Bug or Feature? QuarkXPress and Facing Pages

Today I was impressed by an email conversation between a longtime QuarkXPress user and Quark’s Dan Logan, product manager for QuarkXPress. If you rearrange page spreads in a document, you’ll want to read this.

The conversation went like this:

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Question:

In QuarkXPress 8, a terrible “enhancement” was introduced. This enhancement allowed even-numbered pages to be on the right-hand side, and odd-numbered pages on the left. This has buggered us up many times as we move pages around when the folios come out on the wrong side.

This is really not a small issue for us. Some of our journals are 400 pages and the extra time we have to take to look for wrong folios is very frustrating, when it should not have been introduced in the first place. A simple preference would take care of the situation, but instead we have to be more diligent.

My question to you is: Does QuarkXPress 9 have the old approach or does it keep the newer? Or does it allow us to set a preference (the best option)?

Dan’s reply:

There are two reasons why we made the change to allow left-facing odd pages. First, we had a number of customers asking for it for various reasons. Second, in version 8 we consolidated our international versions into a single codebase that could handle any language or page ordering, including Asian documents that read right-to-left and require left-facing odd-numbered pages.

That said, you are correct that we have some issues remaining when rearranging documents and we need to get back to that legacy behavior. We’re aware of this and will work on it sometime in the 9.x timeframe. For now however 9.x works the same as 8.5. We’ll work on getting this fixed to your satisfaction in a future release.

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My comment:

While I’m disappointed in how this change has negatively impacted QuarkXPress users, I’m pleased to at least have an explanation of why it is so.

Moving “facing pages” around in a document has always been a hair-raising experience for me (is it just me?) and this kind of added complexity doesn’t exactly encourage me to experiment with it. I’m eager to see it fixed!