DTP Questions & Answers, Part I

Hello again, this month (after last month's look at QuarkXPress 4.0), it's time to catch up with readers questions from the email link on the web site.


Q. I am creating a black and white booklet to print on a Docutech, using QuarkXPress for Windows (3.32). It will be printed on golden colored stock and I have a photo inside a frame. The trouble is, the stock colour shows through the pores of the lady's skin. I had eliminated the background around her previously so I filled this with white. That didn't work. Tried filling a frame behind photo with black to see what would happen but still colour shows in face. Is this solveable? Thanks Robert Auton

A. Hello Robert, this is interesting! What you might have to do is to edit the image in Photoshop so that no part of it is light (or white) enough to allow the golden colored stock to show through. The trouble with this though, is that making all areas of the photo dark enough to block out the golden stock, might make the image itself too dark.

You could try Photoshop's Levels dialogue box, and along the bottom of that, there is a "Output Levels" slider, with slider points; black level and white level. If you pull the 'white point' slider down, it'll make the maximum white in the image darker - so what could be 4% black could be pulled back to say 10% and block out the gold colour.

If you also have the info palette showing the actual colour in the image, you'll be able to see the before and after settings with the sliders. (So you can set the sliders and see in the info palette what areas of the image would be changed to.)

Taking this further, you could use the Curves dialogue box too. This would allow you to adjust just the 'whiteness' of just the level of the pores. If it's a black and white image, with the curves box open, click on the pores and the brightness level will be show on the curve graph as a circle. Then, click at that point on the curve graph and move the value to suit - you can either increase or decrease the level at that point - where you pull the graph down or up to increase the level depends upon the way the graph is set. (But you will see the image change if the preview option is on in the curves dialogue. Also, the info palette works the same too and will show the settings again.)

The idea being to increase the ink level in the lightest areas/reduce the whiteness in the pore areas to block out the gold stock. It's tricky, but see how it works out - getting it dark enough to block out the gold, but keeping the image good is the main problem.

You can also use the layers and threshold function in Photoshop to check where the areas of the image are lightest, and where the gold stock may show through as follows:

If you can, run some test prints onto similar stock, and find the minimum % black or level that stops the gold showing through. (In this example, let's say it's 12%). Open the image in Photoshop, and drag the 'Background' thumbnail in the layers palette onto the image itself, to make a copy of it on another layer.

Then with the new layer, use Image > Map > Threshold (CTRL + T). Now, on the 0 to 255 slider enter a value that equals the 12% needed;

So 12% of 255 = 30.6 Then 255-30.6 = 224.4 Round this down and enter 224 in the Threshold box. What happens is that any part of the image that is greater than 12% becomes black and any part of the image less than 12% becomes white. Then press OK and return to the normal screen - you'll now have two layers - the original image in the lower layer, the 'black and white threshold' image over the top in the upper layer.

Now, in the upper layer, there may be small white dots - or areas of dots, and this is where the image is less than 12% and where (in this example) the gold would show through. You can then zoom in to 1:1 zoom so that you can see all the dots, then hide the upper layer, and adjust the curves/levels or use the 'Dodge and Burn' tool, set to Burn and Highlight, with a soft brush - then burn out those high-lights individually.

The idea is that the upper 'threshold' layer acts as a guide to show where the whitest areas in the image are. In the TIFF you sent, there were a few tiny pixels that were 0% black - i.e. the full gold would show through - there's only a few, but I would never have found them just by looking at the image - only when I tried the threshold idea did they appear. (There's one in the left eye pupil, and a few over to the right in the hair.)

[Also, if you set threshold to 255, it'll show any 100% white areas in white only, anything else would be black]

Once you've lowered the maximum brightness in the image, so that, say, nothing is lighter than 12% you can copy the layer and run the Threshold trick again, to see that all the levels fall within the correct tonal range. (i.e. none should light up white!).

Thanks for the interesting question, and good luck with the image.


Q. I mainly work on PC's, but from time to time need to access Mac disks and files. Mac users can open PC disks, but is there any software for PC users to open and use Mac disks? Thanks Barbara.

A. Hello Barbara, TransMac95 from Acute Systems is wonderful for this, and I'd be lost without it! It allows you open, read from, write to and format Mac disks, and access Mac files.

The unregistered 'demo' version works fully with floppy discs, but is limited to files of less than 1.44Mb on all other drives. (CD's, SyQuests, Zips etc.) Once registered the file size restriction is removed - it then works with any files of any size on any disk format, and several other features are added too.

There's further info on their web site, from which the unregistered version can be downloaded too:

Acute Systems PO Box 37 Algonquin, IL 60102
WWW: http://www.asy.com
Email: info@asy.com
CompuServe 70461,2542

It also converts the right kind of files into the right format for PC or Mac; e.g. QuarkXPress documents from the Mac are automatically given the .QXD suffix they need on the PC. This also works in reverse to, it takes the suffix from PC files and uses that to copy the correct format for Mac.

You can also format Mac floppies on your PC too! I've done this and they open and act just like true Mac disks when working on Macs. It's then very easy to open them again on the PC using TransMac itself.

In all, it's worked perfectly, and gives PC users full access to Mac disks. I'd highly recommend trying it.


