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Navigation: Appendices > QuarkXPress > Formatting

Xpress Tags Formatting in QuarkXPress

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Xpress Tag Formatting (aka. xtags) is an extremely powerful formatting language that can be used to format an entire textbox's text and paragraphs, or to simply format part of a textbox's contents.


Quark has published updated versions of the Xpress Tags documentation, for both QuarkXPress 2019 and 2020. You can find these documents in your C:\Qpp\Help\ folder.


Over the years, this language has shown that it can describe, in plain text, all the possible attributes of text used inside QuarkXPress.


There are 3 parts to any tag formatting string:



Style Sheets Definitions

Text Description


Any section which must have elements separated by a line (such as the header and individual style sheet definitions) must be separated by a hard return character (ASCII 13). Additionally any value which can be specified in decimal form must use a period as decimal separator, regardless of the workstation's Windows settings.




Xtags are used in the text resulting actions of a macro and to describe the combined 23/30 and 24/31 characters used in 5-week minicalendars (these links provide detailed examples of the use of Xtags).


Using the File menu and the Save Text menu item, you can save the contents of a QuarkXPress file/page/textbox to an *.xtg file.

Using the Get Text menu item you can use that *.xtg file to re-create the exact same elements to another file or within the same file.


Although Xtags can apply to any objects in QuarkXPress and to entire pages, in Q++Studio we mainly use the Xtags from a text selection to replace another text selection. The following example shows the contents of an .xtg file obtained from using the Save Text menu to save selected text to an .xtg file (which is a simple text file).





@Normal=[S"","Normal","Normal"]<*L*h"Standard"*kn0*kt0*ra0*rb0*d0*p(0,0,0,0,0,0,g,"U.S. English")>

@$:<B>bold <BI>italic<B> <c"Red">color <$>plain <c$>no color


The first line, <v13.00><e9>, is the Xtags version engine (13.00 corresponds to QuarkXPress 2017 and 14.00 to QuarkXPress 2018, for example). We usually recommend that you always save your XTG files using the lowest version of QuarkXPress installed on your computer, to make sure that your XTG files are compatible with any of the other versions of QuarkXPress used by other users (and technical support).


The 2 following lines that start with @Normal= specify how the normal style sheet of the current QuarkXPress file is defined. Usually you should remove these lines so that any reference to the Normal style sheet use the style sheets of the destination file, and not those of the original file from which the text Xtags were extracted.


The line starting with @$: contains the really interesting bits. Attributes are added and removed by inserting a code, such as <B>, in the text sequence before individual text elements. To restore the value of an attribute to the default used in the current paragraph, use the $ marker, as in <c$> to revert to the default color.


Usually, before using the contents of an .XTG file in Q++Studio, you would remove the lines that start with @Normal= leaving only the version number and actual text to insert (see the links to examples at the beginning of this topic).


Topic 178005, last updated on 09-Aug-2023