QuarkXPress 8: Drag and Drop Anything, Anywhere

Drag-and-drop in QuarkXPress 8 is tremendously more powerful than it was in previous versions. YOu can pretty much drag anything onto a QuarkXPress page from anywhere on your computer. You an also drag items from a QuarkXPress page onto any application that supports drag-and-drop, or even onto your desktop.

The details of how this all works is supplied below, courtesy of X-Ray magazine. (This is an excerpt from “QuarkXPress 8: a Suite Response“.)

Dan Logan has described many of the new features as “finally.” You know, as in “Quark finally added these.” That’s especially true of drag and drop. You can finally drag text or pictures from the OS or from other applications and drop them into QuarkXPress 8.

Drag and drop is a splinter of the import feature, so if you can import the content, you can drag and drop it. What’s important to remember is that the import dialogue box settings will affect what you drag and drop. For instance, for this magazine we have a template with style sheets predefined in a Word document. QuarkXPress has a Word filter that enables me to import this text with full support for the style sheets that were created in the word-processing application. QuarkXPress style sheets (of the same name and predefined in our QuarkXPress template) are automatically applied during the import routine. When I import this pre-styled text, I check the box to include style sheets and convert quotes. The first time I do this (for each session), those settings become the default and, unless I change them, each subsequent import will be guided by the same settings. This applies to drag and drop as well, and also applies to the drag and drop of pictures.


The drag-and-drop features are controlled by the settings of the import dialogue box. These settings are sticky and are remembered through each session of QuarkXPress 8.

The benefits of using drag and drop rather than the import dialogue is, of course, that’s it’s much less effort, but also that you can drag and drop multiple files (you can only import one file at a time).

When you drag and drop content from the OS level or from another application, QuarkXPress 8 displays box-targeting feedback. This is a blue-glow box outline that surrounds the target placement. If you drag over an existing box (of any content type), the blue highlighting surrounds the target box. If you drag to an open area of the layout, the highlighting surrounds the entire visible page and pasteboard area.

When you use the drag-and-drop feature, a blue box provides target feedback. The content in this case is text and it will replace the numeral eight graphic.

If, for instance, you have a box that covers the entire area and you do not want to drop the new content into this existing box, you can create a new box to contain the content by holding the OPTION key as you drop the content.

Working with text

When you choose a text file, QuarkXPress 8 uses the RTF filter and the formatting of the text will be retained. You may, however, drag and drop any text file format that QuarkXPress supports. (Check your XTensions folder for the appropriate filter if you are unsure about supported formats.)

You do not have to drag and drop an entire file; any portion — any selection — can be used. You may drag text to a box that already contains other text and even drag text and embed it within the text string. It does not have to be at the beginning of the text or at the end, it can be anywhere in the string that you choose. As you drag text over the box and receive the box-target feedback, you will also be able to view the text-insertion cursor. Mouse to the position where you wish to insert the text and release.

You can drag and drop text, and place it within text that is already in the box.

Dropping text onto an area of the page where no box is present will cause a text box to be drawn to the width of the margins, but the top of the text box will begin at approximately the point where you released the mouse. If you drag to a point between the margin and the page, QuarkXPress 8 draws a text box that takes up some of the space on the page and some of the space on the pasteboard. It begins the box at approximately the point where you released the mouse. If there is more text than can be accommodated in that text box, this will be indicated by an overflow marker. If, however, you drag and drop text into the automatic text box and your preferences are set to add pages, just as with text you import, QuarkXPress 8 will create enough additional pages (based on the current master page) to accommodate the entire text string.

Last, but hardly least, you can drag fully formatted text from one text box to another text box. Dragging and dropping text is not new to QuarkXPress 8, but from one text box to another is. To use this feature, you may choose to change the default preferences of QuarkXPress.

To change the preferences, enabling drag and drop as the default, go to QUARKXPRESS > PREFERENCES > INPUT SETTINGS > DRAG AND DROP TEXT (check box). If you prefer, and if you are a Mac user, there are modifier keys for temporarily overriding the default preference status (off). To drag text from one box to another, even when your preference for drag and drop text is disabled, do this.

  1. Draw a text box to contain the text you wish to drag.
  2. Go to the text box with the original text.
  3. Select the text to drag and drop (it can be any portion of the text).
  4. Hold down COMMAND + CONTROL and click and hold down
    on your mouse button.
  5. Drag to the new box. (If you try to drag to a portion of the page where no box exists, you will see the icon shown below.)
  6. Release the mouse button and then release the modifier keys to drop the text into the new box.

If you try to drag and drop text from a text box to a place in the document where there is not a box to contain the content, your mouse icon displays a no symbol.

Working with pictures

If you drag and drop a picture (and this applies to all picture formats that QuarkXPress supports), QuarkXPress 8 will start the picture box at approximately the point where you released the mouse. It then draws the picture box width and height no larger than your page size — or in short, the same behavior as importing without a box. Of course, it goes without saying that you can drag and drop into a box that already exists. If the box has content already, this content will be replaced with the content that you just dropped and it will do so without an alert. You can use undo to reverse this task.

Make it a roundtrip

QuarkXPress 8 supports drag and drop to and from any application that supports drag and drop. So, not only can you drag text and pictures into a layout from the OS or from another application, you can drag text and pictures from a QuarkXPress 8 layout to the OS or into another application. This invokes the open function if, for instance, you drag an image from a QuarkXPress layout and drop it onto an application icon in your dock (such as Photoshop).

If you use drag and drop to edit a picture by dropping it on an application, it functions much like the edit original feature with one major difference. You can drag and drop onto the application of your choice, whereas edit original opens the image in the application assigned to it at the OS level.

If the status of the picture is missing, then QuarkXPress will not pass a copy of the picture, but rather the raw pixel data (picture clipping). Some applications, such as Photoshop cannot accept raw pixel data because a file format is required. However, other applications, such as Word, are able to use this data.

When you drag a picture or text from a QuarkXPress 8 project (and depending on the status of the picture) a copy of the content is created and placed in the location of your drop. This is a great way to perform a collect for output process of a single page. Simply drag all the pictures on the page and drop them to a folder at the finder level.