Character Attributes Tags

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Character Attributes Tags

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Most charcater attributes described below can be combined within another in angle braces. For example, the two tag formatting strings below are equivalent:






The QuarkXPress xtags import engine is capable of accepting both styles, and mixtures thereof. However, for maximum legibility, we recommend that the tag formatting that you write should contain only one attribute per angled braces pair.


Face Attributes


These tags consist of a single character which toggles the current state of the various character style or "face" attributes: <P> <B> <I> <O> <S> <U> <W> </> <K> <H> <+> <–> <V> <$>. The tag code characters have the following meanings:



plain text






all capitals




small capitals













word underline


use current style sheet's character style



The <P> tag operates somewhat differently than the others in that it sets the character style to plain text rather than toggling any settings.


Character Size and Font Tags


The z and f tags set the type size and font, respectively:


<z Size>




The z tag sets the point size to the specified size (minimum 2 pt; maximum 720 pt). The f tag sets the font to FontName.


Character Color and Shade Tags


The c and s tags control character color and shade, respectively:




<c C>


<s Shade>


The c tag sets the current text color to the specified document color name. Its second form takes a single letter C as a quick abbreviation for common colors. It must be one of: K (black), C (cyan), M (magenta), Y (yellow), and W (white). The s tag sets the shade of the current text color: its parameter shade specifies the percentage desired (minimum 0% (no color); maximum 100% (full color); default 0%).


Character Scaling, Kerning, and Tracking Tags


The tags to control character scaling, kerning and tracking are:


<h hscale>        <y vscale>


<k kern>        <t track>


The h tag sets the horizontal text scale percentage to scale (minimum 25%; maximum 400%; default 100%), and the y tag similarly sets the vertical text scale percentage (same limits and default). Note that the two scaling tags above are mutually exclusive (you can only scale type in one direction).


The k tag sets the kerning between the following character and its right neighbor to kern 1¤200ths of an em (minimum: -500; maximum: 500). A negative value for kern brings letters closer together (kerns in), and a positive value kerns out (pushes letters farther apart).


The t tag sets the tracking to track1¤200ths of an em (minima and maxima are the same as for kerning). A negative value for track sets tighter tracking, and a positive value sets looser tracking.


Character Baseline Shift Tags


The tag that controls character baseline shift is:


<b shift>


The b tag sets the current baseline shift to shift points. A positive parameter value moves text above the current baseline, and a negative value moves it below the current baseline. The largest allowed baseline shift in either direction (negative or positive) is three times the current text point size.


Insert Special Character Tags


The \ tag is used to place special characters into formatted text:




The Special parameter can take on many values:


<\n>Line break ("soft return")
<\d>Discretionary return
<\m>Em dash
<\!m>Non-breaking em dash
<\i>Indent here
<\t>Right indent tab (a regular tab character; use <\#9> to insert a normal tab character)
<\s>Standard space
<\!s>Non-breaking space
<\f>Figure (en, half-em) space
<\!f>Non-breaking figure space
<\p>Punctuation space
<\!p>Non-breaking punctuation space
<\q>Quarter-em (flexible) space
<\!q>Non-breaking quarter-em (flexible) space
<\h>Discretionary hyphen
<\!h>Non-breaking discretionary hyphen
<\2>Previous text box page number
<\3>Current text box page number
<\4>Next text box page number
<\c>New column
<\b>New box
<\@>Literal at sign (@)
<\<>Literal left angle bracket (<)
<\>>Literal right angle bracket (>)
<\\>Literal backslash (\)
<\#num>The specified ASCII character, where num is a decimal value. The most common cases are <\#13> paragraph end, and <\#9> tab, which don't have more mnemonic special tags. Other common cases include the decimal value for various extended ASCII characters (such as daggers, quotes, degrees signs, ...).


Note that many special characters have a non-breaking version that can be specified if the backslash is followed by an exclamation point (!).

Topic 177990 updated on 20-Feb-2019.
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