Markzware's Q2ID Plug-In Converts Quark 5 and 6 Files to InDesign

Markzware's Q2ID Plug-In Converts Quark 5 and 6 Files to InDesign

Q2ID brings QuarkXPress 5.x and 6.x document conversion to InDesign.

Markzware Q2ID - QuarkXPress to InDesign Conversion Plug-In

Q2ID (QuarkXPress to InDesign doc­u­ment conversion)

$199 usd

More and more late­ly I find myself review­ing prod­ucts that are pow­er­ful but sim­ple, appli­ca­tions or plug-ins that answer broad sweep­ing needs unas­sum­ing­ly. Markzware’s Q2ID is one such plug-in. And, like all the great plug-ins, less is more.

InDesign 2.0, released when the lat­est ver­sion of QuarkXPress was 4, could auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­vert and open QuarkXPress ver­sion 3.3 and 4.1 files. InDesign CS, released when the lat­est ver­sion of QuarkXPress was 5, could auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­vert and open QuarkXPress ver­sion 3.3 and 4.1 files. InDesign CS2, released when the lat­est ver­sion of QuarkXPress was 6.5, could auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­vert and open QuarkXPress ver­sion 3.3 and 4.1 files.

Every new ver­sion of InDesign inspired a new throng of con­ver­tees from QuarkXPress, many with libraries of XPress doc­u­ments wait­ing to make the switch with them. Yet, as each new ver­sion of InDesign appeared, it did not bring aid for the lat­est XPress doc­u­ments. Four years and two ver­sions after the release of XPress 5.0, InDesign can­not open doc­u­ments cre­at­ed in XPress 5.0 or the lat­er, and much more pop­u­lar, XPress 6 and 6.5. The offi­cial Adobe rec­om­mend­ed con­ver­sion pro­ce­dure is to open XPress 6.5 doc­u­ments, and save them back to ver­sion 5.0-compatible; open the saved back doc­u­ments in XPress 5.0, and save back to ver­sion 4.1-compatible; final­ly, those may then be opened direct­ly into InDesign.

The offi­cial pro­ce­dure is labor and time inten­sive, and a pain in the neck with its require­ment to main­tain instal­la­tions of sev­er­al ver­sions of QuarkXPress sole­ly for a stair-stepped con­ver­sion process. Markzware’s lat­est offer­ing fills in the gap, enabling the Quark-to-InDesign migra­tion in the form of Q2ID.

Q2ID is a sim­ple fil­ter plug-in. It has no user inter­face. There are no options. It has one spe­cif­ic job, and it does that job well.

Once installed, sim­ply open a QuarkXPress or QuarkXPress Passport lay­out with InDesign’s File > Open com­mand to begin the conversion--just like using InDesign’s built-in XPress con­vert­er. In fact, Q2ID will take over the job of open­ing XPress 3.3 and 4.1 doc­u­ments as well. To real­ly speed the job, con­vert mul­ti­ple doc­u­ments at once just like open­ing INDD files--select sequen­tial files by click­ing on the first, then SHIFT-clicking on the last. CMD-click non-sequential files to select them.

The big ques­tion is: Does it work? You bet your base­line it does.

Of course, Q2ID does­n’t con­vert every­thing per­fect­ly. Because of the dif­fer­ence in text engines between QuarkXPress and InDesign, con­vert­ed text will reflow between the two. Moreover, if text snug­ly fits with­in its box in XPress, it will almost cer­tain­ly over­set when it lands in InDesign, requir­ing a reduc­tion in size by .2-1 pt. Both Q2ID and InDesign’s own fil­ter expose the text ren­der­ing discrepancy.

Other issues not han­dled by the fil­ter are spelled out in the Q2ID release notes:

