Using Quark Xpress Libraries

What is a library?

All book lovers know that libraries are places where their favorite, most useful items can be found.

A library in a Quark Xpress document is the same thing — it’s a great storage device for the elements of a page that you use all the time. Many people, when using Quark to lay out a number of similar pages, such as for a newsletter or newspaper, will find that there are similar items that repeat themselves page after page.

These items can be something as simple as a photobox to a complicated table layout. Once you’ve created a page element, you don’t necessarily want to recreate that element over and over again, every time you need it. It’s not only time-consuming, but your pages will lack continuity.

True, you can copy and paste the page elements. However, once you learn to use libraries, you’ll never go back to that again.

Create a library

You can create a library any time you begin using a Quark document, and you can add to your library.

All you need to do is once you have your document open, go under File (up in the left corner). A drop-down window will come down. Go under New, and then in the sub menu, pick Library.

A window will come up asking you to name your library. I find it easy to name the library after the project on which I’m working. For example, if you’re creating a class reunion newsletter, name the library "reunion." Then save the library onto your desktop or anywhere you can easily find it.

The library you just created will be open as a tool box with your Quark document. It will look like a small box that you can position anywhere on your page. You can also click on the borders to expand the library box.

How to use your library

Begin laying out your page. Once you get an element finished that you think you will use again, group that element into one item. Click on the four-arrow key in the tool bar, and then onto your grouped item, and drag that item over into your library window.

It will automatically save on there, in precisely the dimensions you’ve just made, even if it does look tiny.

You can then drag that item out for use on any other page. Go ahead and give it a try, and you’ll see that that item pulls right back out, dimensions, type style and all perfectly saved.

Maintaining your library

if you’re like me, you’ll be a pack rat when it comes to your library. Everything you create, you’ll think you are a genius and you’ll use it again and again. Chances are, though, you may not use half of what you store away.

That’s easy to take care of. Go to your library window, and click once to highlight the item you want to get rid of, and then hit your keyboard’s delete key. Agree that you want to delete the item, and click yes.

You can also name each item in your library. Click on the item twice, and a window will come up that allows you to give the item a name. I find this particularly useful when I’m doing a publication with a lot of advertisements. If you name your library’s entries, you can go into the library window, click a pull down window at the top, and choose just the item you want — and that one will be the only item that shows. This way, you’ll be sure to get the item you want, every time.

Problems with libraries

While I’ve found that libraries are a great tool, there can be some problems too.

If you’ve uploaded an element with art and then moved the art to another place on your computer, it will show up as missing art, even though the photo is there.

Additionally, I’ve found that libraries that are kept on your computer for long periods of time can develop faults that will make your Quark document crash. It’s best that if it’s library for a project you use a great deal, to update the elements in it periodically.

Enjoy your new tool

This tool will help you far more than you know right now, and when you show someone else how to use it, they’ll be amazed at how much easier Quark has become. I’m constantly amazed by the number of college graduates who were not shown this very simple element when they were learning the program.