October 29, 2017

How to anchor images and tables in runaround text in QuarkXpress 2016

Until Adobe chose to lure its clients to use their subscription model for its programs, I used InDesign CC for desktop publications. Anchoring images and tables was no problem whatsoever. Anchoring objects is a way to make sure that the objects in runaround text move with the related paragraph when before that paragraph text is inserted, edited (resulting in different text length) or removed. In QuarkXpress 2016 achieving this is a different ball game. The Quark forums weren't very helpful (to say the least) to get this done properly and when looking on the Internet one finds out that many (newbie) users like myself struggle to get this problem solved.

Usually you see fuzzy answers, like cut the image after selecting it with the Item Tool, then switch to the Text Tool, place the cursor where you want to insert the image or table to be inserted and paste the object there. This does not work. I don't understand why this type of advice is given over and again, because the people providing such advice must have an unresolved problem themselves or they never use this function themselves in their documents. But if you have this issue, I'm sure you will run into many instances of flawed tips when searching for an answer on the web, until you're sick of it. At least that is what happened to me.

What is wrong with this advice? The wrap option ceases to work, doing the above when the image is narrower than the width of the text that you want to wrap around it. The text is visible though the image when it has a transparent background because the image is placed on top of the text, while an opaque image simply hides the text that runs below it as if no wrap around image was inserted. Even when the selected image, according to the Measurements Palette, has the text running around the Item, the text continues to run below the image. So, these standard 'solutions' that are abundant on the Internet, will not help you one bit to get rid of this problem, which should be a basic function of any DTP program.

What does actually work then? In the image above this paragraph, the image and table (indicated by the red arrows) are both anchored in a full page width text area that actually does runs around them. When you add, remove or edit text before them, they will automatically move with the text to which they are anchored. How is this done? The answer is quite elaborate, but it pays off to read it all. It took me a week to figure this out and I did not find the solution in the QuarkXpress forums and in Youtube. QuarkXpress should have noticed many users were unable to properly anchor images on their forum, simply because I noticed it and I'm sure many others did as well. Instead in their official Youtube channel they keep posting 8 minute challenges that do not really help anyone, because they do not address fundamental problems users are having.

How to properly anchor images and tables in runaround text
Use Callout Anchors. InDesign users may find this a strange name. In various Youtube clips I found that in demonstrations, the image was either placed outside the text area or it covered the entire width of a column. This isn't helpful if you wish to place your image inside text that fills the width of you page minus the margins, while your image is narrower than the text. I became confused with this since I initially thought that it only worked for images outside of a text area, because this is how images are continuously anchored in their 'tutorials'. None of the videos mention that it also works when placing images inside a text. I find this strange, since many QuarkXpress users have run into this problem, bearing in mind the number of (unanswered) questions with regard to this matter that I encountered. Such apathetic conduct is not going to help QuarkXpress win the willie waving contest of the DTP-programs. Or worse: it may kill the program as a result of persistent negligence. And we've all seen what Adobe does when it thinks it can exploit its monopoly position - rob their users blind.

If you wrestle with anchoring objects in text, place the image you want to use in the text where you want it to be. When you click the image and move the mouse cursor towards the Measurements Palette, below it several tabs will pop down (depending on where the palette is on your screen). Choose the Runaround tab and in the top left corner of the Measurements Palette, select Item. This causes the text to run around the Item, i.e. your image (or table). Below the image and table I placed a text box with a caption (the red type 'Fig. 001' and the 'Table 001'). Make these text boxes as wide as the image or table and select the runaround Item function for them as well. Place them near or against the image or table, so that no text slips between them. I centered these caption texts horizontally and vertically inside the text box and gave them a style. Create a new Character Style, not a Paragraph Style to do this.

Then Group the image or table and caption by selecting all images and text boxes that must be grouped, while pressing the Shift key and then pressing Control-G. I did this because I wanted the image and its caption and the table and its caption to be moved simultaneously inside the runaround text. Place the Text Tool near the image inside the text. I prefer to do it somewhere just above the image, because it makes the editing of the placing of the image easier as I will explain later. Then right click and choose Callout Anchor in the pop up and the Insert Callout Anchor in another pop up that pops out of the side of the pop up (sounds confusing, but this is how it works). A small blue square with a red frame around it appears in the spot where you clicked; this is the anchor.

Tables may require additional settings
Then right click on the image or table and select Callout Anchor again and then Associate with Callout Anchor. As a result a blue dotted line connects the anchor with your image or table. Now test if it works by inserting the cursor in the text above the image or table and hit Enter on the keyboard or remove at least one full line of text. You will notice that the image or table will now move with the changed amount of text. Long tables with many rows, by the way, can be defined to break - if they're not grouped with other objects - but you must define this before grouping them by right clicking on the table and selecting Table in the pop up menu and then Table Break... If you choose Height you can indicate of how many rows the Header and / or Footer consists, in order to prevent them to be separated on a different page from the rest of the table. If you still get ugly broken tables, fiddle around with the cell height to make the layout look good. This will cause tables to break properly if it spans more than one page.

