Things I love about designing in InDesign that I couldn’t do in Quark

Quark vs InDesignI was thinking this was going to be a short post but the ideas just keep on coming. Maybe a little unfair, I’m comparing InDesign CS2 with Quark 6.5, but anyway!

X and Y You can choose where your x and y measurements for page objects are taken in the Control bar – top left, top centre, top right, middle left, middle centre, middle right, bottom left, bottom centre or bottom right. With Quark it’s top left – and that’s it!

Duplicate spread You can add a new spread or page exactly the same as another one, in Quark you must add a page and then copy the elements.

Fill frame proportionately (Command (Ctrl for PCs) Option Shift -C) Get a picture to fit into a box without the edges showing. After this go center content (Command (Ctrl for PCs) Shift -E) and you’re just about there with most photos!

Interactive PDFs Put buttons on a master page to go to next page, previous page and contents/home page. InDesign has the ability to add numerous other interactive options to PDFs that Quark doesn’t. More about this here.

Print ready high resolution PDFs Export direct from InDesign, don’t even think about exporting them from Quark for final artwork – you have to print a PostScript file and distill it. More about this here.

Constrain proportions You have the choice to constrain proportions of boxes in the control palette by clicking on the chain/broken chain icon, you can’t constrain proportions in Quark’s measurements palette. This is so handy!

Change case Everything in caps and you want it in lower case? Can’t be bothered to capitalise words? It’s a time-saver.

Overprint preview Ever set white-out text to overprint? I have. Wish I didn’t!

Data merge Order fields from a spreadsheet direct to your document.

I haven’t even talked about drop shadows, object styles or transparencies – let alone importing AIs and PSDs.

On the other hand I still prefer the way Quark handles type and I haven’t found reliable quick keys for editing point size, leading, tracking and baseline shift in InDesign. I’m also still getting to grips with the way InDesign handles hyphenation and justification.

Did this help you? If so, please share!

Download my 2 free e-books and 2 free MP3s on running an online business & getting clients

Plus a list of my 12 favorite resources for online business

two free books and two free mp3s and a list of favorite online tools


  1. says

    Whish do you use the most? I must admit I have only tried Indesign a few times. A company I occassionally work for has it rather than Quark and I didn’t like it at all, but I guess that is because I have been using Quark for years. One thing I relly didn’t like about Indesign was the way it handles images in picture boxes, I didn’t like seeing the picture and the picture box, but maybe I could have change that if I knew the program better?

  2. says

    Hi Tara, I would say I prefer Quark for handling body copy but InDesign for everything else. The more I use it the more I like it.

    I wrote a post for Quark users using InDesign for the first time.

    I know what you mean about picture boxes but now I really like it. It’s great to be able to see the whole picture when you’re cropping. Think of the Selection Tool as the Quark Item Tool (blue box) and the Direct Selection Tool as the Quark Content Tool (brown box). Fill frame proportionately (Command (Ctrl for PCs) Option Shift -C) really is a boon!

    Anyway, don’t give up on InDesign.

  3. says

    Hi Rob,

    In the past I used Quark, and nothing else, mainly because of the company I was working for. I admit I was reluctant to switch to InDesign, thinking that it’d take too long to pick up and that I can create everything I need using Quark.

    Looking back, I should’ve switched sooner. The user-friendliness is so much greater in InDesign, and I only use Quark if a particular printer requests it.

    Tara, I’d highly recommend it.

  4. says

    I used QuarkXpress to InDesign a few years ago and would have done it sooner had I not been concerned with how well things would import/export between them. Let’s just say I haven’t looked back.

    • says

      Hello John Medy, I’m working 99% of the time on InDesign now but I have a project for redesigning a magazine for which I have to use Quark. Quark 7 & 8 were a big improvement on what went before and I do like the key stroke short cuts for increasing/decreasing font size, leading, tracking/kerning and baseline shift which InDesign doesn’t give you (or I haven’t found it yet, if it does!)