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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.