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InDesign for Quark Xpress Users

by Judy Baker

InDesign for Quark Xpress Users by David Blatner, Christopher Smith and Steve Werner is a must have reference for anyone who has been working with Quark Xpress and is moving to InDesign. These two page layout programs are comparable, but not equal.

The trio of authors includes David Blatner, one of the most respected and knowledgeable Photoshop and Quark Xpress experts. Christopher Smith has equally impressive credentials, and is a former employee of Quark. Steve Werner has real world experience with Quark and InDesign and is a trainer, consultant and production manager in the graphic arts industry. Putting these heads together resulted in a comprehensive, practical and valuable guide to InDesign, especially for those coming to the program from Quark Xpress. I would recommend this book to anyone new to InDesign because of its clear language and great tips.

Quark has been the leading page layout program for more than ten years. I remember my move to Quark from PageMaker. It took me about six months to regain and then exceed my proficiency in layout by using Quark. For the next 13 years, Quark was a trusted friend, despite the cantankerousness of their customer service, Quark remained the leader of the pack when it came to page layout.

I nearly cheered when Adobe announced they were introducing a new page layout program that would topple Quark. When InDesign first appeared on the design scene, I was curious. but skeptical that a move to InDesign would make sense for me. In the first release of the program, there were so many glitches, I stayed clear of it.

Then, the world changed with OS X. InDesign version 1.5 arrived and brought with it the professional production aspects that had been missing. I began testing InDesign as part of my workflow in 2001. I expected to continue using Quark as my main layout program, but within a few months I had switched over to InDesign for all of my production.

I make my living as a graphic designer. It is important to me to work with elegant, stable applications that produce printable files for high-resolution output devices. If an image setter cannot render my files, it doesn’t matter how wonderful they look on my monitor or when printed on my inkjet printer. Features that can’t image are of no value to me. Working smarter and efficiently is critical to my profitability and happiness.

I became an Adobe Certified Expert in InDesign in 2003. I studied with Cyndi Reese at SRJC. This book is so much more informative and easy to use than Adobe Classroom in a Book, and far more accurate too. It is well written and easy to navigate. It is not necessary to read it from cover to cover. It is more like a buffet of great information, allowing the reader to skip around and make a meal that fits their appetite.

This book tells an experienced Quark user what features and tools are similar in InDesign, what is different, better, less elegantly implemented, or in fact, missing. It helps a Quark person get up to speed fast, and really dives right into how to use InDesign effectively. They talk about how to optimize settings, the similarity of the tool palette in all of Adobe’s applications, how familiarity with Illustrator or Photoshop will help move you rapidly into working with InDesign. This is a book written by people who use the product for production. It is a guide to getting the most from InDesign and enhancing the experience of working with a world-class program.

If you are a Quark user, the biggest obstacle to moving to InDesign is your legacy files. I am here to say that 90 percent of the time, I have had no issues in moving a Quark document to InDesign. In fact, the improved typographical capabilities of the program have improved these files. File conversion is well covered in Appendix A. They tell you what to look out for and ways to avoid a lot of headaches by being sure you have updated your links in Quark before saving the file and opening it in InDesign.

They start off with the basics, explaining the tool palette, and user interface. The screen shots are clear and easy to understand. Chapters are short and packed with information. Whether you are new to page layout or a seasoned professional, InDesign for Quark Xpress Users is a must have for your library.