The words can strike terror into the heart of any QuarkXPress user: “This printed piece looks great. Why don’t you just stick it up on our Web site?” Ah, if only it were that easy. But contrary to what
people think, you can’t just upload a QuarkXPress document to the Web. (Well, technically you can, but no one would be able to view it.)
First, you must convert the file to some other format (such as HTML) suitable for Web viewing. Second, you must keep in mind that the Web page you’re looking at in your favorite browser will rarely look exactly the same in someone else’s browser.
These two problemsthe need to wrench your QuarkXPress documents into Web-compatible formats and the general inconsistency among Web browsersmay be enough to quell your desire to repurpose any QuarkXPress file, but they probably won’t change your boss’s mind. So, in the spirit of compromise and peace in the workplace, I offer these tips.
There are basically four ways to get a QuarkXPress document onto the Web: convert it to HTML, rasterize it into a picture, save it as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, or use it to build a QuarkImmedia multimedia project. None is a perfect solution; choose the one that best fits your particular audience and needs.
While HTML is certainly the most popular foundation for Web pages, its limitations can frustrate creative designers. For example, HTML cannot reproduce all the complex formatting QuarkXPress allows. Kerning, tracking, justified columns, Bézier-shaped boxes and clipping pathsnone of these are available in HTML. Each iteration of HTML has become more powerful, however. For instance, version 4.X Web browsers understand commands to overlap text and graphics. But browsers based on earlier HTML versions will not be able to display such attributes.
Still, if you want to export your QuarkXPress document to HTML, there are several options. QuarkXPress 4 alone cannot export HTML, but the addition of one or more XTensions will allow you to prepare QuarkXPress files for the Web.
HTML Text Export FIlter
This free XTension from Quark (800/676-4575,
) lets you export text (and only text) in HTML format. It’s very basicit assigns only font size, font name, and text colorbut if you need to get a story from QuarkXPress to a Web authoring program, it’s fine.
This $299 XTension from Extensis (800/796-9798,
) is probably the most popular and powerful XTension for exporting HTML from QuarkXPress (see “Exporting HTML with BeyondPress”). Its Conversion mode lets you mine your document for the text and graphics you want to export. The result is a linear flow of information. Authoring mode creates HTML that tries to reproduce your page geometry, either with complex tables or Dynamic HTML (DHTML) tags. BeyondPress even lets you author Web pages directly in QuarkXPress and also liven up your site by including dynamic media such as animated GIFs and QuickTime movies.
WebQuarkXPressXT, a $189 XTension from Gluon (888/458-6698,
), is a very good intermediate step between Quark’s free export filter and the higher-end tools. If your primary job doesn’t involve converting documents all day long, take a look at this option.
Another choice for occasional document conversions is Myrmidon, a $69 product from Terry Morse Software (
). It acts like a printer driver and works not only with QuarkXPress but also with most Macintosh programs. When you print your document, the software converts it to the nearest HTML equivalent.
In general, no matter how you convert your QuarkXPress documents to HTML, the results may not be exactly what you envisioned. Plan on tweaking the files in another program, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, BareBones BBEdit, or Adobe GoLive.
One of the main problems with HTML is its difficulty with fonts. The XTensions mentioned above let you specify which fonts to use, but unless your audience has those fonts installed on their machines (or unless their Web browsers support certain font standards), the typefaces those people see on their screens won’t be the ones you had in mind.
If your QuarkXPress document has a lot of cool type, you can make sure your Web page maintains that look, by exporting the file as a graphic (see “Master the Raster”). You’ll need a program that contains a PostScript RIP, such as Adobe Photoshop ($654; 800/833-6687,
) or TechPool’s Transverter Pro ($395; 800/925-6998,
), to convert XPress’s vector graphics to bitmapped images.
Exporting Acrobat PDF
Adobe’s Acrobat PDF format was designed to display print files on anyone’s screeneven the screens of those who don’t have the proper fontsso it should be a perfect solution for repurposing QuarkXPress documents for the Web. But there are always trade-offs. While PDF is similar to PostScript and can therefore simulate almost anything you can create in QuarkXPress, PDF file sizes are usually slightly larger than corresponding HTML documents, so they take slightly longer to download.
To display PDF documents within a Web browser, your audience needs both the Acrobat Reader software and the appropriate browser plug-in (both come standard on most new computers). Without the plug-in, people can still download the PDF files to their hard drives and view the files with Acrobat Readerand this may be a better solution, as the plug-in is notoriously buggy.
