QuarkXPress has been able to convert characters to picture boxes since version 4 in 1997. While this feature is powerful enough for most uses, many designers have asked Quark to expand its capabilities, so that they could convert more than one line of text at a time.
Quark answered this request in QuarkXPress 8, taking it farther than any application has gone before: you can now convert all the text in an entire chain of linked text boxes at once!
See the new text-to-box feature in action in the how-to below, courtesy of X-Ray magazine. (This is an excerpt from QuarkXPress 8: a Suite Response.)
STACKS OF BOXES In QuarkXPress 8, you can now convert entire paragraphs of text to boxes maintaining kerning, spacing, leading, horizontal scale, and the like. The enhancements to this feature make it completely feasible to apply effects such as outlining of characters to entire bodies of text flow.
Choose ITEM > CONVERT TEXT TO BOXES > UNANCHORED (not in the current text flow) or ANCHORED (anchored as Bézier paths within the current text flow) or CONVERT ENTIRE BOX (available with multiple selections up to an entire spread). Notice in figure XX that the word Speeding has excessive tracking applied and that the text to box feature maintained this perfectly.
Here, I have already converted the text to boxes. In previous versions of QuarkXPress, you were limited to a single line of text when converting text to box. With QuarkXPress 8, choose all lines if you wish. Choose a pen tool to edit these characters or, because they are boxes, import a picture as shown below.
Also in previous versions, many designers used the text to box feature so that they could import a picture into the text and have the picture span the entire line of characters. Now, given the ability to process multiple lines of text, an additional step is required to achieve this affect. Select all of the individual boxes and use, then import the picture. (You can see the ghosted image behind the characters in my top sample and then the same sample with the ghosted image hidden.)
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.