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Creating Visual Text in QuarkXPress

written by: •edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/27/2009

An overlooked feature in QuarkXPress allows users to add visual impact to headline text without much effort.

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    Flashy and gimmicky visual effects have never been the forte of QuarkXPress.

    The program is a robust, professional level page layout program that gives users precise typographical control and that creates files that generally can be sent to a film house or offset printer without fear of major errors in the stage where an electronic file gets converted into film or printed material.

    Thus, the irony is that in the old days (which in desktop publishing is ten to fifteen years ago), when it came to flashy visual effects like Bezier curves and applying special effects to type, low end programs boasted features that a high-end (and high-cost) software application like QuarkXPress did not offer. As often as Quark users tried to point out that their program resulted in professional level documents that printed problem free (usually), low-end users would point out that they could do all sorts of great things with type that a Quark user had to go into Adobe Illustrator to duplicate.

    That changed in version 4.0. A host of special effects were added to Quark. One of those allowed Quark users to fill type with visual effects.

    To this day, this feature is unknown to some Quark users. And while a few high end designers might turn up their noses at the ability to add actual clouds to the word ‘Sky’ in a headline, a Quark user never knows when the ability to do this might come in handy.

    To fill text with pictures, you need to follow these easy steps.

    First, you need to select the text you want to apply this effect on and highlight it. Keep in mind that the text has to be on a single line ... if you try this with more than one line of text, Quark will warn you that this can’t be done.

    Step two is to go into the Style menu in QuarkXPress and select the ‘Text to Box’ option. By doing so, the highlighted text is turned into linked picture boxes... any changes you make (like applying a frame or adding a picture) are made to all the resulting text shaped picture boxes at the same time.

    Step three is to bring in the visual that you want to fill the text boxes with. You do this the same way you would for any picture box (which is, in effect, what your outlined type has become). You go into the File menu and select ‘Get Picture’, and then select a photo or a graphic. The photo is applied to all the selected text that has been converted into boxes, and you now have a headline with some added visual punch.