You’ve got three options for exporting your QuarkXPress documents to PDF format; all of them require Adobe Acrobat ($249). The simplest method is to print the QuarkXPress file to disk as PostScript and then process it with Acrobat Distiller. You can streamline the procedure slightly: select the AdobePS printer driver in the Chooser and then print a PDF file directly to disk (select Printer in the QuarkXPress Print dialog box to tell the program where to save the file). This method still requires Acrobat Distiller, but it runs automatically.
If you want interactive features in your PDF file (such as bookmarks or hyperlinks), use one of the following XTensions to write the PostScript to disk before distilling it. Quark’s free PDF Filter, available on the company’s Web site, automates the process of building PDF files from QuarkXPress documents (see “Quark’s PDF Filter”). And Techno-Design’s PDF Design XT ($345;
) offers additional features that can merge multiple documents into a single PDF, insert additional hyperlinks, and so on.
Building with QuarkImmedia
Finally, there’s QuarkImmedia, Quark’s own XTension for building interactive multimedia projects directly within QuarkXPress. (See “”QuarkImmedia on the Web Frontier”,”
, July 1998.) While Quark has reduced the price of Immedia dramatically, to $249, it’s clear that the company has tabled further development of this powerful XTension.
Like PDF files, Immedia files have two downsides for Web publishing: they require the Immedia Viewer (free from Quark’s Web site), and Immedia documents can easily become too large to transmit well across phone lines. However, if you forgo QuickTime movies, large sound files, and other data-intensive items, your files should play trouble-free.
Quark’s Future on the Web
Like many companies, Quark was slow to realize the importance of the Internet. However, in the past year, the company has announced and demonstrated several products that make clear its rapid progress. For example, Quark has announced support for the Macromedia Flash standard. While details are sketchy, with luck you’ll be able to export QuarkXPress pages in Flash format before long.
Quark will also soon release three Web programs (code-named Troika) that will export information from QuarkXPress documents in XML format, build templates for DHTML generation, and interact with XML databases to generate these dynamic pages. Finally, QuarkXPress 5 will be able to import and export HTML and PDF files (even without Acrobat Distiller).
In the meantime, these XTensions and other tools help make some of those “unreasonable” repurposing requests less of a compromise.
DAVID BLATNER (
) is the author of
The QuarkXPress 4 Book
(Peachpit Press, 1998) and
The Joy of Pi
(Walker and Company, 1997).
Master the Raster
QuarkXPress has great tools for handling type, so I often use it to create logos, graphics, and text for my Web pages. The key is to export your Quark-XPress file as a graphic that you can incorporate into a Web page. Here’s how to do it.
Save your QuarkXPress page as an EPS file. (Choose Save Page As EPS from the File menu.)
Open the EPS file in Adobe Photoshop. Versions 4 and later can rasterize most EPS files (translate them into bitmapped images). A word of warning: TrueType text and QuarkXPress’s blends often don’t work.
Save the file in Photoshop as either a GIF or JPEG file, depending on your needs. (See “”Photoshop Discovers the Web”,” October 1999.)
Place this graphic in your Web page. You can use transparency or similar colors to make the graphic blend into the Web page.
Exporting HTML with BeyondPress
So you’ve decided to take the HTML route to the Web. One of the best ways to convert your QuarkXPress file to HTML is with Extensis’s popular BeyondPress XTension. It gives you several methods for converting documents and even lets you author Web pages right in QuarkXPress. Here’s how to get started.
In Conversion mode, BeyondPress exports text and graphics into a linear flow that you can import into another Web authoring tool.
BeyondPress converted the text box in the lower left of Figure 1 (
) into a GIF image in Figure 2 to retain its look.
Using Authoring mode, you can re-create the look-and-feel of a page. BeyondPress creates HTML that tries to reproduce your page geometry, with either complex tables or DHTML tags. It’s not a perfect system, though: HTML doesn’t recognize drop caps and other special formatting.
Quark’s PDF Filter
After Quark was accused of ignoring the PDF needs of the desk-top publishing market, it responded by releasing a free XTension that automates the process of building PDF files from QuarkXPress documents. (You can download the XTension from
http://www.quark.com.) This filter also lets you
PDF filesbut they import as graphics and are not editable. Here’s an example of how to use the filter.
Select Export As PDF from the Utilities menu, and choose the pages or spreads you want to export.
When you click on Preferences, you can control various aspects of the job, including whether lists and indexes are converted to PDF bookmarks or hyperlinks.
You can always override Acrobat Distiller’s job options if you have specific font-embedding and image-compression needs for your document. You can even control separation features such as registration marks and bleed by selecting the Output tab of this dialog box.
When you click on Save, QuarkXPress automatically writes the PostScript to disk, launches Acrobat Distiller (yes, you still need Distiller to build PDF files), and converts the PostScript to PDF format.
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