Quark Xpress

Summary: How to transfer Quark Xpress files between Macintosh and PC. How to open in Quark text files transferred cross-platform.


After some problems when the Windows version (3.12) came out, immediately followed by the new Macintosh version (3.2), things are now settling down with the versions 3.3x and now 4.x.
Quark Xpress files are cross-platform compatibles if you pay attention to some facts, i.e. format of the included pictures, fonts and file names. You should consider some general DTP tips if you plan to regulary exchange DTP layouts.
Please note that you can't jump a version number when going cross-platform, i.e. opening version 3 Macintosh files in the Windows version 4 program is fine, but not in the Windows version 5 program.

Xpress and Included Files

Each time you're taking a QuarkXpress layout from a computer to another one (Mac to Mac or PC to PC), you have to check the links to the included files. By default, QuarkXpress will look in the same folder as the document file. Even you included pictures from another folder, you better put everything in a single folder when the document must move between computers. More than ever when you go cross-platform.

The Pasteboard Case

Users sometimes get difficulties with Macintosh Xtensions. One of the best known problems is the impossibility to open Xpress files when the file was created on a computer using PasteBoard. In this case, the Macintosh user has to upgrade its utility to version 1.4 or higher or use an utility to break the internal links (PasteBoard Exterminator). If you are not a faint of heart, there is a manual method to do that. Open the file in an hexadecimal editor and look for the string XQRQXTPB.Pasteboard XT or XTPB.Pasteboard XT. Replace all bytes with nulls. The file should thereafter open without problems.
A Pasteboard killer was released by MarkzWare. Download KillPB.exe for use with version 3.3x and KillPB40.exe for use with version 4. Those self-extracting archives produces an extension which should be installed in the subfolder named 'xtension'.
This utility also exists for the Macintosh. You can download it from Markzware Web site under the name of PasteboardXterminator.
MarkzWare Web site changes very often. If the direct downloading links don't work, please try again from the home page.

Xpress is Picky on File Extensions

If you want to import Xpress tag files or XYWrite 3 files, Xpress can only recognize them if they have a correct extension (i.e. .XTG and .XY3). See also below for the extensions that files must have to be recognized as Xpress files on the Macintosh. Please note that this is not necessary under Windows (just ask for all files and Xpress will happily open an Xpress file bearing any extension).

Importation by Xpress on the Macintosh

Comparatively, you get less problems opening Xpress files on the Macintosh. You should nevertheless know that the program is, let us say, shortsighted. That is, it only displays in the selection box the files which conform to what it expects. Even if you could think that the program should open any file to see whether it can do something out of it.
The program only wants to see files with the extension '.QXD' (documents/layouts) or '.QXT' (templates), or files with the correct Macintosh signature (XDOCXPR3 ou XTMPXPR3). All other combinations are ruled out.
The 'trick' also works for EPS files. That is, the program will list in the picture importing box files with the '.EPS' extension.

Xpress Passport Files

A file created in the Passport version of Quark Xpress must be saved in the single language version format if you want to be able to open them in the plain Xpress package. When saving, there is a Multiple languages or Single language option. The Single language option allows the file to be opened with a single language version of Xpress.

Fonts and Characters

There are also some problems with characters when cross-platforming: the best known are the Macintosh ligatures and the PC fractions.
When you open the file on the PC, you get following message:

This document contains a preference setting that enables Ligatures, which are not available in the Windows environment. The document may reflow. This setting will be set to off to prevent reflow if this document is taken back on the Macintosh (128).

You could in this case to ask the author (on the Macintosh) so set this preference off and check the reflow problem.

Remapping of Characters

When cross-platforming (in both directions), Xpress remaps correctly all characters when using fonts with the Adobe encoding. Some font companies use other encoding schemes, and problems wan arise in this case.

HTML Import/Export

HTML export features become useful nowadays, as some customers want to publish on the Web books or leaflets made with Xpress. There are several Xtensions to get HTML from Xpress files on the Mac (HexWeb, BeyondPress and CyperPress). We don't know of any solution on the Windows side for the time being, but HexMac (HexWeb) has announced one for real soon now.

PageMaker Import/Export

An Xtension called PM to QXD Conversion Tools (PM2Q) allows to convert PageMaker files to QuarkXpress. You must have both packages on the Macintosh. Markzware also have an import filter for PageMaker files. Both solutions only work on the Macintosh platform.

Export as TIFF Files

There is an Xtension allowing to save Xpress pages as TIFF files. The resulting file, where you can't make any corrections, can be mounted in any application.

Export as EPS Files

If you are using a Postscript device, you can save individual Xpress pages as EPS files. The resulting file, where you can't make any corrections, can be mounted in any application. You will have to manage the problem of preview pictures (see our page on EPS files).

File Origin Code

Opening a Quark Xpress file in a binary editor (or even in Write/NotePad without any conversion), you find an identification string at the beginning. This string is used by the program to know how to interpret the character coding. This string is "IIXPR3" for a file created on a computer running under MS-DOS ("I" meaning "Intel", and not "IBM" like in TIFF files) and "MMXPR3" for a file created on the Macintosh ("M" meaning "Motorola", and not "Macintosh", as you surely guessed).

Identifying the Character Set with a Tag

When you have to import in Xpress a text file containing accented letters, you can tell the program which character set to use to interpret the text. You have to put at the very beginning of the file following tag, followed by a CRLF:
<e0> for the Macintosh Ascii set,
<e1> for the ANSI (Windows) character set,
<e2> for the ASCII (MS-DOS) character set.
When importing the text, make sure you ckecked the check box about style sheets.

Importing RTF Files

Quark Xpress on the Mac doesn't have any support for RTF files (produced on the PC or on the Mac). The only practical solution is to open the RTF file in Word for the Macintosh and to save in Word Mac format.

Pierre Duhem (ex-Logiciels & Services Duhem)
3, rue Pierre Haret - F-75009 Paris (France) - Tel. (+33) [0]149 700 455
web: http://www.macdisk.com