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  Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks For QuarkXPress™ - Part Four

Tip No. 17

You may find yourself in a situation where you or your company changes printers or service bureaus and they will only accept QuarkXPress files. Trouble is, you've been using Microsoft® Word® or Publisher or Adobe® PageMaker® or CorelDRAW®, Deneba Canvas™, Macromedia® FreeHand® or some other layout program. Worse yet, you've got to edit and reprint some old layouts and they don't exist in QuarkXPress format. What do you do?

As a temporary solution, you can quick-port the layout as a PDF from the other application, then load the layout into a picture box in QuarkXPress and you're all set. You collect for output and include the PDF with the QuarkXPress document file like you would any other image:

There are a few drawbacks to this, though. Let me explain. One, the quality of the output from Quark™ will only be as good as the quality of the PDF. With so many applications able to write PDF files, you have to be sure the PDF will output as expected. You can use Adobe Acrobat®Distiller® to create the PDF file. If you create the PDF using Distiller, it will be a clean file because Adobe is the source of PDF and Distiller makes reliable PDF files.

Another drawback with this technique is that the layout is uneditable. This technique is not intended as a cure-all. It is intended to use in a pinch. If you need to make changes then edit the layout in the source application and create new PDF files to place into QuarkXPress. You also can port bits and pieces of the layout as individual PDF files and make changes as new objects around them in Quark.

There are a number of ways to make a PDF from the source application. In Microsoft Publisher you can export the layout as a PostScript file. This uses the Windows® PostScript driver (PSCRIPT.DRV). This will create a .PS or .PRN file on your drive. You can drag and drop this file into Distiller and it will create a PDF file.

Some applications such as CorelDRAW, Deneba Canvas and Macromedia FreeHand allow the saving or exporting of PDF files directly. Try any or all of these methods to get the desired result. You may have to do a lot of hit-and-miss tests, but once you figure out a reliable work flow you can repeat the process over and over.

In any event, you should always print out laser proofs on a PostScript® laser printer from the QuarkXPress application. If the job is to be in color then printout color separations on the laser printer. Count the number of plates. If it is a four-color job then there must be four (and only four) plates printed. Also check to make sure all the fonts render properly and everything appears as it is supposed to. If you find that errors are occurring, there is a good chance that they stem from the output settings of the the source application. Test this by printing directly from the source files in the application that was used to create them. Once you've ironed that out, create new PDF files with the new settings then place these new ones into the Quark picture boxes. Proof these on the laser printer just to make sure.

In short, do everything you would normally do before press time. Get a match print or color key and check the color...whatever.

Ultimately you will need to create your layouts in Quark. If your old layouts are in PageMaker format, there is a file conversion utility available from MarkzWare called PM2Q which would probably work better.

More later...


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