My 3 Favorite XPert Tools are Now in QuarkXPress 8! (part 3)

QuarkXPress 7’s XPert Guides now built into QuarkXPress 8

Quark has been giving away 12 “XPert Tools” XTensions since April 2007 for use with QuarkXPress 7. They were not part of an update, so unless you’ve had your ear to the ground, listening for free Quark XTensions, you may not have heard of them.

(You can learn about XPert Tools and download them at Quark’s website.)

All of these new XTensions for Quark are extremely useful, and add a greater level of performance to your everyday Quarking. However there are three in particular that I use all the time, and I find are the most useful: XPert Item Styles, XPert Guides, and XPert FindChange. To use these in Quark 7 you will need to download the set of XPert Tools from the previously mentioned Web page, but for those you who with QuarkXPress 8, they are already be built in! Yes, these former free-flying XTensions now have their permanent place in the Window menu in QuarkXPress 8, and you can even include them in your Palette Sets!

My previous posts focused on XPert Item Styles, now simply Item Styles in QuarkXPress 8 and XPert FindChange (now Item Find/Change in QuarkXPress 8.) This time, I’ll discuss XPert Guides, now called simply Guides in QuarkXPress 8.

QuarkXPress 7’s XPert Guides becomes QuarkXPress 8’s Guides — Let me be your guide!

Let’s take a look at how far Guides has come, and what XPert Guides can do for you in QuarkXPress 7, as well as what it can do in QuarkXPress 8.

In QuarkXPress 7 and earlier, you could place Guides on the page by dragging guides either from the horizontal ruler or the vertical ruler. This made lining things up accurately a much easier task than just eyeballing it. When it came time to make a photomontage, or make sure text boxes were aligned, guides were a great asset to your design arsenal. Then it came time to make another issue, or ad, or page. You saved the page using File> Save As…, deleted items that were not reoccurring, and were left with a bunch of random guides that you needed to get rid of. In the early days of Quark, and I will be the first to admit it, I would hand drag each instance of a guide back into the ruler to get rid of the guides on the page.

Then I became part of a secret society, with handshakes and hazing, and all that you would expect from a secret society that was privy to the shortcuts to get rid of guides. As it turns out, there are two types of guides. There are guides that you drag onto the page — those are page guides. These guides don’t go into the pasteboard area, only within a page. Then there are pasteboard guides that can stretch across spreads, alleviating the problem of trying to match two guides on two separate facing pages. When you drag a guide into the pasteboard area it is seen not only on the page, but on the pasteboard as well.

Once initiated into the Chosen Few, I was told that you can get rid of all the Pasteboard guides, as long as you can see the pasteboard of a document: just hold down Option (Macintosh), or Alt (Windows) and click on the ruler. If you are zoomed in and cannot see the Pasteboard, you then get rid of all the Page guides. This makes working with guides that much easier.

Back in 1999, Quark released QuarkXPress 4.1, which added the Guides Manager to the Utilities menu – a feature that was tragically ignored by most users. Guides Manager adds two features: Add Guides and Remove or Lock Guides. Let’s see how Add Guides works.

 The Add Guides feature in Guides Manager.
The Add Guides feature in Guides Manager.

Adding Guides in the Guide Manager is whole lot more accurate than dragging them onto the page. When you drag guides onto a page, you have two options for positioning: keep your eye on the ruler, or keep your eye on the Measurements palette for a more accurate reading of where you are about to place a guide. But if you use the Guides Manager, you can accurately place a guide at, say, 1 inch from the top of your page.

Remove or Lock Guides feature in Guides Manager
Remove or Lock Guides feature in Guides Manager
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Now for removing and locking guides: the Remove or Lock Guides section of the Guides Manager dialog box lets you remove all the guides on a page! Amazing! Or just remove guides on a certain page, spread, direction. You can also lock or unlock all guides at once, based on page, spread, or direction. This is a major feature that I believe a lot of people missed.

XPert Guides in Quark 7

Then came Quark 7… if you downloaded Quark’s free XPert Tools set of XTensions, you would get my third and probably most favorite tool, XPert Guides. The XPert Guides palette shows you the numerical location of a guide as you drag it onto the page. It also lets you change the color of the guide, whether it is a Page or a Pasteboard Guide, and whether the guide is horizontal or vertical.

The XPert Guides palette in QuarkXPress 7
The XPert Guides palette in QuarkXPress 7.

If you double-click a Guide you can control its location, as well as whether it is horizontal or vertical, on a page or spread, its color, and whether it is locked or not.

From the palette menu in the upper right corner, you can Delete, Mirror, Create, and either Import or Export Guides.

The palette menu items for XPert Guides.
The palette menu items for XPert Guides.

The Guides Palette in Quark 8

For those of you who are contemplating upgrading to QuarkXPress 8, you should know that they have added the XPert Guides feature to QuarkXPress 8, so you no longer have to download it separately! And they have also enhanced it quite a bit!

Let’s say you have a layout on a left-facing page and you want to give it a second margin to work to, and then you want to mirror that margin on the opposite page. Let’s take a look at how QuarkXPress 8 can help you.

First off, I made the margins of this page .5 inches. I need a box with a semi-opaque white fill that is located .5 inches from that margin. I will put all my type on top of that box. I roughly dragged in my guides first, trying to look at the Measurements palette to see where the guides dropped, but I didn’t care whether they were accurate or not. Why? Because now in Quark 8, you can simply click the location of the guide in the Guides palette and enter an exact measurement.

Insert guides5.png The new Guides palette with added features in Quark 8!
The new Guides palette with added features in Quark 8!

Next I dragged in the guides for the picture boxes and I turned them red. The great part about the Guides palette is that if I don’t want to see individual guides, I can click on the eyeball to hide them. In QuarkXPress 8 you can hide, show, lock, unlock and scale in the Guides palette without having to visually select the guide on the page.

Controlling the guides for the translucent box.
Controlling the guides for the translucent box.

I then wanted to select all the guides on the page, paste them on another page and flip them so I could have a mirrored layout. (Something you can’t do in InDesign or Illustrator)
I selected all the guides in the Guides palette, and clicked on the palette menu to select Copy Guides.

The Guides palette menu
The Guides palette menu.

I then selected the second page in the Guides panel, and selected Paste from the palette menu. I selected all the Guides on the second page and clicked on the palette menu to select Mirror Guides.

I now had the same guides I had on the first page, on the second page, and flipped horizontally. This saved me a ton of time trying to figure out the math that would make this work.

The guides are mirrored on the new page.
The guides are mirrored on the new page.

Finally, guides have a fully powered home in QuarkXPress 8! No longer do you have to let the former tedium of adding and removing guides dictate the amount of time you spend making sure things are aligned. Guide your way into the future with QuarkXPress 8!