If the image or table jumps to strange places on the page you can fine tune the exact location where you want it to be. This is done as follows: right click on the anchor that you placed in the text and choose Edit Callout Settings. You will notice that as you hover over the anchor, a white square appears; this means your cursor is in the right place and you can right click. When you clicked Edit Callout Settings the dialogue below appears:

In the upper part of this dialogue you can define the callout (your image or table) relative to the page, paragraph or anchor in the horizontal plane. Playing with the options, is my best advice - I did it to figure out how these things work. You'll get the hang of it soon enough and finding the proper procedure yourself makes you remember it better - the choices in the drop down menus do exactly what they mean. The Offset value is to be used to define how far the image or table is placed from the option you selected. For instance, if you wanted the image or table to be placed 10 mm to the right from the center of the page (if that is what you selected), fill in 10 mm. If you fill in -10 mm, it will be placed 10 mm to the left of the center of the page. Positive values will cause a box to be moved to the right, negative valuse will cause it to be moved to the left.

The values in the bottom part of the dialogue, allow you to determine the distance of the image or table, relative to the anchor you placed in the vertical plane. Again, explore the options; they explain themselves. You learn more from trial and experience than I can explain in this blog. Here you can also fill in an Offset value to fine tune the placing of you image or table below (or even above when entering negative values) from the anchor. Positive values will cause the box to be moved downward, negative values will cause it to be move upward. Should you run into trouble defining the values when the dialogue prevents you from clicking OK and you can only Cancel to close the dialogue, select the image or table by clicking on them and go to Item. Then choose Callout Styles and select Default. Then start all over again. Why this option isn't included in the Callout Settings dialogue box, riddles me. To work around this matter, open up the Callout Styles panel that you find under the Windows menu item, which allows you to set the style to default immediately.

If you have many images all of which have to be placed relative to the related paragraph in the same manner, create a new Style in the Callout Styles panel, which will allow you to copy horizontal and vertical values to each of the instances without you having to type them in over and again. Just click the bold +-sign in the top left of the panel and configure the values once and apply them often.

The definition of callout values will NOT show until after completing the definition, a left mouse button click outside of the page area is done. The callout only then will jump to the position that was defined by the values you have just entered in the dialogue box .... QuarkXpress isn't always good at refreshing the screen. I have an excellent graphic card and 16 GB RAM, which is powerful enough to work with demanding 3D programs, but QuarkXpress doesn't refresh well after editing the Callout Settings. To work around this problem, scroll the page off the screen and then back in the screen where you can see the callout - it then will be visible according to your editing.

I prefer the on-the-fly approach InDesign offers to get these things done, but the absurd amount of money Adobe asks for the use of its programs, made me accept the learning curve QuarkXpress forced me to overcome. Adobe had a 44 % increase in revenues since the introduction of the subscription model. Guess who is paying for that? You! The user. So in spite of the headaches QuarkXpress (and their lack of proper support) gives me, I will continue to explore it and save myself a bucket of money.


Other tips - Change Zoom Increments
Another major annoyance that I encountered when working with QuarkXpress, is that the Zoom Increments are ridiculously big. When turning the scroll wheel (definable in Preferences), depending on the direction in which you turn the wheel, the image on the screen immediately becomes humongous or very tiny or disappears from the screen all together. To solve this, double click on the Zoom tool in the Tool Box while pressing the Control Key, causing the dialogue as shown below to pop up.

Click on the Zoom icon, indicated by the top red arrow and then click the Modify button, indicated by the lower red arrow. An other dialogue pops up, in which you can change the increments. I set it to 2 mm, which makes the program work a whole lot better. QuarkXpress is very good at hiding functions, while not placing others in the menus, forcing users to use poorly documented short-cut keys.

Adding page numbers
An other hidden shortcut key combination that is often used in Master pages is the adding of page numbers. Draw a text box, place the cursor in the box and press Control-3 to insert a page number. You could also type 'Page' and a space and then use the shortcut key combination. I can't remember having this many pains in the butt when I was in the process of getting familiar with InDesign, but making laborious efforts to figure out these things in QuarkXpress anyway, also reflects how much I am disgusted by Adobe's subscription plunder model. The fact that they get away with such crooked policies in too many cases, says a thing or two about their allegedly smart user base as well. There are alternatives, but one needs to sweat to get things to work properly, because the mods on the Quark forums persistently ignore questions that scream for answers. 

