QuarkXPress QuarkXPress’ Work Area

This is the first of a series of tutorials on Quark 6.x. It will cover the work area to give an orientation to new users.

QuarkXPress is a high end program which has been used by DTP professionals for years. Even though it now shares the “industry standard” status with InDesign, QuarkXPress is still a powerful program.

While this tutorial is basic, other tutorials will follow and you will soon find articles for both advanced and new users.

QuarkXPress’s Work Area

Like most programs, QuarkXPress has a Menu Bar on top of the screen. It also has the Tools (on the left in the illustration) and the palettes. Palettes are little windows which have specialized functions, e.g., you have got one that handles colours, one that handles style sheets, one that handles pages, and so on.

Quark’s Work Area (Enlarged version)

The Menu Bar

You can get access most of the functions of QuarkXPress through the Menu Bar. However you will see that, as you become more proficient and faster at using QuarkXPress, you will want to learn shortcuts so you don’t have to drag your mouse around in search of the option you want. If you want to learn the shortcuts, just look next to the command you are interested in and you will see the shortcut if there is one.

If you want to open a new document go to File> New> Project (Command + N for Macs; Control + N for PCs). When the New Project window shows up, choose your document settings and press OK.

The Menu Bar (Enlarged version)

The Measurements Palette

The Measurements palette hosts a variety of information and settings such as the coordinates of an object, its size, the size and font being used and so on. You can make it show up by going to Window> Measurements. Its functions change depending on what you are doing — for example, if you have selected a shape, the Measurements palette won’t show you the information related to fonts.

Let’s have a closer look at this palette now.

measurements paletteThe Measurements palette (Enlarged version)

As you can see I drew a black box in the middle of the page and I have selected it. The first two measurements you see, X and Y, are the coordinates that tell you where your box is on the page. The X and Y values are important to know when you are trying to position something precisely.

The next two measurements, H and W, respectively tell you the hight and the width of your black box (or any item on your page).

While the above 4 fields remain the same for picture and text boxes, they change when drawing lines. The rest of the fields changes depending on what you are doing. I will explain them when we get to those functions in another tutorial.

The (Other) Palettes

If you look at the first picture you see that there were several floating windows. Those are some of QuarkXPress’ palettes.

You can collapse a floating palette by double-clicking on the top bar of the palette, where its name is displayed. You can close a palette by clicking on the button on the top left.

All of QuarkXPress’ palettes can be conveniently found under the Window Menu. Following is a list of them:

  • Tools
  • Measurements
  • Page Layout
  • Style Sheets
  • Colours
  • Synchronized Text
  • Trap Information
  • Lists
  • Layers
  • Profile Information
  • Hyperlinks
  • Index
  • Sequences
  • Placeholders

The Tools

You will use this palette quite a lot. You don’t need to worry about how each individual tool works for the purpose of this tutorial. We will get to that, hold your horses! Right now it’s enough if you just move the cursor of your mouse on top of each tool to see their name appear.

ToolboxA flyout menu
(Enlarged version)

If you use Photoshop or Illustrator, you will be familiar with the little arrows in the corner of some of the icons in the Tools Palette. If you click on them, and keep your mouse button pressed, a little menu will pop up. That menu shows you some “hidden” tools which you can choose from. This little menu is called flyout (make sure you close all the windows in you room…).

A Few Words on Contextual Menus

Contextual Menus show up when you right + click (Windows) or Control + click (Mac Os) on objects in your layout. They change depending on which object you have selected. They are very useful as they show you options that are related to what you are doing, for example you can see the Get Picture command when you right click on a picture box. This also saves you the time to go all the way up to the top of your screen to the Menu Bar.