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Moving to InDesign: Top Ten Gotchas for QuarkXPress Users

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If you’re a hard-core QuarkXPress user without a strong Illustrator background, you should probably prepare yourself for three days of a sore head (from banging it on the nearest wall). That’s how long it seems to take for XPress users to get over their XPress bias, figure out how InDesign does it, and come to the conclusion that, wow, Adobe actually did it right. In the meantime, here are ten solutions to the most common “gotchas” you’ll encounter.

We’re asked this question all the time: “How long will it take for me to learn InDesign?” The answer, of course, is “It depends.” If you’re an Adobe Illustrator user, for instance, you’ll probably pick up InDesign quickly because so much of InDesign’s interface is based on its older sibling. But if you’re a hard-core QuarkXPress user without a strong Illustrator background, you should probably prepare yourself for three days of a sore head (from banging it on the nearest wall). That’s how long it seems to take for XPress users to get over their XPress bias, figure out how InDesign does it, and come to the conclusion that, wow, Adobe actually did it right.

But in the meantime, we recommend taking the pain reliever of your choice and reading the following ten solutions to the most common “gotchas” you’ll encounter.

“Where are the Item and Content tools?”

InDesign replaces QuarkXPress’s Item and Content tools with three tools: the Selection tool, the Direct Selection tool, and the Type tool. These three tools offer more control, but they also take much more getting used to. For example, the Selection tool (the black arrow) is almost identical to the Item tool in XPress, but if you double-click with it on a text frame, InDesign automatically switches to the Type tool and places the cursor where you clicked.

The Direct Select tool (the white arrow) acts sort of like the Content tool when it comes to images (you use it to move an image inside a frame), but it also edits the shape of frames, just like in Illustrator. The Type tool not only lets you type and edit text, but you can even use it to drag out a text frame!

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