Place Master page objects on a separate layer
When you're done creating Master pages, lock that layer after making sure it is all the way to the back and create a new layer in which text, images and tables etc. are placed. This prevents you from involuntarily creating inconsistent object placing in the wrong layer which can be very confusing. Changes to the Master page(s) can be made afterwards nevertheless.

Selecting objects beneath other objects
If you need to edit an object that is below an other one, click that object and then click again while pressing Control-Alt-Shift, which will select the object below the one on top. Clicking again while pressing the key combination will select objects still lower in the Z-axis. This way you can avoid moving and repositioning objects when you need to select objects below others. Quite useful.

Switching between Master pages and Layout pages
When in the process of adjusting Master pages (before you've finished editing them), switching between them is very handy. The shortcut is not shown in the Page menu, but the shortcut you can use, is Shift-F4. It can speed up your work a lot. Note: Always have Dynamic Guides under the View drop down in the menu bar turned on; when drawing text boxes or image rectangles the cursor will snap to them, signalling that you're in the right spot by displaying red lines and measurements. This is important for working consistently.

How to Create an Automatic Text Box in Existing Layouts
If you forgot to select automated linking of text boxes while creating a new document or if you discover that automatically linked text boxes may come in handy while you are busy making the lay-out for a book (because your assigner keeps adding, deleting or modifying text while you are creating the book he wants, for instance), do the following:

In the Page Layout palette, drag a page icon (facing or non-facing) into the Master Pages region of the palette. It will be named B-Master B by default.

  1. Double-click on the new B-master B Master Page to display it in the layout window
  2. Create a text box that matches the point of origin and height/width you want for the Automatic Text Box
  3. Select the Linking tool in the Tools palette
  4. Click on the Unlinked Chain icon located in the top left corner of your B-Master B master page and then click on your text box. If your Master Page is a Facing Pages Master Page do the same thing for the other facing page of the master page

Note: This procedure will work for any master page, including your existing A-Master A master page.

Switching Views
Pressing F7 toggles between a view in which the Guides are shown or hidden. Control-Alt-Shift-I (capital i) shows the Authoring View - The view in which guides and margins are visible. Control-Alt-Shift-G shows the Output View - The view of the bare product without bleed zones, margins and guides. F7 works in both Authoring View and Output View.

Fading a photo in QuarkXpress 2016
You could of course edit photos in a bitmap editor, but to some extent this is possible in QuarkXpress as well. Place a rectangle over the image and with the Colour Blends panel (to be found under the Windows drop down in the menu bar) fade the rectangle  that you have to give the background colour fading into transparency or an other colour. This looks as if the photo fades into the background colour of the page.

Fit picture in box maintaining aspect ratio
Especially when having to fit large size images in a box pressing Control-Alt-Shift-F is useful. Sometimes images are so big that they fall outside the screen reserved for a page, which means resizing the image also requires moving it to get to the handles. The shortcut does this job in a blink of the eye and the image's aspect ration is preserved.

Table of Contents with dotted Fill character
When you're done creating your document, books in particular, you may want to create a Table of Contents. First create a list. Go to Edit and then to Lists....  You will then see this dialogue pop up:

Click on New to create a List indicated by the red arrow. After clicking the following dialogue will pop up:

First give it a name as indicated by the red arrow with the number 1, in this case called TOC. In this document all Header 1 Styles will appear in the TOC. Then select a Style from the list by clicking on it, indicated by the red arrow with the number 2. Once you have selected the Style click on the big black arrow in the dialogue, indicated by the red arrow with number 3, to add the Style to the Styles in List part of the dialogue. Next click on the downward pointing arrow to the right of the Numbering header after which a pop down will show, indicated by the red arrow with number 4. Select the Text ...Page# option by clicking on it. Leave the Alphabetical box unchecked if you want the TOC to reflect the order as in the sequence of the book. Finally click on the OK button. After doing this go to the Windows in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Then to Lists which will make the Lists panel open, which looks like the image shown below, but before generating the TOC, place your cursor in the document where you want the TOC to appear:

Then find the List in the List Name drop down list. Then click on the Build button. In the place in the document where you placed your cursor the TOC will appear. Press Control-A to select the entire TOC listing. Then go to the Measurements Palette and click on Tabs tab, indicated by the red arrow with number 1. The tabs indication bar will now appear right above the TOC list as shown in the image below:

Then type in the fill character in the Fill field, indicated by the red arrow with the number 2, which usually is a dot. Finally drag the Right tab onto the tab indicator bar above the newly generated TOC in the document. The Tab indicator bar looks like this:

If you exactly followed the steps described above, a TOC will be generated that looks similar to this in your document:

You really have to drag the tab into the tab indicator bar above the text of the TOC, or the fill characters will NOT appear. I first thought I could cause the fill characters to be shown afterwards by filling in the dot and then hit Enter, but this does not work. I also noticed other users were confused by this and that no issue related support was provided by QuarkXpress' helpdesk moderators or by fellow users for that matter. This also may be a sign that many have given up on finding answers in the forums, which would really be a bad thing.

