Roll Your Own QuarkXPress Shortcuts

If you appreciate efficiency, you may already be using a macro-making tool such as QuicKeys. Using QuicKeys, here’s one example of how to “add features” to an application (the principle applies to many areas of every application):

In QuarkXPress, adding space above or below a paragraph requires a number of clicks and keystrokes. But accessing any field in the Measurements palette can be done by using just keystrokes. Similarly, accessing the Formats dialog takes just a quick Command-Shift-F.

So, set up a QuicKey shortcut that types Command-Shift-F, then types the Tab key four times to get to the Space Before field (or five times to get to the Space After field). This highlights the entire value in that field, so add a Right Arrow key to place the cursor at the end of that value. Then, because QuarkXPress can do math in its value fields, you can type “+1” or “+2” or “-1” or “-2” or any other number, followed by the Return key. This will add or subtract one or more points from the value of the field.

The final step is to either assign a keyboard shortcut to these value-changing QuicKeys, or add them to a floating QuicKeys toolbar to increase or decrease Space Above and Space Below with one click.

(By the way, you can also type Command-Option-M to go to the first field of the Measurements palette. From there, you can add Command-Option-; (semicolon) to go from palette tab to palette tab, and then use Tab characters to get to any field you want to adjust.)