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Overcoming the Top 5 Pain Points of Switching from QuarkXPress to InDesign

Published By: Publish Magazine
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A lot of de­sign­ers are mak­ing the move from QuarkXPress to Adobe’s InDesign. But if you’re a pro­fi­cient QuarkXPress user, some fea­tures of InDesign seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive, con­fus­ing and down­right frustrating.

Below, learn how to over­come the top five pain points.

1. Quark’s Runaround ver­sus InDesign’s TextWrap

In QuarkXPress, runaround is the process of forc­ing text in a box to avoid an­oth­er object—usually a pic­ture box or an­oth­er text box. This is ac­com­plished on the Runaround tab of the Modify di­a­log, and in­cludes op­tions for mak­ing text “runaround” the shape of the box, it’s con­tent, non-white ar­eas, or clip­ping paths.

Like all the best mu­sic, the chords haven’t changed; they’re just played in a dif­fer­ent key. Everything QuarkXPress’s runaround does in a di­a­log, InDesign does in a palette. >From the Window menu, se­lect Text Wrap. You should see fa­mil­iar controls.

The re­al boon to pal­letiz­ing this func­tion is that palettes can re­main on screen with­out in­hibit­ing your abil­i­ty to se­lect oth­er ob­jects. In XPress, set­ting up runaround on sev­er­al box­es re­quires rep­e­ti­tion of: se­lect ob­ject, key­board short­cut (or mouse up to the menu), en­ter set­tings, click OK but­ton. With InDesign, it’s: se­lect ob­ject, en­ter set­tings, Return key. The dif­fer­ence might not seem like much, but few­er steps al­ways equate to less time and work. Even bet­ter, InDesign’s Object Styles can store text wrap set­tings, mak­ing the process of ap­ply­ing iden­ti­cal set­tings to mul­ti­ple ob­jects a one-click op­er­a­tion (af­ter the first instance).

2. Where are the Text Box Tools?

In QuarkXPress you’re used to us­ing pic­ture box­es and text box­es. You want text? Grab a text box tool (rec­tan­gle, round­ed rec­tan­gle, el­lipse, Bezier, and so on), draw the box, jump to the Content tool, and type away. In InDesign, though, there are no text box tools.

But no wor­ries: InDesign does text, it just doesn’t need sep­a­rate tools to do it.

Like just about every oth­er fea­ture of InDesign, there are at least two ways to cre­ate text frames (“box­es” is old school). For rec­tan­gu­lar text frames, just grab the Type tool then click and drag to de­fine the di­men­sions of the frame. Start typ­ing. Another way to do it is to pick up ei­ther the Rectangular Frame tool (it looks just like the Rectangular Picture Box tool) or just the Rectangle tool be­side it and draw your frame. While these can hold pic­tures or be left empty—say, to be­come a col­ored de­sign element—clicking in­side ei­ther one with the Type tool au­to­mat­i­cal­ly trans­forms it in­to a text frame.

The same is true for el­lip­ti­cal and polyg­o­nal (rough­ly equiv­a­lent to XPress’s Star tool) frames. Using ei­ther the Pen or Pencil tools to draw a closed path is the same as XPress’s Bezier and Freehand box tools.

3. Paragraph Leading

With XPress, tweak­ing one line of a paragraph’s lead­ing is sim­ple, and chang­ing that line doesn’t ef­fect the en­tire para­graph. Not so with InDesign. But you can fix this. In InDesign, di­rect your mouse to the Edit (Windows) or InDesign (Mac) menu, then click Preferences, then click Type. In the mid­dle of the Type Options sec­tion, uncheck “Apply Leading to Entire Paragraph.”

4. Master Page Objects Shutout?

In XPress, over­rid­ing a mas­ter page ob­ject on a doc­u­ment page is no big deal—simply grab it with the Item, Content, Rotate, or oth­er tools. Overriding mas­ter page items in InDesign, how­ev­er, is much hard­er to do.

InDesign makes the process less accident-prone. It is pos­si­ble, though. Just hold down Shift+Opt (Mac) or Shift+CTRL (Windows) when click­ing on a mas­ter page ob­ject from with­in a doc­u­ment page.

5. Drag and Drop Text Ain’t Dragging or Dropping

The abil­i­ty to high­light a por­tion of your text and drag it to a new place in the text box is noth­ing new. XPress has had drag-and-drop text ca­pa­bil­i­ties for years, as have most word proces­sors. Why, then, does InDesign force you in­to the cut-and-paste paradigm?

Actually, it doesn’t. Just hit CMD+K (Mac) or CTRL+K (Windows) to flip open the Preferences, then se­lect the Type pan­el. In the mid­dle of that pan­el is “Drag and Drop Text Editing.” If you like drag­ging and drop­ping, check “Enable in Layout View” and click OK. Cutters and pasters should leave the box unchecked.