QuarkXPress 8: New Font Features

Working with type in QuarkXPress 8 is easier than ever before
I just taught my first Quark 8 class to a group of people for the first time, and I have to tell you, Quark never felt so good! I know the word “intuitive” gets thrown around way too much in this industry, but I really have to use it here: QuarkXPress is more intuitive than ever. It reacts to your commands more like the other programs you use. I actually had a woman in class today say: “This is so easy compared to InDesign or Illustrator.” In this post, I would like to take a look at how dealing with type has become a better all-around experience.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)
First of all, let me tell you that I am a lover and collector of fonts. I love them all — tall, fat, serif, sans-serif, script, and all the crazies too. When I am designing, I love to use new and different fonts. I created a challenge for myself as a designer to know what each font looked like. That way I could picture the font in my mind that was needed for a certain project, and pull up its name by memory. Unfortunately, I could never remember them all. I can remember sitting at my desk, using Quark 4, and manually selecting each font to see if that was the font that would fit. Then one day I found the box that Quark 4 shipped with and inside was a little keyboard shortcut panel that fit perfectly on top of my keyboard, reminding me of what each Function key did.

This little piece of parchment changed my life. It was here I found out that holding the Option key (Control key in Windows) and pressing F9 while type is selected would cycle forward through all my fonts, so I could preview my text in each different font! (Tip: if you go past one you like, add the Shift key to the keyboard shortcut, and you can back up the fonts.) This made designing so much easier.

Now in QuarkXPress 8 they have finally added WYSIWYG menus. I love it. Every time you go to Style> Font, or scroll through the Fonts menu in the Measurements palette, you now see the font name displayed in its actual typeface!

Notice that the fonts not only appear in their own typefaces, but the icons indicate what kind of font format they are — it even distinguishes between the OpenType variants! (OpenType fonts based on PostScript are in red, while TrueType-based OpenType fonts are in blue.)

What kind of font it is?
Another part of QuarkXPress 8 I love is that fonts are now displayed with a logo next to the font telling you what kind of font it is. No more guessing is you are using an OpenType, a TrueType, or a PostScript font. Being able to see this info in the menu saves you countless hours of checking what kind of fonts you are using in your document — especially if you need to collaborate with someone on Windows while you design on a Mac, and you’re asked to design with OpenType fonts.

Easier Navigation in Quark 8
Navigating text boxes is also easier than ever in QuarkXPress 8. As always, you can use the Content tool to select and edit text, but what about if you really need to get back to the Item tool? You could hold down Command (Macintosh), or Control (Windows) to access this tool. But it never really takes you to the Item tool — it’s only temporary. In Quark 8 you can press the ESC key while you’re in the Content tool and it automatically “escapes” you to the Item tool. Now how do you go back to the Content tool? Don’t click it in the toolbar! Just double-click on a text box and the Item tool automatically turns into the Content tool!

Faux Bold & Italic
I was really hoping this feature would be completely removed from Quark 8, or at least that Quark would intelligently remove the Bold and Italic options from fonts that don’t have Bold and Italic variants. At least Quark 8 has diminished the size of the buttons, and hid some of the worst culprits like Shadow under a drop-down menu. It’s as if it is saying “Nothing to see over here!” The best part is the new Remove All Formatting option in the drop-down menu. At least now there is a tool that can now remove any crazy type styling that has happened in Quark.

Notice how small the Bold and Italic buttons have become. I sense their imminent death in Quark 9.

Superior Opacity Control
Quark had the foresight to not limit designers when applying Opacity to type. Some other nameless programs don’t let you apply different opacity settings to individual characters in a text box. This is an awesome feature in Quark 7 and Quark 8.

Random Notes:
For any other font-lovers that may be reading this, if you’re looking for a good handwriting script I urge you to check out Garrett Boge’s Wendy. It is amazing how the characters interact with one another — imagine the calculations that must have gone into this beautiful script!

Wendy is my new favorite font. You can get it here.

Font Conference Video
I recently discovered this really funny video about a font conference at www.collegehumor.com And Terri Stone’s review of it is hilarious! I’m a big fan of Futura’s work!
Till we meet again, explore your fonts, and just have fun with them. People work really hard to create these masterpieces, and you should use them to their fullest extent.

One final tip: the next time you’re bored in Quark choose Window> Glyphs and see what has been created for you! Fonts rule!