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Layout aids

QuarkXPress provides a variety of visual aids that help with sizing and positioning items on pages. You can customize many of these aids in preferences and control which ones are showing. You might show all the layout aids while constructing a layout, then hide them all for fine-tuning.

Viewing layout aids

Choose options from the View menu (Figure 2.18) to control which layout aids display, including:

  • Guides: Choose View > Guides to display margin guides, ruler guides, and any guides you created through the Guides palette (Window menu).
  • Page grids: Choose View > Page Grids to display each page’s grid.
  • Text box grids: Choose View > Text Box Grids to display any grids applied to text boxes in the layout.
  • Rulers and ruler direction: Choose View > Rulers to display a horizontal ruler across the top of the project window along with a vertical ruler down the left side. By default, the ruler measures pages from left to right. The View > Ruler Direction submenu lets you choose Left-to-Right or Right-to-Left.
  • Invisibles: Choose View > Invisibles to display nonprinting characters in text such as spaces (dots), tabs (arrows), and paragraph returns (¶). Invisibles are particularly helpful when creating tabs and applying style sheets.

Figure 2.18: In the bottom portion of the View menu, the checked options display onscreen.

Snapping to guides

You can also activate the Snap to Guides and Snap to Page Grids commands in the View menu. When checked, these options create a sort of “magnetic field” around guides so that items automatically align with them. The size of the magnetic field, called the Snap Distance, is specified in the Guides & Grids pane of the Preferences dialog box.

Customizing layout aids

You can customize most of the layout aids in QuarkXPress—for example, you can change the default color of guides if they are the same color as a layout’s background. Or, you can work in picas or centimeters instead of inches. To customize the layout aids:

  • Guides: Specify the color of margin guides and ruler guides in the Grids & Guides pane of the Preferences dialog box. The Guides palette (Window menu) lets you specify the color of individual guides as well.
  • Page Grids: Specify the color of gridlines in the Master Guides & Grids dialog box when a master page is displayed.
  • Text Box Grids: Specify the color of gridlines through the Grid Settings dialog box (context menu > Grid Settings) or a grid style (Window > Grid Styles).
  • Rulers: The Measurements pane of the Preferences dialog box lets you choose from Inches, Inches Decimal, Picas, Points, Millimeters, Centimeters, Ciceros, and Agates for the horizontal and vertical rulers. You can also Control+click (Mac) or right+click (Windows) the rulers and choose an option from the Measure submenu of the context menu.
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