  1. All Frames will be cen­tered. The rea­son for this is a high­ly accu­rate posi­tion can be main­tained. Polygons will be framed inside.
  2. A runaround for a pic­ture box might not flow on the left side. The solu­tion is to man­u­al­ly adjust the left side of the pic­ture box with­in InDesign.
  3. A Blend angle is not supported.
  4. If a Blend does not appear on the Swatches palette, select the object until the col­or appears on the Color palette and drag it to the Swatches palette.
  5. A Gradient used in a sin­gle Table Cell will not fit entire­ly with­in the cell since InDesign spreads the gra­di­ent across an entire row of columns.
  6. If left of right Table Cells use the same col­or they will over­lap on the inner rows.
  7. Linked Table Cells are not supported.
  8. InDesign does not sup­port Skewed text in a Table Cell.
  9. A rotat­ed Table Cell should be in incre­ments of 90 degrees or it may not be visible.
  10. Feathered arrows are not supported.
  11. Sometimes Tables will not be ful­ly dis­played due to over­flow. In this case sim­ply adjust the height of the text box until the Table ful­ly appears.
  12. A Runaround off­set for a Picture Rectangle will con­vert only as an Outset.
  13. Points/Inch is not sup­port­ed by InDesign 3.
  14. If any item is locked in a Group, the item will become unlocked and the Group itself will be locked.
  15. Subscript, Superscript and SmallCaps will use the Vertical val­ue if the Horizontal val­ue is not 100.
  16. Justified Center or Right Drop Caps not supported.
  17. Rules Above and Below for Drop Caps will not be posi­tioned cor­rect­ly. Rules are dis­played in InDesign even if the para­graph has no Paragraph Return.
  18. If any sin­gle Guide is locked then all Guides will becomes locked.
  19. All Trap set­tings are ignored.
  20. PDF Preferences and Color Management Preferences are cur­rent­ly not converted.
  21. Multi-Inks are not cur­rent­ly converted.
  22. Table of Contents and Indexes are cur­rent­ly not converted.
  23. Hexachrome col­ors are con­vert­ed to CMYK Process Coated EURO may con­vert to CMYK. For InDesign 3, Metallic and Pastel col­ors are con­vert­ed to LAB.
  24. 1-Bit images may loose their trans­paren­cy, espe­cial­ly if the image is miss­ing. The solu­tion is to locate the image and ensure it con­tains the desired clip­ping path, or man­u­al­ly set the clip­ping to “Detect Edges” in InDesign.
  25. Layers set for Suppressed Output will be con­vert­ed to Show Layer turned off.
  26. Forced Justification will be con­vert­ed to “Justify with last line aligned left.”
  27. The Outline type­face is sup­port­ed by con­vert­ing the text to a stroke of .25 pts with a fill of None. The Shadow type­face is not sup­port­ed. (Note that Shadow could be emu­lat­ed by man­u­al­ly dupli­cat­ing the text, plac­ing it under­neath the orig­i­nal text, set­ting the tint to 60% and off­set­ting its position.
  28. Only Nonbreak Hyphens are sup­port­ed by InDesign.

New updates are released every few weeks to address con­ver­sion issues, so the list may shrink before long. Because of the fre­quen­cy of revi­sions, it’s dif­fi­cult to even ding Q2ID for suf­fer­ing under any issues. During the course of my test­ing, for exam­ple, I not­ed incon­sis­tent text wraps result­ing from con­vert­ed runarounds, but the 1.4 update released last week resolved the issue.

One thing that real­ly impressed me is the recent addi­tion of a fea­ture to pre­serve the z-order of objects. During con­ver­sion, InDesign often changes or even revers­es the z-order of objects--background frames wind up in front of fore­ground objects. Using Q2ID, sim­ply hold down the SHIFT key while open­ing files for con­ver­sion, and objec­t’s orig­i­nal z-order will be pre­served. Alone, this is a tremen­dous time saver.

The only real com­plaints I have are not about functionality.

Despite the fre­quent patch­es, Q2ID will not update itself, nor does Markzware​.com pub­li­cize the release of updates. One must log-in to the user area of the site (and nav­i­gate through a crowd­ed list of updates for all Markzware prod­ucts) to locate new ver­sions of Q2ID.

The oth­er gripe, of course, is that Q2ID is Mac-only. Like InDesign itself, Q2ID will con­vert XPress doc­u­ments cre­at­ed on either Mac or Windows, it will only run with­in InDesign on OS X. Windows-based design­ers are out of luck--for the moment. According to Markzware’s Robert C. Claborne, the Windows ver­sion of Q2ID will be avail­able in just a cou­ple of weeks.

If you need to con­vert a few XPress 3.3 or 4.1 files here and there, save your mon­ey. Use InDesign’s built in con­ver­sion. If, how­ev­er, you’ve made the switch to InDesign--and don’t intend to go back--while hold­ing a library of XPress doc­u­ments, Q2ID will pay for itself in no time.

I con­sid­er few plug-ins manda­to­ry for any busi­ness. If your busi­ness is an InDesign-based ser­vice bureau, ad agency, peri­od­i­cal, or any oth­er shop that takes files from clients for incor­po­ra­tion or repur­pos­ing into oth­er doc­u­ments, Q2ID is one of those few.

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5 Responses

  1. shawn says:

    It’s real­ly not the “pain in the neck” that this arti­cle says to con­vert quark files to ID if you do hap­pen to have access to quark 5.0. It’s pret­ty sim­ple really.

  2. samantha says:

    Hey Burke, i think its time to change the icons on your “Quark vs InDesign” title. I down­loaded Quark 7 and it has a new icon… use that or what­ev­er icon they use in the final release. While you’re at it, update the icon for ID - coz CS2 uses a pink butterfly.

  3. marco says:

    I bought the plu­g­in the minute it became avail­able. Works fine. But… some­times, just some­times, it cre­ates dou­ble object when in Quark there was only one. This can be any­thing, a dou­ble tex­field for example.

  4. fred says:

    Dear PSB:

    Do you know if this prod­uct will be avail­able for Windows at any point? I own 3 Macs at home, but unfor­tu­nate­ly I work in a Windows world.

  5. Hi, Fred.

    Yes, as I not­ed toward the end of the review: “accord­ing to Markzware’s Robert C. Claborne, the Windows ver­sion of Q2ID will be avail­able in just a cou­ple of weeks.” I would look for an announce­ment soon.

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