Avoiding Text Reflow When Opening Legacy Documents in QuarkXPress 7 or 8

QuarkXPress 7 and 8 have an improved text engine, so if you copy and paste text from an older document into a document created in QuarkXPress 7 or 8, it may reflow.

Here’s how all this works:

For QuarkXPress 6 to work on Mac OS X, Quark added support for the basic character sets in Unicode (OpenType) fonts. However, they didn’t add support for the advanced features in OpenType. This allowed QuarkXPress 6 to keep the text engine from earlier versions of QuarkXPress.

However, when Quark added the avanced OpenType features to QuarkXPress 7 and higher, they improved the text engine all around. Thankfully, they also included the older text engine, and it is used when you open an older QuarkXPress document. So, for example, if you open a QuarkXPress 6/5/4 document in QuarkXPress 7 or 8, the text flow will not change.

But, if you open a document that was created in QuarkXPress 7 or 8, and then open an older document and copy text from it, if you paste that text into the new document it will use the new document’s text engine and may reflow.

Here’s the big tip for working with text across versions of QuarkXPress:

To open a legacy document and keep its original text flow, just open it in QuarkXPress 7 or 8. You can do that from the Desktop by dragging it onto the QuarkXPress icon, or from within QuarkXPress by choosing File> Open.

To convert the text in a legacy document to the new text engine in QuarkXPress 7 or 8, launch QuarkXPress 7 or 8, then choose File> Open. Select the file you want to open, and then hold down the Option or Alt key as you click the Open button. Everything in that legacy document will then be rebuilt as a fresh, new QuarkXPress 7 or 8 document.

(By the way, this is a good problem-solving technique as well. If a document begins acting strangely, sometimes you can Option/Alt-Open the file to rebuild and fix it. This doesn’t always work, but it’s the quickest technique.)

You may notice that the information at the bottom of the File> Open dialog box changes when you do this. When you first select the legacy document, the bottom of the Open dialog will display the version of QuarkXPress that created that document, and was last to save it. If you’re opening a document that was created in QuarkXPress 4, and last saved in QuarkXPress 6, that’s what you’ll see down there. After you perform the Option/Alt-Open technique, the Open dialog will indicate that you created the document in QuarkXPress 7 or 8 and last modified it in QuarkXPress 7 or 8 as well.

In the screen shot at the top of this story, the document was created in QuarkXPress 3.31 and last saved in QuarkXPress 7. After Option-opening it in QuarkXPress 8, the Open dialog looks like this: