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Top 5 Pain Points Tripping Up Your QuarkXPress to InDesign Game

Published By: CreativePro.com
Credit: Byline
Type: Feature
In L.A. they’re throw­ing “Innie” par­ties; flash­ing an InDesign CS2 CD-ROM is re­quired to part the vel­vet ropes at SoHo night­clubs, and; in Dallas, even the man­li­est of de­sign­ing men is sport­ing a but­ter­fly tat­too. Learning InDesign is hip. It’s hap­pen­ing. It’s now. InDesign is the new black.

Coming from pro­fi­cien­cy in QuarkXPress, how­ev­er, some fea­tures of InDesign seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive and can be con­fus­ing and down­right frus­trat­ing. So what are you to do? Stand in line for­ev­er, wish­ing you were walk­ing in­side with the oth­er hip­sters to par­ty ‘til dawn with trans­paren­cy, rock­ing OpenType sup­port, and ex­portable PDFs that ac­tu­al­ly print? No! Of course not! You’re go­ing to read this ar­ti­cle, learn how to over­come the top five pain points, and get IN.

  1. Runaround Sue ver­sus the Gansta TextWrap

Runaround Sue may have been a jam­ming tune yes­ter­year, but get­ting IN is all about ac­quir­ing an ear for gans­ta Text Wrap.

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. In 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).

According to gans­ta text wrap­per 50 Point, the few­er clicks and faster task switch­ing of a palette over a di­a­log is “da shiz­zle ma fadizzle.”

  1. Someone Jacked My Text Box Tools!

In QuarkXPress you’re used to rolling with 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. What? InDesign can’t do text?

Relax, man. No one jacked the text box tools in InDesign. Do you see cin­der blocks un­der its wheels? InDesign does text, it just doesn’t need sep­a­rate tools to do it. You see, text box tools are like curb-feelers; you’ll see them around town, but on­ly on old dude’s cars.

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. No jive, man! It’s that easy. The same is true for el­lip­ti­cal and polyg­o­nal (rough­ly equiv­a­lent to XPress’s Star tool) frames, and us­ing ei­ther the Pen or Pencil tools to draw a closed path is the same as XPress’s Bezier and Freehand box tools.

Separate text frame tools is re­dun­dant. If you’re go­ing to roll with the fast and the fu­ri­ous, you need a light, sleek ride that knows where to cast off dead weight to di­al up the horsepower.

  1. Whacked Paragraph Leading

Dig the sitch:  You’re hang­ing with your peeps when some­one says:  “Dude! I love this song. Amp the lead­ing!” So, you high­light some text and pump up the lead­ing. Then, bam! Your posse’s whole para­graph goes screwy. What’s the dealio? In XPress it ain’t noth­ing to tweak one line of lead­ing, why does the I-to-the-N-to-the-Design have to be mess­ing with your whole paragraph?

Chill, dude. It ain’t noth­ing but a pref­er­ence thing. Direct your peep­ers to the Edit (Windows) or InDesign (Mac) menu, then Preferences, and Type. In the mid­dle of the Type Options sec­tion uncheck Apply Leading to Entire Paragraph. Whomp the OK and get down to bidness.

  1. Master Page Objects Shutout?

In XPress, over­rid­ing a mas­ter page ob­ject on a doc­u­ment page is no big—grab it with the Item, Content, Rotate, or oth­er tools, and work it like Shaq works a b-ball. Trying to over­ride mas­ter page items in InDesign, how­ev­er, can feel like play­ing one-on-one against Shaquille O’Neal:  a shutout. It doesn’t mat­ter how much skil­lz you got or what tool you try—the Selection ar­row, the Direct Select tool, even the Type tool—noth­ing is get­ting past InDesign’s seven-foot-one defender.

One of the great frus­tra­tions with XPress has al­ways been how easy it is to in­ad­ver­tent­ly over­ride a mas­ter page item. To ad­dress the need cre­at­ed by that frus­tra­tion, 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. Now, run cir­cles around the big guy.

  1. 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, like TiVo, is noth­ing new. XPress has had drag-and-drop text ca­pa­bil­i­ties for years, as have most word proces­sors. Why, then, did InDesign hook you up with a kick­ing sur­round sound sys­tem, Hi-Def flat screen, and 500 chan­nels of dig­i­tal ca­ble on­ly to stick you with a lame cut-and-paste BetaMax VCR?

Actually, it didn’t. Dragging and drop­ping text is a pain in the neck to al­most ex­act­ly the same num­ber of peo­ple as those who can’t live with­out it (some dude in Jersey tipped the scale to­ward the for­mer). Some peo­ple still cham­pi­on BetaMax, oth­ers can’t live with­out TiVo. Earlier ver­sions of InDesign sided with the purists, but CS2 is pimped out with both.

Just hit the CMD+K (Mac) or CTRL+K (Windows) fin­ish­ing move but­ton se­quence to flip open the Preferences, then hip­pety hop down to the Type pan­el. In the mid­dle of that pan­el is Drag and Drop Text Editing. If you’re on the TiVo side of the ar­gu­ment, check Enable in Layout View and whomp that OK but­ton. BetaMax lovers should leave it unchecked, as it is by default.


Are you down with get­ting past the top five pain points suf­fered by pro­fi­cient QuarkXPress users learn­ing InDesign? Cool. Then throw in the lat­est Eminendash CD, grab your bling, and say good­bye to lone­ly Saturday nights, be­cause now you’re in­to the InDesign scene. You’re cool again. You’re IN, yo. Go get down with your bad self!