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Chapter 4. Building a Document > Building a New Document

Building a New Document

When you open QuarkXPress using the program defaults, you'll see a blank screen underneath the menu bar, with the Tool and Measurements palettes showing. To create a new document, choose New from the File submenu (or press Command-N). This brings up the New Document dialog box, shown in Figure 4-1. It is here that you determine a document's page dimensions, page margins, number of columns, the spacing between columns, and whether the pages are laid out facing each other.

Figure 4-1. The New Document dialog box

The New Document dialog box is the “Checkpoint Charlie” for entering the new-document zone (walls may crumble, but metaphors remain). Note that there is nothing in the New Document dialog box that locks you in; you can make changes to these settings at any time, even after you've worked on the document a lot.

Let's take a detailed look at each of items in this dialog box.

Page Size

When you make your pass through the New Document dialog box on the way to creating a document, you have the opportunity to determine the dimensions of its pages. The default setting—the one QuarkXPress chooses for you if you make no change to the settings in the dialog box—is a standard letter-size page: 8.5 by 11 inches (or A4 size in Quark Passport). You can choose from five preset sizes, or you can choose a custom-size page by typing in the values yourself—from 1 by 1 inch to 48 by 48 inches. Table 4-1 shows the measurements for each of the preset choices in three common measurement units.

Table 4-1. Preset page sizes
Name In inches In picas/points In millimeters
US Letter 8.5 by 11 51p by 66p 216 by 279.4
US Legal 8.5 by 14 51p by 84p 216 by 355.6
A4 Letter 8.27 by 11.69 49p7.3 by 70p1.9 210 by 297
B5 Letter 6.93 by 9.84 41p6.9 by 59p0.7 176 by 250
Tabloid 11 by 17 66p by 102p 279.4 by 431.8


Page Size Is Not Paper Size. Page Size in the New dialog box refers to the size of the pages you want as your finished output—it does not refer to the size of the paper going through your printer. These sizes may or may not be the same. In the Page Size area, type in the page dimensions of the actual piece you want to produce. For example, if you want to create a 7-by-9-inch book page, enter these values in the Width and Height fields, even if you're outputting to a laser printer capable of handling only letter-size pages.


Exceeding Maximum Page Size. The maximum page size in XPress is 48 by 48 inches. If you need to exceed it, though, it's easy enough to do; it only requires a little arithmetic. Figure out the ratio of your required size to XPress's maximum, create your document at 48 by 48 (or 48 by whatever), and then type your ratio in the Reduce or Enlarge field in the Setup tab of the Print dialog box. You'll also have to use the inverse of your ratio on your desired point sizes and all other measurements, since they'll be printing larger than you've specced them.

For example, suppose you need a page size of 72 by 30 inches. Set up your page for 48 by 20 inches, type “150” in the Reduce or Enlarge field in Page Setup, and spec all your measurements, point sizes, and so on as two-thirds of your final, desired measurements.

Margin Guides

The Margin Guides area allows you to specify the size of your margin on all four sides of a page: Top, Bottom, Left, and Right. When you work with facing pages (see below), Left and Right change to Inside and Outside. These margin guides can be used to define the column area. In the book-and-magazine trade, the column area is usually called the live area. It's the area within which the text and graphics usually sit (see Figure 4-2). Running heads, folios, and other repeating items sit outside the live area.

Figure 4-2. The Column, or “live” area

The term “live area” may be slightly misleading, however, because everything that's on a page gets printed, whether it's inside the margin guides or outside them—or even partially on the page and partially off it. Note that the margin guides are only that—guides. You can ignore them if you want. You should also note that these guides specify the size of the automatic text box (which I'll talk about later in this chapter).

There are some things about margin guides that make them unique. Although margin guides resemble ruler guides both in form and function, you cannot change the position of the margin guides by dragging them; you have to change them in the Master Guides dialog box (which is only available when a master page is showing). I look at making this kind of modification in “Making Pages,” later in this chapter.

Your document pages don't all have to have the same margin guides. But because margin guides are based on master pages, you have to create multiple master pages to have different margin guides. Once again, I defer discussion of this process until later in the chapter. For now, let's just concentrate on building one simple document.

