The ninth incarnation of QuarkXPress enters a much-changed publishing world – no longer is the software the de facto tool for creative professionals. Times have also changed dramatically from when QuarkXPress 8 was released in 2008. We’ve seen a revolution in mobile publishing, spearheaded by tablet devices such as ebook readers and Apple’s iPad.

Quark has responded to this growing need to create content for more media channels, with a release that encompasses two strands of new features – design-driven automation and dedicated tools for digital publishing.

Build catalogues with ImageGrid

The ImageGrid feature in QuarkXPress 9 can automatically build catalogues of images with a variety of layout and labelling options.

To create such a grid within an active layout, choose Utilities > ImageGrid to display the ImageGrid dialog box. You can specify how many rows and columns should be included in the grid, manually specify the size of the boxes, or click AutoSize to allow the application to size the boxes to fit automatically. Using the Add picture info checkbox, each image can be captioned with its filename, resolution, dimensions, colour model, and format. An automatic drop shadow can also be added to the picture boxes.

Bullets, numbering, and outline lists

Instead of manually inserting bullets and numbers and then manually formatting paragraphs to accommodate them, you can select your list and click on the Paragraph Attributes in the Measurements palette.

Click on the menu next to the •123 icon for options to choose a bullet, number or outline list (with a further choice of numbered, bullet and plain styles). You can also control how such lists behave by choosing Bullet, Numbering, and Outline Styles from the Edit menu and choosing Edit. You can choose how the element should look, what formatting it should have, how far it should be from the text, and how it should be aligned.

Blio Interactivity

To add an interactive slideshow to a Blio ebook, draw a picture box on your active layout.

In an external folder, number the picture files in the order you want them to appear. Using the Save Picture feature (File > Save Picture), resize and crop the pictures so that when you import them at a scale of 100%, they fit perfectly in the picture box.  Select the picture box and choose Item > Digital Publishing > Edit Interactivity. Choose slideshow from the Type drop-down menu in the Interactive Attributes dialog box. Click Attach and select the folder that contains the picture files, then click OK.

Unlink with Linkster

Linkster offers a new and more advanced way to unlink text content.

First, select the items you want to unlink. Next, choose Utilities > Linkster to display the Linkster dialog box. Click Selection, click Unlink, and then choose one of four options. The first option creates three stories: one for the boxes before the selected box, one for the selected box, and one for the boxes after the selected box. The other three options create two stories by combining the stories before or after the selected box, with or without the selected one – the dialog box displays icons that simplify your choice of options.

Create an outline style

If you want to create a custom indented list style, choose Edit > Bullet, Numbering, and Outline Styles, then choose Outline Style from the New button in the resulting dialog box.

The Edit Outline Style dialog box displays, giving access to nine levels for each outline style. You’ll see that each level of the outline style has an indent value, which can be changed. Each indent is applied cumulatively and all outline style indents are applied on top of paragraph  indents. There’s also the choice of Bullet or Numbering style (or None) and a number separator setting for each level.

Changing box shapes

If you need to change the shape of a text or picture box, or just add a graphic shape to your layout, you can make use of the new ShapeMaker feature. You can create new shapes from scratch, or apply new shapes to existing boxes. To access the ShapeMaker dialog box, choose Utilities > ShapeMaker. For example, the Waves tab lets you create boxes with wavy sides. Just describe the waves you want to use in the Wave 1 and Wave 2 areas, then assign them to the four sides of the box, using the controls in the top part of the tab.

Place text on a spiral

If you want to quickly create text on a curve without leaving QuarkXPress, you’ll find that the Spirals tab of the ShapeMaker dialog box (Utilities > ShapeMaker) will do the business. Three types of spiral are available: Archimedes (an evenly spaced circular spiral), Golden Spiral (a spiral built using the golden ratio), and Custom. The latter also lets you change the Winds value, which controls how many times the spiral goes around, while the Segments per wind setting controls how circular the spiral is. Choose Text Path from the Item pop-up box, and then paste your text into place.

Style content automatically

You can automatically style content based on styling rules, using Conditional Styles in QuarkXPress. To create one, choose Edit > Conditional Styles to display the Conditional Styles dialog box, then click New to bring up the Edit Conditional Style dialog box. Enter a name for the style in the Name field then begin building a rule by choosing an option in the first column: use the Apply option to apply formatting to text and the Go option to jump to a different point in the text. Once created, select the text and apply the new style from the Conditional Styles palette (Window menu).

