QuarkXPress 8: Item Styles

I’ve been waiting many years to have Item Styles in QuarkXPress, and I imagine you have too. Item Styles give far-reaching control over the appearance of boxes and rules, similar to how Style Sheets allow managing text formatting in long documents. And Quark’s implementation of Item Styles, especially the Item Styles Usage window, is especially well conceived.

Learn how to create and manage Item Styles in the story below, courtesy of X-Ray magazine. (This is an excerpt from “QuarkXPress 8: a Suite Response.”)

XTending QuarkXPress

Something over two years ago Quark acquired ALAP, and with that their extensible technology product line. The customers with whom I spoke after the acquisition all made the same assumption: Quark would integrate XPert Tools Pro and the Imposer products into the core application. With QuarkXPress, the products were upgraded to support 7 (and given away free of charge), but changes to the UI and functionality were not updated.

To fully integrate select XPert Tools with QuarkXPress 8, a great deal of time needed to be spent on the UI, palette set support, web and interactive layouts support, Unicode support, and localized language support. With the release of 8.0, for three of the XPert Tools, this has now been accomplished. What’s missing? The moniker. These products, now fully integrated, are no longer known as XPert Tools — but we invite you as the expert to put these tools to work.

What products made the cut? XPert Guides (which we have already explored), XPert Item Styles, and XPert Find/Change. In this section, we’ll tour the features and interface of the two remaining adopted XTensions. If you’re wondering about the other modules — especially the popular XPert Scale and XPert Print — don’t give up hope. Quark may well be considering these for a future version and with any luck it will be in the very near future. [Civil disobedience may be needed.]


You’re not officially a power user unless you use style sheets. [I’m sorry, I don’t write the rules — I’m just the messenger.] If you aspire to be a power user, it’s never too late to master style sheets and, with the official and permanent incorporation of XPert Tools’ Item Styles into QuarkXPress 8, mastering style sheet implementation across text and items advances you two spaces beyond the current style sheet champions.

With the same basic functionality as text style sheets, item styles provides control over items from two approaches: item styles palette (for managing the style sheets) and item find/change (we’ll come back to this in a bit).

In the same way that you would create and apply text styles, you may now apply items styles through the palette interface. The options available for item styles are, for the most part, the same options that you would find in the modify dialogue box. Further, just like text style sheets, if you update the attributes of a style, the attributes are automatically applied to all documents throughout the project (not just the layout space) to which you have applied the style.

Item styles for items works in the same manner as style sheets for text. Most of the item attributes that are assignable to a style are found in the modify dialogue box. To create new styles, edit, duplicate, or delete, use the icons along the top edge of the palette or CONTROL + CLICK or RIGHT CLICK on the title of a style sheet.

Note: Unlike the text style sheets palette, there is not update option.

 In addition to the palette, you may also access a usage dialogue box (very similar to the picture and font usage dialogue box). To access this, CONTROL + CLICK or RIGHT CLICK on a style tile and choose USAGE. From the usage box, you can quickly jump to an instance that has local formatting (modified) by clicking the title of the modified item, and then clicking the SHOW button.

Use the usage dialogue box to identify the pages where the style is used or where it is used but has had local formatting applied. The update button in this dialogue box will overwrite the local formatting of this modified item with the stored item style.

Create an item style

To get started, you will need to create a style. Here’s how:

  1. Optionally, format a box with the settings you wish to save (you may skip this step and go directly to step 2, but it’s a great way to capture settings that you have already applied to a particular item; remember the tip/trick that I describe above?).
  2. Choose WINDOW > ITEM STYLES to prompt the item styles palette.
  3. Click the PLUS sign along the top edge of the palette pane.
  4. Type a name for the item style.
  5. Navigate the remaining panes in the edit item style dialogue box and define the item attributes.
  6. Click OK.

Once you have completed these steps, the newly created style is added to the item styles palette.

Editing item styles

If you change your mind about attributes that you have defined for a style, follow these steps for editing.

  1. Click the title of the item style.
  2. Click the PENCIL icon along the top of the pane
    within the item style palette.
  3. Click through to the desired pane(s) within the dialogue box and change the attributes.
  4. Click OK.

The edit item styles dialogue box provides you a single point of access for all item-formatting options. Click through the panes and choose the options when you create a new style or when you want to edit previously defined settings.

To apply a style to an item:

  1. Select the item.
  2. Click on the item style’s title in the item styles palette.

Remember that these function in the same manner as a style sheet for text. If you have applied a style to lots of items, when you modify the item style, that change is applied to all items to which you have applied this item style.

Sharing item styles

If you CONTROL + CLICK or RIGHT CLICK on a title style, you can import or export your styles. Styles are stored at the project level. Being able to export them for use in another project, or for use by another user, is very convenient. Item styles cannot be shared using the append option.