By the way, note that these guides don't print. Nor do they limit what you can do on the page. They are simply part of the general infrastructure of the document, and are meant just to be guides. Not only can you change them at any time, but (as with the printed guides on blueline grid paper) you can disregard them entirely.

Column Guides

There's another kind of automatic guide you can place on a page: column guides. If you select a value larger than the one in the Columns field in the New Document dialog box, the area between the margin guides is divided into columns. For example, if you want a page that has three columns of text on it, you can specify a value of “3” (see Figure 4-3).

Figure 4-3. Column guides

Your next decision is the amount of gutter space. Sometimes people use the word “gutter” to refer to the inside page margin; this is different. In QuarkXPress, the gutter is the blank space between column guides.

Perhaps the best way to think about column guides is the concept of the page grid. Unfortunately, QuarkXPress can't create a true horizontal and vertical grid for your page. However, it can give you the tools to make one yourself. Column guides are the first part of that procedure: they allow you to place columns of space on a page. When Snap to Guides is selected from the View menu, items such as text boxes and lines “snap to” your column guides (see Chapter 2, QuarkXPress Basics).


Snap to Guides for Box Fitting. I often find it more helpful to draw separate text boxes for each column rather than to use one large text box separated into columns. If you have Snap to Guides turned on (on the View menu), you can quickly draw a text box that fills one column. This text box can be duplicated, then positioned in the next column, and so on, until each column is created.

Drawing multiple text boxes is also useful if you want each column to be a different width or height. When you're done making boxes, you can remove the column guides by using the Master Guides feature, or you can just leave them where they are.

Facing Pages

Although the Facing Pages feature is located in the Margins area of the New Document dialog box (and in the Document Setup dialog box), it deserves some special attention. At this stage in the game, you have two choices for your document: single-sided pages or facing pages.

Single-sided pages

Single-sided pages are what most people generate from desktop-publishing equipment: single-sided pieces of paper. For example, handbills, posters, letters, memos, or one-page forms are all single-sided. In QuarkXPress a normal, single-sided document looks like a series of pages, each positioned directly underneath the previous one (see Figure 4-4).

Figure 4-4. Single-sided pages

Facing pages

Whereas nonfacing pages are destined to be single, facing pages are always married to another page (well, almost always). For example, pick up a book. Open it in the middle. The left page (the verso) faces the right page (the recto). In some books (like the one you're looking at), the left and right pages are almost exactly the same. However, most book pages have a slightly larger inside margin (binding margin) than the outside margin (fore-edge margin). This is to offset the amount of the page “lost” in the binding.

QuarkXPress displays facing pages next to each other on the screen (see Figure 4-5). For example, when you move from page two to page three you must scroll “across” rather than “down.” Note that even page numbers always fall on the left; odd numbers always fall on the right.

Figure 4-5. Facing pages

If you check Facing Pages in the New Document dialog box, XPress sets up two master pages: a left and a right page. These can be almost completely different from each another (we'll see how soon).

Automatic Text Box

Here's a relatively easy choice: Do you want your first page and all subsequently added pages to have text boxes automatically placed on them? If so, turn on the Automatic Text Box option. This is clearly the way to go if you're working with documents such as books or flyers that are mostly text. However, if you're designing an advertisement with text and pictures placed all over the page, there's really no good reason to use the Automatic Text Box feature.

If you do check Automatic Text Box, the text box that QuarkXPress makes for you is set to the same number of columns and gutter size that you specified in the Column Guides area, and it fills the page out to the margin guides. I discuss the Automatic Text Box checkbox in detail in “Automatic Text Boxes,” later in this chapter.


Check That New Document Dialog Box. QuarkXPress remembers what you selected in the New Document dialog box for the last document, and gives you the same thing next time you start on a new document. This can be helpful or it can be a drag (especially when one of your colleagues creates a 3-by-5-inch document just before you start working on a tabloid-sized job). You'll hear me say this throughout the book: Verify each dialog box as you go. Don't just assume that you want every default setting. Pay attention to those details and you'll rarely go wrong.

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