Save Time With Xpress Design: Style Sheets With QuarkXPress

Style Sheets can be real time savers for designers especially in the creation of long or multi-page documents. Style Sheets are simply recorded format that you can then use in your design at will.

Consistency is one of the principles that designer must follow. Style Sheets help the designer so he doesn’t have to apply manaully the same type of formatting over and over again thrughout the document. Let me give you an example. You are designing a magazine promoting a certain item. You want to have all of your titles with a certain font, a certain size and a certain colour. You can record all of these information in a Style Sheet and then apply them to each title with a click. Now, let’s say that you decide that the titles are two small and they all have to be made 4 points bigger. Well, you just go to your Style Sheet and modify the size of your font there and all of the parts of text with that Style Sheet will change in one go.

This tutorial is for users of QuarkXPress 5 and 6. If you want to know how to create Style Sheets in QuarkXPress 4 follow the instructions for QuarkXPress version 5.

Getting Familiar with the Styles Palette

Once you have opened your QuarkXPress document, make sure that your Style Sheets palette is open. If it isn’t go to Window>Show Style Sheet for Quark 6 (or press F11) or View>Show Style Sheet for Quark 5 (same shortcut as Quark 6). Quark Styles Sheet palette is divided in two. The upper part handles paragraph styles while the lower part handles character styles. The difference between the two is that while with the upper part you can handle entire paragraphs, including their alignment, the leading, etc., with the character styles you handle the way your type looks, i.e., which fonts to use, whether they are bold, italic, underlined, etc. I will start with explaining the Character Styles first as they are easier to understand. Once you understand how those work, then you will be able to use the Paragraph Styles as well.

Work AreaEnlarged version

Creating Your Style

In QuarkXPress you cannot modify you Style Sheets unless you first select your text or the box containing the text. Note that your “Content tool” in your Tools Palette (the one with the icon representing a hand) also needs to be selected. (see picture 1) So select your text and then move your mouse on top of the Style Sheets palette and right click. A contextual menu will appear. Select New. A new window called Edit Character Style will appear.

Style menuEnlarged version

In your Edit Character Style window you can name your style sheet and set your type any way you want. In this case I have chosen the font Papyrus Plain, size 48pt. I also changed the colour to Cyan. You can obviously change any of the other options at will, but this is just an example to show you how Character Styles work.

Edit Character Style WindowEnlarged version

Select the text where you want to apply your Character Style to and then simply click on your new Charcter Style. You can see the result of the Character Style that I have applied in the picture below.

The result of the character styleThe result of the character style

Just as an informative note, should you change the formatting on any parts of text where you applied a Character Style, you will see a + just before the name of the style when you click on that text. If you want all of the parts of texts where you have applied the Character Style to change in one go, right click on the Character Style you want to change and, when the contextual menu appears, choose Edit (name of the Character Style) and then change your options there.

Even though the type of formatting is different, the Paragraph Styles work the same way as the Character Styles. Once you understand how one works, it won’t be difficult to understand how the other one works too. These steps apply to QuarkXPress on both Windows and Macintosh.