Another remark that may be important for the lay-out of books in particular, is that the TOC text box was not linked to other text boxes other then text boxes necessary to accommodate your entire TOC (i.e. if you have more than one page of items in the TOC). It does not mess up the TOC's indication of your page numbering, but you may have to click the Update and Build buttons in the Lists panel if you created the TOC after completing the entire lay-out of your book and you placed the TOC before the actual contents of the book.

TOC hyperlinks
A final word to make sure the links in the TOC work. When exporting the Lay-out to pdf, make sure you click the Options button in near the bottom of the dialogue, indicated by the red arrow with the number 1. Then an other dialogue window will pop up, as indicated with the red arrow with the number 2. Select the Hyperlinks in the left column of that box and select and select all instances under the Include Hyperlinks option as indicated by the red arrow with the number 3. Click the OK button and proceed the exporting process. Also make sure you selected Include Blank Pages, if that is what you want, because by default does not export blank pages to pdf.

Crashing of QuarkXpress and Auto-Save
I've noticed crashing of QuarkXpress twice when copying text and an anchored image to a different place in the document and while inserting and configuring callout nodes. The program goes in to Not Responding mode and never comes out of it, while your machines CPU fan goes berserk, indicating the machine is confused and working hard. DTP-ers should be aware of this and probably set the Auto-Save to a reasonably small period of time. I set it to 5 minutes and configured the Auto-Save to place data in a specific folder so that I can always find it, in case QuarkXpress doesn't. Auto-saving doesn't take much time, so it's wise to configure and apply this function. If QuarkXpress crashes it will save data up to the point of the last Auto-Save and make this known in a dialogue that pops up immediately after restarting. The Auto-Save works properly, but be aware of the copying and callout-nodes editing that can crash the program. This is a serious problem that QuarkXpress should urgently address.

The export function works well, but the fact that it does not allow to export a range of pages instead of the entire document, is annoying. One would think a program that has been present in the DTP-market for such a long time, would offer this functionality, but QuarkXpress 2016 doesn't.

Download samples
To see this simple test document in which all functions described above were applied, you can click the link below to see and / or download it:

Best viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader
with pages side-by-side selected
to get an impression of a book

These are the shortcuts and functions I have found to be useful so far, while trying to compose a nice looking and properly editable document. If I run into more things that are useful, I will update this blog entry.

Why bother to write all this?
When hesitantly entering the DTP area I started out with QuarkXpress. Sentimental reasons? Sure. Back then (the beginning of the 90's of the previous century) it lead the pack. But already then, failing to understand the market demand, allowed InDesign to catch up and overtake. The QuarkXpress lead vanished into thin air within a few years and people started to switch to InDesign in increasing numbers. I feel this could have been prevented, had the QuarkXpress leadership had an understanding of the market and a vision of how to use that understanding to at least keep up with the big bad Adobe wolf. The loyalty of users is the foundation on which the existence of programs depends; if companies neglect that, they are basically putting their head in a noose. User loyalty is gained by a sound development (upgrade) strategy, but also on effective service, which mainly relies on well moderated forums and empathic support staff (which pays itself back!). I really regret to see that QuarkXpress seems to underestimate these aspects, while other contenders dash towards a greater user base and profits and leave the once undisputed boss of the DTP-market behind. I guess such things happen all the time, but at least put up a proper fight, QuarkXpress.

Update March 16 2021
I have recently joined a Facebook group for QuarkXpress users and I am astonished by the number of complaints of users. They have to do with bugs, imposed updates that often cause more problems than they resolve, while forcing users to pay for them and - I find the following to be most worrying - the poor support from the people at Quark (the few who actually do try to help their users excluded). It is really sad to see how a program that has shown much potential for decades, to be mismanaged in a way that risks plunging it into oblivion. I can't imagine how the Quark leadership allows such a thing to happen and would lament it if yet an other (once) serious contender of InDesign would drop out of the race. In the Facebook group I see many users pulling out their hair in frustration about the program's dysfunctionality, unreasonable charging of additional fees and lack of adequate support, which are symptoms a good company should always try to avoid at all cost. If angry long time users begin to recommend other programs, such as the flourishing Affinity Publisher (which is what I currently use), then you know something is terribly wrong and it will not take a lot for Quark's fate to take a turn for the worst.