Paul Diamond Blow's Huggy Talk
Tips, tricks, and advice for graphic designers.

How to Open Quark Xpress Files with Adobe Indesign
Need to Convert a Quark Xpress File to Adobe Indesign? Here's How to Do It.

by Paul Ace Diamond "Huggy" Blow

If you are a graphic designer or production artist who works with Adobe Indesign as your main page layout program, you may occasionally be given Quark files to work on from clients which you may want to convert to Indesign. At my own graphic arts job (where I do page layout for a book publisher) we have been using Adobe Indesign as our page layout program for the last four years. Prior to that we used Quark Xpress for all our books. Occasionally I will be asked to convert an old Quark Xpress layout file to an Indesign layout file. Adobe Indesign can open Quark Xpress files, but it can only open Quark Xpress version 4 files. Thus, it is necessary to downsave your Quark files to version 4 before you can open them in Indesign and you will need to have Quark version 5 to do this..

Here are the steps for converting a Quark Xpress file to an Indesign file:

1) Downsave to Quark version 4: Since Adobe Indesign can only open Quark 4 files, you first must downsave your Quark file to a version 4 file. This is a pain in the butt since each version of Quark (5, 6, and 7) can only downsave to the previous version, not all the way to version 4)

If your original Quark file is a version 7 file,you must first "export layout as projects" and choose "version 6" in the popup box, then you can open the file in Quark 6... (note: you must have Quark 6 upgraded to Quark 6.52 to open this file)

From Quark 6, open the file and "save as" with "version 5", then the file can be opened with Quark 5.

From Quark 5, open the file and again "save as" with "version 4"... now your file can be opened by Adobe Indesign.

2) Make sure all links are linked: If you attempt to open a Quark 4 file with Indesign and get the message "This document contains one or more broken links to external images" do NOT proceed to open the file. If you do, all the image files placed in the file that Indesign sees as "missing" will be scaled differently than they were scaled in the Quark file. To make sure all the images are linked to the Quark file, put all the linked image files in a folder named "pictures" and place the Quark 4 file in the same folder. Then proceed to open the file with Indesign...

3) Open the file with Indesign: Now it is safe to open the Quark 4 file with Indesign. Once the file has fully opened in Indesign simply save the new Indesign file. Indesign does a pretty good job opening Quark 4 files, but there are a few things to watch for once the file has been converted...

4) Things to watch for: More often than not, Indesign will flow any text in the file a bit differently than it was flowed in the Quark file, so you should take a close look at all the text in the layout to make sure it is still good and make adjustments as necessary. If any text in the Quark file has been applied a "bold" or "italic" format Indesign may see that text as being in a missing font, since Indesign has no "italic" or 'bold" text features. To fix this, you must change the formatted text to the proper "bold" or "italic" version of the actual font. (You can do this easily with Indesign's "replace font" feature.) Also, if you have applied a spot color to any images in the Quark file, once opened in Indesign the spot colors may or may not be changed to the color "black." You should definitely give your converted file a very close inspection to make sure there are no such problems.

There you go -- all the steps necessary for opening a Quark Xpress layout file with Adobe Indesign. Happy converting!

Author Paul Diamond Blow works as a production artist for a major book publisher with over ten years experience in the field. He is a Photoshop wizard, an Indesign samuri, and a sweetheart of a guy..