Sunday, September 12, 2010

The “Marks” of QuarkXPress 7

I’m using QuarkXPress 7 for quite some time and would like to share some of my ideas on those “marks” that we usually see when we print our Quark files. A typical print screen dialogue box in QuarkXPress 7 is shown below.

Print As dialogue box
QuarkXPress 7’s print layout dialogue box.

If we’re not particular on the print output of our Quark file, we wouldn’t bother checking out the settings that we see in our Print Layout dialogue box. But finding out what these marks are will help us become a little more professional in using the print features of QuarkXPress 7, especially if we plan to create a PDF file to pass on to a service bureau.

The Marks
What do the green, blue and gray colors represent? What are those lines and circles that look like crosshairs?

Under the Device dialogue box you can set an output paper size for your Quark document. I have a document page layout the size of an A4 paper (8.3 in. by 11.7 in., note that page layout size is also called trim size). I’ve set it to print on a Tabloid size paper (11 in. by 17 in.), and the position set to center. The screenshot shows that the blue lines represent the actual page layout (trim) size. The green lines represent the “imageable area” or, safe to say, the paper or sheet size.

Device dialogue box
Device dialogue box

Under the Marks dialogue box, we can set up registration marks (crosshairs) and crop marks (corner lines). QuarkXPress offers a setting to manipulate the width and length of the registration and crop mark lines, but I believe it is not that essential since it won’t be part of the visible printed area anyway.

Marks dialogue box

Finally, the Bleed dialogue box controls the area of the bleed (well just as the name implies, duh). It shows as a gray area in the print preview. Usually, bleed marks are set by most printers to be 0.125 in. on all sides (symmetric). But it is best to communicate with your printer what bleed setting they prefer. It’s best practice to set bleed area everytime we add registration and crop marks. Bleed also helps in avoiding any unwanted white space that may occur during printing (more on this later on).

Bleed dialogue box
Bleed dialogue box

I was mystified at first as to how QuarkXPress displays its bleed, crop and registration marks. But a little bit of tinkering around proved worthwhile.

Hope this article helps anyone.