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Differences between QuarkXPress and InDesign

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Text attributes which are not supported by InDesign (red) or are not supported by QuarkXPress (purple)

Text attributes which are not supported by InDesign (red) or are not supported by QuarkXPress (purple)

This topic presents an overview of the differences between the QuarkXPress and InDesign attributes and features available to use in Q++Studio.


Specific details, and case-by-case workarounds, when available, can be found in the native formatting topics for text attributes and paragraph attributes.


Only Available in QuarkXPress


Some text face attributes used in QuarkXPress are not available in InDesign, as shown, using red highlight, in the image on the right.


In the case of bold and italic, the possibility is there, but requires the selection of the corresponding font name, rather than clicking on bold/italic and letting QuarkXPress automatically substitute the appropriate font.


Text underline does exist in InDesign, but it is not a simple on/off attribute; it is achieved by the use of a character style definition.


Opacity is an object attribute in InDesign, meaning that it can only be applied to object, such as textboxes and line objects. It is not possible to specify the opacity of text or strokes in InDesign.


Additionally, the Indents option of the paragraph attribute rule above/below length does not exist in InDesign. Converting a QuarkXPress script to InDesign will often lead to warnings such as message 185255, which can be fixed by replacing the Indents option with Columns.


Only Available in InDesign


Some text face attributes used in InDesign are not available in QuarkXPress, such as skew and overprint.


Differences in Implementation


Some attributes exist in both QuarkXPress and InDesign but are implemented differently.




In QuarkXPress, leading is a paragraph attribute. But, in InDesign, by default, leading is a character attribute.


This means that in InDesign you can apply more than one leading value within the same paragraph. The largest leading value in a line of type determines the leading for that line. However, you can select a preferences option so that leading applies to the entire paragraph, instead of to text within a paragraph. This setting, once set, only applies to newly created frames, and does not affect the leading in existing frames.


Background shading and framing of text


Shading and framing exist in both QuarkXPress and InDesign, but in QuarkXPress text shading and text framing are text attributes, while paragraph shading and paragraph borders are paragraph attributes in InDesign.


However, in InDesign, there is a very complete and powerful set of InDesign options that can be applied to the underline attribute, and which can be used to reproduce most of the effects of QuarkXPress text shading.


Text stroking


There are minor differences in the implementation of text stroking in QuarkXPress and InDesign.


Direction of textbox framing


Increasing the thickness of a textbox's frame has a different effect in QuarkXPress and InDesign.


In QuarkXPress, the frame thickness grows inward, meaning that increasing the thickness of a box frame will not change the size of that box.


However, in InDesign, the frame thickness grows outward, meaning that increasing the thickness of a box frame by 1 point, for example, will increase the size of that box by 1 point in all 4 directions (making the box 2 points taller and 2 points wider).


Anchored Boxes


In InDesign, it is possible to nest anchored boxes (a box anchored in another anchored box). This recursive use of anchored boxes is supported since September 2022.


XPress Tags


XPress tags, as their name indicates, are native to QuarkXPress.


There is a third-party solution from em-software, Xtags for InDesign, which allows for the manual use of XPress tags in InDesign. But, currently (May 2024), there are no plans for Q++Studio to include the automated processing of XPress tags in InDesign, using Xtags for InDesign.


Instead, as the main use of XPress tags is for 5 week minicalendars, for InDesign there is a new native formatting of 5-week minicalendars option which reproduces almost all the options previously used with XPress tags, in a much more user-friendly manner (and which also works with QuarkXPress).


Arabic support


As QuarkXPress does not support Arabic, Q++Studio uses a set of Xtensions to provide all the required features of Arabic (ligatures, flipping, kashidas, ...). This works extremely well for tokens and single-line text at run-time (during diary generation) but is cumbersome at design-time (when working in QuarkXPress manually).


InDesign can be installed with native support for Arabic and this works as well as the QuarkXPress solution at run-time, but works immensely better at design-time, in particular for multiline text.


Differences in Speed


Below are some tips on making InDesign generate diaries as quickly as possible.


Template Design


The following aspects of a template have been found to slow down diary generation a lot when using InDesign:


Rotated text boxes and/or rotated text.

Linked text boxes, in particular at the end of the diary (page number 100 and above).


The above should be avoided as much as possible.


Master Pages


As explained in more detail here, it is usually good practice for your InDesign GridTemplate's master pages to contain the page margins, as well as any fixed element of your template (lines, images, tables without tokens, textboxes without tokens, ...). This is particularly true for templates that are copied tens if not hundreds of time, such as main grids.


Placing all the non-modifiable elements of your main grid templates on master pages as described here, will speed-up the page-copying stage of diary generation and also create much smaller output files.


Generation Options for Optimal Speed


When using InDesign with Q++Studio, make sure that your diary generation options are set as shown on the right.


Note that the turn off deletion optimization also applies to QuarkXPress versions 2016-2024.


Additional Optimizations


When using InDesign, the page copying step of diary generation can sometimes get very long when generating diaries with over 150 pages and/or complex page structures (such as linked boxes and/or rotated textboxes).


To alleviate this issue, if some of your scripts take over 10-15 minutes to generate, then you can use the flush output file every x pages diary generation option:


For daily or weekly diary scripts containing over 150 pages, set the option to a value around 25, as shown on the image on the right.

For monthly or yearly calendar scripts, which may contain only only 10-20 pages, but which include multiple layers and objects, try to set the option to a value between 3 and 5.


Note that, when this option is set to its automatic default position, as shown on the right, Q++Studio tries to set an appropriate value for this option, roughly following the above guidelines. This default setting should be appropriate for most cases.


Finally, if the option shown on the right to fix kerning include single chars is turned on, then you can turn it off. If need be you can always include specific kerning via a macro or a sara.


Topic 185280, last updated on 28-Mar-2024