XTending your DTP options

Introduction

QuarkXPress XTensions that make what you see on-screen appear in print are always worth a second look. Two reviewed here fall into this category, while the third is a must-have for networks. All three are intended for use with QuarkXPress 4.03 or later. When collecting an XPress document, it’s essential that all files are included. Collect for Output Plus expands the capabilities of XPress's in-built function, by allowing you to collect fonts, as well as images, through XPress’s standard menu option. It provides an up-to-date alternative for the old Magpie XTension that was so popular with XPress 3. A default fonts folder can be set to look through the myriad of files on a hard disk, and it searches all mounted drives if any printer fonts are missing. Plus, all images can be collected to a custom folder, and screen fonts grouped into a single suitcase – though the latter may not be advisable if experiences with Magpie are anything to go by. Finally, a StuffIt archive can be created, but, you can’t make it self-extracting. Various image formats cause quirky problems at repro – JPEG, LZW-compressed TIFF, JPEG-encoded EPS, and the humble RGB file. The worst-case scenario is that these image types will print in greyscale. On the text side, nothing is more infuriating than getting to the bottom of an article’s final column and finding the punch line is missing. Text overflow problems are more common than you may think – most daily newspapers suffer from them. RGB/Overflow Alert handles both of these problems. On opening, closing, saving,printing or collecting a document, a dialogue box warns of RGB images or text overflows. A click on each item moves to the relevant page, and indicated images can be replaced without the XPress Usage dialogue box. The floating alert box can be left on-screen permanently, and, updates its contents as changes are made. Unfortunately, there are a couple of awkward quirks on the RGB-image side. Any images that are marked as missing in XPress Usage are shown up as RGB, rather than "not found". Mono-images also confuse the issue, with PICT or EPS files showing up as RGB, while the same file saved as a TIFF is fine. Smart networking
There are two ways of working with XPress files over networks. They can be copied from the server to a user’s remote machine, or opened directly from the server itself. The first method can lead to the same file being edited by different people, the second can lead to the uninformative ‘File In Use’ message. Also, it’s very frustrating to find that a placed image has been edited or resized in Photoshop, without the original being kept. Enter BorrowIt. Similar to Ferax Software’s CheckItOut XTension for XPress 3, BorrowIt copies a file from a networked server to a local scratch folder of your choice. Any work carried out on that file takes place on the local copy with the floating palette showing changes as they happen. On completion, the document is returned to the server as a temporary file, checked for integrity and then placed back in its original location, over-writing the previous document. If anyone tries to access a file while it’s being borrowed, a dialogue box flashes up, indicating who is using the document, on which machine and for how long. Additionally, all linked graphics can be locked, stopping any embarrasing mishaps. Anyone opening a locked graphic will be warned that it’s read-only, and will have to save the edited version under a different name. Disabling BorrowIt is done by holding down the option key when opening a file.
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