Short Words

QuarkXPress doesn’t have a feature that handles small words. There’s no way to ensure that a line doesn’t end in a, I or a two-letter word, something typographers avoid. There’s also no standard way to keep numbers with words. Short Words attempts to get around this. It replaces normal spaces by unbreakable ones, using XPress’s control-spacebar combination. Short Words’ five features can be turned on and off individually from a preferences panel and triggered from the utilities menu. The first of these handles the breaking of the six vowels (including y), while the second deals with four single consonants s, z, v and k – neccessary in languages such as Czech. Two-letter words are handled by the third feature, and the final two deal with the inserting of unbreakable spaces either after or before numbers. The last of these would work with Mac OS 9 or Formula 1.


Short Words works as intended, but it has serious shortcomings with the UK-English language. For instance, the lack of user-definable single consonants precludes its use with trademarks such as Network Q. Also, there’s no undo facility. As Short Words does not work on individual paragraphs, it’s important to be able to see what has changed.

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