Help with editing text

If you want to monitor the overall appearance of a page as you edit its text, you can position a Story Editor window next to a layout window that shows the same story at an easy-to-view size. Select a box or line that contains the target story and choose View > Story Editor. You’ll see that the text fills the entire window and all text is the same size and the same font. Only the most basic character formatting (such as bold and italic) is displayed and a red background indicates where text has overflowed beyond the last text box or path.

Conditional style markers

If you want to stop or start the application of a conditional style, but there is no natural aspect of a text flow (such as the end of a sentence) where you can do so, you can insert a zero-width character called a conditional style marker instead. Choose Utilities > Insert Character > Special > Conditional Style Marker to insert a marker at the required point. In the fourth column of the Edit Conditional Style dialog box, choose Conditional Style Marker. In the third column, choose from Up To or Backwards To options to control how the rule applies in relation to the marker.

Anchoring callouts

If you create a callout, in the form of a box or groups, and you want it to move automatically with a particular spot in a text story, you can associate it with a callout anchor. Go to the point in the text you want to associate it with and choose Item > Callout Anchor > Insert Callout Anchor. Once you have created your callout element, return to Item > Callout Anchor and choose Associate with Callout Anchor. Now, if your text containing the callout anchor moves to a new page or spread, the callout moves with it. To break the association, return to the menu and choose Release Callout.

Callout styles

You can control the positioning of a callout by configuring its callout anchor manually, but rather than recreating those settings each time, you can simply select the callout anchor and click an appropriate callout style in the Callout Styles palette (Window menu). To create a callout style, use the Callout Styles dialog box (Edit > Style Sheets) and click new or edit. Here you can configure how the callout aligns relative to the spread, the page, the box or cell that contains the callout anchor, the paragraph that contains the callout anchor, or the callout anchor itself. Click OK to save the style.

Cloning selections

With the Cloner feature, you can copy selected items to the same location on different pages or in different projects. First, select the items you want to clone. Next, choose Utilities > Cloner. In the resulting dialog box, the Clone Source area lets you choose what you want to clone. Click Selection to clone the selected items, then in the Clone Destination area, choose where the cloned content should go from the drop-down menu. Enter the target page in the To Page field, then use the adjacent field to enter the number of copies you want to make of the selected items.

Cloning pages

You can use Cloner to copy pages into a separate project. First, deselect all items. Next, choose Utilities > Cloner to display the Cloner dialog box. Click Pages In the Clone Source area and either specify All or specify a page number or range of pages. You can now check the Make Section box and choose to either keep all of the page copies in a single layout in the destination layout – even if they originate from different sections (Keep Contiguous option) – or preserve section breaks in the copies, if the indicated page range includes section breaks (Multiple sections option).

Improved Excel import

If you are used to importing Excel spreadsheets for use as tables in QuarkXPress, you’ll be pleased to know that version 9 now offers support for .XLSX files (Microsoft Excel 2007/11 Open XML workbook files). Once you’ve drawn a table with the table tool, check the box marked Link to External Table in the Table Properties dialog box. Browse for the .XLSX file and choose whether to include the style sheet from Excel, or to include hidden rows, hidden columns, formats and geometry. Then click OK. As before, the table in QuarkXPress is linked to the Excel file for tracking and updating.

Add HTML to an ebook

You can display content from an embedded HTML file in a Blio ebook. To add HTML to a layout, draw a picture box with the size and location you want to use for the HTML content (scroll bars will display if it’s too large). Construct or locate the HTML page – make sure there are no spaces in the file name. Select the picture box and choose Item > Digital Publishing > Edit Blio Interactivity, to display the Interactive Attributes dialog box. Choose Embedded HTML from the Type drop-down menu and select your HTML file by clicking on the paperclip icon.

Ebook articles

To create an ebook, you need to create reflow articles from your layout. If you don’t want to add everything on the page, make sure you finalise the layout first, then only select content you want to appear. Select the first section of text, display the Reflow Tagging palette (Window menu) and click New Article. To add content to the existing article, select the boxes that contain the new content and click Add Item in the palette. Click Show Item in Reflow View to see how content will appear in the ebook.

Breaking tables

The Table Break Properties panel allows you to set height and width values for a table, so if the table surpasses these criteria, it separates into two or more linked tables. QuarkXPress ensures that rows reflow automatically, while instances of the tables can continue from one page to another. You can set an anchored table to break automatically by checking the box in the Properties panel. If the table has a header, you can check Continued Header to create a different version of the header that displays in continued instances of a table. Header and footer rows are automatically synchronised across all instances.