DTP QUESTIONS & ANSWERS



There's been plenty of questions this month, so it's time for a round up of questions and answers.



PUBLISH DIRECTORIES USING QUARKXPRESS


Q. I wish to publish directories using QuarkXPress, where database information is imported in a tagged ASCII format so that certain fields can be bold faced. Is there a Quark XTension that would allow certain fields of a database to be stylized in a particular fashion or is this something where XPress Tags come into play? Thanks Stephen

A. Hello Stephen, there's several ways to do this. You could use Em-Software's XData QuarkXPress XTension to modify and style basic text exported from a database, or, create the codes in the database so the database exports the text already styled using Quark Tags format, or, use a text editor with good search and replace routines to look for fields and insert the appropriate tag coding.

It really comes down to whether you have access to modify the database, and can include the required Tags code in it, or whether you're just handed basic delimited text from the database and have no option to add the codes.

If you can create/edit the database to suit, then just use fixed fields in the database to include tag codes to surround the text fields that need formatting etc.

If you are just handed text from the database, and there's no way you can get it to include the tags coding, then XData is the way to go - it'll take that basic text and you can set up which fields are styled to suit etc.

Also, you could use the basic text in a text editor with search and replace options - search for particular fields and insert the appropriate Tags code etc. (i.e. say the text is tab delimited and the 4th field needs en-bolding: search for 4 consecutive tabs then insert the tag code for bold etc.)

If you can, try to do it all in the database - that way you're only dealing with one link in the chain. If you cannot edit the database, then look out for Em-Software's XData or a good text editor. I use Microsoft Word for this and it's Visual Basic and macro programming options are great for this kind of thing, it's very powerful for creating your own routines to automatically style and Quark Tag text.



UPGRADE RAM OR UPGRADE CHIP?


Q. I work with Photoshop & Illustrator on a PC: Cyrix P150, with 32 Mb Ram and I am considering upgrading either the chip to Intel 166 MMX or the RAM up to 64 MB. Any opinions on which way I should go - unfortunately right now I cannot afford both! Fred.

A. Hello Fred, I'd go for the RAM upgrade. I'm not sure about the pricing where you are in the US, but here in the UK, the RAM would be far cheaper than the chip upgrade, and I'd say you'd get more return in performance for the money by going for the RAM.

Leave the processor upgrades till later, then you could go for a Pentium II or whatever is out there at the time and miss out the current generation of chips rather than incrementing to a 166. (Upgrade processors in great leaps/generations rather than increments.) That extra RAM will always come in useful - you can use it with whatever chips you upgrade too in the future. Processors come and go, but RAM lives for ever!

Finally, I'd say that for Photoshop, the P150 with 64 Mb will give better performance than the 166 with 32 Mb. Photoshop loves as much RAM as it can get, and the more you have, the less disk file swapping it'll do (whole images in RAM, rather than in segments with bits on the hard drive and only parts in RAM.)



"QUARK PASTEBOARD XT IS NOT PRESENT" ERROR


Q. I've received a QuarkXPress document that needs including in our publication, but I cannot open it because whenever I try, Quark gives a error of "Quark PasteBoard XT is not present", then quits opening the document. Is there anything I can do? Christopher.

A. Hello Christopher, early versions of the PasteBoard Xtension had a 'required status'. If you created and saved a document using the PasteBoard Xtension, you also needed the same XTension to open the document too and this led to the problem you described. There is an answer though - later versions of the XTension removed this 'required status' and you no longer needed it to open documents created using it.

Visit the Markzware web site, and from there you can download various PasteBoard updates (removes the 'Required XTension' status) and PasteBoard XTerminators (opens documents without the actual PasteBoard XTension) - available in both Windows & Mac versions.

For the home page try: http://www.Markzware.com

For the PasteBoard updates & XTerminators download page try: http://www.Markzware.com/products/upgrades.html

From there, you'll be able to download the version you need, to be able to open the troublesome file.



4 COLOUR PROCESS (CMYK) JOB TO OUTPUT TO AN IMAGESETTER


Q. I have a 4 colour process (CMYK) job to output to an imagesetter. Since this is the first time doing process colour separation, could you advise me which is the best resolution (DPI) setting to use. The imagesetter is capable of doing 1200, 1800, 2400 and 3000 dpi. Thanks John.

A. Hello John, the 2400 DPI would suit most screens right up to 150 or 175 LPI. If you work with higher screens, then using the 3000 DPI may give more shades available. There's a formula to calculate the maximum number of shades a device can produce, and it works out like this:

(device resolution / halftone screen) squared + 1
So with a 150 LPI screen on the 2400 setting you'd get: 2400/150 = 16 then 16 squared = 256 then + 1 = 257 shades. This would give 257 shades, which is more than the maximum 255 PostScript can output anyway! If you ever need to run 200 LPI screens or higher, that's when the 3000 dpi setting would be most useful - for lower screens the 2400 is ideal.



QUARK LIBRARY OF TIFF IMAGES


Q. A client gave me a Quark Library of TIFF images, EPS images & text blocks. Is there a trick to accessing the art and text in Freehand? So far I have been unsuccessful with either cut, paste or 'Save As'. I could produce the piece in Quark but would rather use Freehand! Julie.

A. Hello Julie, those Quark libraries might not be all they seem! When you got the Quark Library, did the client also include the actual final TIFF's & EPS's, or just a single Quark library file?

The images in the library itself are only the low resolution 'screen preview' images Quark uses on-screen for placement purposes etc. These are linked to the original higher resolution files used for printing. Therefore, if you've only a single library file, all the images within it will be the 'screen previews' only - you still need the separate original versions to print with (unless the print resolution required can be low - on Mac these images would be 72DPI, on PC 96DPI and both either 256 colour or 24 bit colour).

This is because the original images are not embedded within the library file, they are only linked to it, and only the low resolution preview that is created is embedded within the library.

To check this, open the Library in Quark, and in a new document, drag in several of the TIFF's from the library. Then use Quark's Utilities 'Picture Usage' to check whether the pictures are available or not. If you've only the single library file, the chances are that the original high resolution pictures will be listed as missing - with only the low resolution previews displaying on screen. If that's the case, then the client would have to supply all the separate files along with the library file too, and if they supply those separate TIFF's, EPS's, etc then they would import into Freehand in the usual way.

If you only need those low resolution 'screen preview' versions for placement purposes only in Freehand (to replace them with the high resolution versions later) there is a work around that would allow you to get the previews into Freehand.

Drag all the Library items into a new blank Quark document. Select a picture with Quark's 'Contents Tool' (rather than the 'Item Tool'), then copy to the clipboard. Switch over to Photoshop, create new blank document (should automatically be the same size as the item on the clipboard), then paste in the image from Quark. Save as regular TIFF and that's it.

If the Library is for Quark on Mac, then there is a trick where you can convert the Library to a Quark document page. You have to change the file type/creator codes to that of a Quark document, rather than a Library, and when you open it you get a large single page of all the items in the library. This would save having to drag in each Library image onto the new doc (though you'd still have to copy and paste into Photoshop.)

Thanks again for all the feedback, questions and comments. Feel free to send any DTP related questions or any comments to the email address below and I'll see what I can do!

I'd like to wish all readers a Very Happy Christmas, and Best Wishes for 1998! Have a great holiday time, and until next month Very Merry Christmas and Happy DTP'ing! Best regards, Andy.

CONTACT: andrew.davidson@onxy.octacon.co.uk



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