking buttons offer variations:
The first button breaks the link at a point between two boxes, so that the box(es) before and after the break retain their text.
The middle button does the same thing, but the text divides wherever the text insertion point is.
The third button makes a duplicate of the selected text box, with its content intact.
The left button breaks the link between all the boxes in the chain. All the text is sucked into the first box.
The middle button unlinks all the boxes, but they each keep their content (as in the example above.)
The right button removes the current box from the chain, and deletes the box and its content.
The TextLink palette has just one option, available from its side menu: Keep Paragraph Formatting.
This option affects how paragraphs appear if they are broken when the boxes are unlinked: drop caps, first line indents, rule above/below, etc. Sometimes you’ll want this turned on, but often not.
TextLink is just one of the 15 handy XTensions included in Quark XPert Tools Pro, available as a free download from their website.
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.