Q. I've been a Quark user for about six years on various Macintoshes. I'm helping a friend set up Quark on a PC (Win 3.x, Quark 3.32r5). I ran into a number of anomalies which I've listed below. I've not had much experience with Quark on Windows platforms and have tried most everything I can think of. On my friend's behalf, any assistance will be greatly appreciated. Gary Ivin.

Q1. Using Alt-click on Style Name in Styles Palette to apply "No Style"and then the required style did not work. It just applied the style but left local formatting, as if the Alt key wasn't pressed.

A1. Hello Gary, it looks like some of the keyboard-shortcuts differ from the Mac version to the PC. I mainly use QuarkXPress on PC and had thought the keyboard would generally be the same, but from this, it appears not...

On PC's, to apply a Style-Sheet and at the same time remove any 'local formatting' (like setting 'No Style' first), it's Shift + Click on the style name in the palette, rather than the Mac's Option + Click.

Q2. Certain F-Keys didn't call up the appropriate palette or function. i.e. F10 didn't reveal the Document Layout palette, but F7 *did* work to show/hide guides.

There might be a difference again there - on PC's the Document Palette is F4, Style Palette F11, Colours F12, Tools F8, Measurements F9 and so on etc. If you edit Quark for Windows quark.ini file, you can get Quark to show the 'F Key' numbers in the menus. Edit the file quark.ini (it'll open into Notepad) and in the [QuarkXPress] section add the line:


If that line is set to = 1 then the F key numbers appear in the menus etc (like the View menu etc), if set to = 0 the feature is turned off again.

Also, adding the line:


Will put the 'View' menu over to the right in the same position as on the Mac - with the setting set to = 0 or with the line removed, the View menu is over to the left, near the EDIT menu.

Q3. Fonts which claimed to be loaded in Adobe Type Manager (ATM) didn't show up in Quark's Font menus. (Adobe Stone Sans family: Roman and bold showed up, but italic and semi-bold did not, even though all were listed in ATM's active fonts window.)

This is another difference between Macs & PC's... Macs show all font names and weights in the actual font menu. So with a font, say Garamond, installed in plain, bold, italic, and bold-italic versions, on the Mac these would all show up in the actual font name menu. Not so on PC's! On PC all you would see in the font menu would be 'Garamond' and the bold, italic, or bold-italic would have to be selected by using the 'radio' style buttons on the measurements palette or via the character formatting in the style menus.

The trouble is that on PC's you have to set weights by the exact method you're recommended not to do on Macs! This way you can set an italic formatting for a font that has no italic weight installed - and the results would suffer when printed as the 'normal' font would be forced to print bold or italic etc.

There is a solution on PC though - set all fonts as required using the measurements style buttons, and use the free Quark XTension PS UTILS, available to download via http://www.quark.com - in the file library or XTension section.

This lists fonts used in the document, and shows the font files used to print. If the two font names/weights match you're OK - if not then the font will be forced to be bold, italic or whatever. Using PS UTILS allows you to fully check you have the actual weight of font installed.

(To check with the Adobe Stone Sans family: set some text with all the weights, using the style buttons if required. Then use PSUTILS PostScript font usage option, and it should list all the true font weights and files etc - so the italic is really the italic and so on.)

Good luck with the installation, and the changeover from Mac to PC Quark'ing!


Q. I have created a table in QuarkXPress using a series of 30 linked text boxes. I now need to break the text linking, so that each box is unlinked and self-contained. If I follow the unlinking procedure in the manual, I always lose the text when breaking the link between the text boxes is the text still there, but hidden? If I copy the text within the box, then break the link, I can paste the text back in. This leaves a small square box with a cross through it, just after the paragraph mark I don't know what it is, but I fear it will be the source of some mischief at some point!

Is there a clean way to break the links between text boxes without disturbing the text within the respective boxes? Thanks very much in advance! Rick Howard

A. Hello Rick, here's a work around to try; Select the text box that you wish to unlink and separate.

Use Item > Duplicate to duplicate the text box, and the duplicate will be unlinked, but will contain all the text starting at that box, continuing through to the last (so it'll probably show the box overflow icon - it's not linked though it contains the rest of the text).

Next, place the cursor at the end of the visible text, just before the small check box 'overflow icon', hold down Command / Option / Shift (or Control/ALT/Shift for PC's) and hit the down arrow. This selects all the text from the cursor to the end of the chain (i.e. all the hidden unwanted text). Then hit delete, and all the overflow text is gone - the 'overflow icon' should go too. Also works with the up arrows too - selecting text from previous boxes.

The result is an unlinked box with only the text that was in that box in the original linked chain. You can then delete the original linked box and/or it's text. If you need to do this with 30 boxes, it'll be best to delete all the originals together, once all the duplicates have been made.

The small box with the cross through it is the "text overflow" icon - and indicates there's too much text to fit into that box. Sometimes, it can just be the last carriage return after the last line. If you can, try to get rid of all overflows, using the Command/Option/Shift then delete idea above. If you can see all the text you want in a box, then it'll be OK to delete the rest.

If you leave this hidden text in, it can really add up over several pages, and the file sizes can rocket. If you duplicate a box at the start of a chain, and don't get rid of the overflow, it'll copy with it all the text from that point on. (With a 100 page document this really adds up! 100 + 99 + 89 + 88 and on and on...)

That's all for this month, feel free to contact me at the email address below, and please keep the questions and comments coming in. Until next month, happy printing & DTP'ing!

Best regards, Andy.
CONTACT: andrew.davidson@onyx.octacon.co.uk

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