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Creating PDFs from Quark Files

written by: •edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/28/2009

When it comes time to send a proof of the file you created in QuarkXPress to a client, being able to convert your layout to PDF format is essential. Here is how.

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    Quark to PDF

    QuarkXPress is a great program for creating page layouts. However, when it comes time to have a client proof a layout electronically, a Quark file is not such a great option, since the vast majority of non-graphic design businesses don’t have QuarkXPress loaded on their computers. This is when the ability to create a PDF (Acrobat Portable Document File) is essential.

    There are a few options available for creating PDFs from a Quark document.

    Prior to Quark 6.0, using Acrobat Distiller was the way to perform the task. To do so, you had to create a PostScript file in Quark, using the ‘Print’ command, and then bring it into Distiller to create a PDF.

    With the advent of Quark 6.0, a new option became available. You could now create a PDF file using the ‘Export’ command. To do this, you go into the File tab and select Export, and then select ‘Layout as PDF’. When the ‘Save as’ box opens after you have done this, you can click on the ‘Options’ button at the bottom of it and change various PDF settings.

    Why would you want to do so? One reason is the fact that Quark creates rather large PDF files, which are ideal for sending to a printer, but not so ideal for sending as proofs to a client. You can make the PDF smaller by going into the ‘Job Options’ section and altering the compression settings. Go into the settings for each format (color images, grayscale, monochrome) and select ‘downsample files’, and choose 72 dpi to create a PDF that is small enough not to clog up a client’s inbox, but with enough resolution to look good on screen. Just keep in mind that you should change these settings back to ‘no compression’ when you create a PDF for your printer.

    Another tab available in the ‘Option’ box is for ‘Output’, which features ‘Color Output’, ‘Registration’ and ‘Bleeds’. If you are sending the PDF to a printer, all these functions are important. Talk to your printer to get the values they require for the job.

    While the ‘Export’ command offers great flexibility when creating a PDF in Quark, many users have reported that the feature can be buggy, depending on which version of Quark you are running. If PDFs created using the ‘Export’ feature don’t turn out right (or at all), you have a second option available in later versions of Quark. This is to use the ‘Print’ function.

    To do so, go into the ‘File’ tab again and select ‘Print’. When the ‘Print Layout’ box pops up, go to the bottom of it and click on the ‘Printer’ button. A second box will appear, and again on the bottom (left hand side) you will see a button called ‘PDF’. Click on this, and select ‘Save as PDF’, and you will be able to create a PDF file. Unfortunately, using this option gives you far less control over the PDF settings than the Export command.