Styling text, creating drop cap and clipping image in QuarkXPress.

Posted in by Nazrul Islam . Filed in Graphics Design

Welcome back to our Magazine design with QuarkXPress series. This is third part and in this tutorial we’ll learn styling text, making drop cap,  paragraph formatting and clipping image. At the same time we’ll dig dipper into Quark’s measurement palate. A little brief about this series again. Before writing this series, I’ve also found thousand QuarkXPress tutorial with a common heading ‘QuarkXPress for beginner’. Most of them covers only basic part such as creating text box or image box. Unfortunately I didn’t find any suitable explanation what will a beginner do with these text/image box? Absolutely nothing! Many beginner leave QuarkXPress after creating some box. So I’ve decide to write this complete series, starts with basic task and step by step leads to a professional magazine production.

Now back to our lesson, in our last lesson we learn how to create text box. Let’s start styling text, for changing font, select text and press CMD+Option+Shift+M, Font family field will activated directly in measurement palate. If you already know font name then type first one or two letter, you’ll get your targeted font selected.


This method is faster then exploring all font menu by mouse click. Hit tab to go font size tab, and set font size as your wish. Heading font size doesn’t has any dedicated rule in magazine design just keep font size in a range for good looking, but I recommend to keep body font size smaller then baseline grid. Can’t find baseline grid? Hit Option/Alt+F7 to show/hide baseline grid.baseline-grid-set In a flat mock-up locking text with baseline grid will give more smooth user experience especially on multi column text. The main reason why I told to keep body font smaller then baseline grid.

Look at this example picture shown right. Body text are locked to base line grid and divided in two column. So now how to make column? If your font size field still activated in measurement palate hit Shift+Tab twice to back in column field just left position of Font field, type column amount as your requirement. At this point you might think ‘ Where I can click these tab and change these setting easily, why this guy bothering with shortcut? Trust me, you won’t have time to click mouse frequently  in a real production environment.

To set paragraph line height, Press CMD+Option+E to navigate paragraph tab, leading field will activated directly, put a suitable line height size or keep auto and hit tab to go indent field. Normally .15 is pretty enough for paragraph indentation. But remember to remove indentation from very first paragraph, otherwise mock-up will look odd. I’ve mentioned about locking text with grid, but didn’t show the process yet. Its on paragraph tab, click on lock button check box, Set page or text box  grid in the drop down right after the lock button and select baseline to keep text vertically center on grid.

Drop Cap: Many magazine designer starts lead story start with a drop cap. Its a easy way to highlighting content or attract readers attention to a particular story. Drop cap Quark Xpress To create a drop cap, click the drop cap check box marked A on paragraph tab. First field for character count and second one is line count. Maximum time we don’t need to create drop cap more then one character. Line count may vary two to five as your design suits best. For demonstration I’ve set character field to one and two line count. Once your drop cap created, you might need a little room to other character, Move cursor next to Drop cap and press CMD+SHIFT+} until you get perfect gap. CMD+SHIFT+{ will do the reverse. Drop cap sample output will shown in next picture along with clipping image.

Image clipping is most often mockup pattern in fashion type magazine. A beautiful cut out image surrounding text can give professional look rather then flat style mockup. Have a look at this mockup.

clipping image in quark xpress

A drop cap started with this story and a clipping image around the text. There are several ways to make clipping image like this sample. For this demonstration  I’ve used a TIFF image and make and save path with pen tool in Photoshop. Then clicked on Runaround tab in measurement palate (CMD+T) and select Embedded Path/Same as Clipping, You’ll get a clipping image according to path. Hit tab and set a standard distance to make a little room around path, I’ve used 30pt gap . Quark supports a range of image format including Photoshop PSD. Whatever you use make sure that image must be in CMYK colour mode and  DPI to 300 for best print output.

While working with multiple picture/text box, some time you’ll need to change selected box ordering to sent it front or back.  Click ITEM>SEND & Bring, and set item ordering or use F5 /Option+ F5 to faster arranging selected box order. Always set your clipping image ordering in front of text. We were talking about clipping image, runarround menu Quark XpressIf your image are in a white/transparent background you can set Auto Image/Non white in drop down without making path in photoshop. But most time Auto Image/ Non white area technic doesn’t output accurate same as manual clipping path.

By default all text box set to none and image got item attribute in Runaround  property. What does these mean? Let me explain, If you set your image to None in Runaround box, image will not override text. With your targeted clipping image sets to none, you can create a separate path around model with Quark’s Pen/Pencil tool,Clipping image with pen tool in QuarkXpress A additional picture box will created in front of your targeted clipping image and set the newly created picture box shape to item in Runaround tab.  Quark’s pen tool’s movement is similar to Photoshop pen tool. A sample pen tool shape clipping  shown in left picture. I’ve set main picture to none and pen tool shape to item in Runaround attribute for this image.

With this little cheat we can create quick clipping image without bothering Photoshop path, but make sure that your created shape doesn’t contain any background colour.  A little problem comes with this technic when resizing box often to fit text, If you face similar problem, group your path shape and main image with CMD+G or click ITEM>GROUP.  Yes you can make any item group, just select multiple item by SHIFT+Click then press CMD+G. CMD+U will ungroup any grouped item.

Thats enough for today. Keep practising these technic several times mentioned in this lesson. Play with clipping image, drop cap try to make professional look mockup. in this tutorial I’ve tried to explain some regular task like grouping/ungrouping object with in a practical Magazine mockup. If you face any difficulties, make yourself comfortable to commenting you problem.