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Linking

I need to introduce a concept here that is crucial to working with text boxes: linking. Links, sometimes known as chains, are the connections between text boxes that allow text to flow from one into the other. You can have as many text boxes linked up as you like. There are two ways to link text boxes together: have QuarkXPress do it for you automatically, or do it yourself manually. I cover automatic text links in Chapter 4, Building a Document. I cover manual linking here.

Linking Text Boxes

Let's say you have two text boxes and the text in the first is overflowing (a text overflow is indicated by a little box with an "X" in it in the text box's lower-right corner), so you want to link it to the second text box. Here's what to do.

  1. Choose the Linking tool from the Tool palette (it's the one that looks like three links in a chain).
  2. Next, click on the first text box. A flashing dotted line should appear around it.
  3. Finally, click on the second text box. When you select the second text box, an arrow should momentarily appear, connecting the first text box to the second. I call this the text link arrow. This happens even if the two text boxes are on different pages.

That's it. The boxes are now linked, and text flows between them. If you want to link another box to your text chain, just follow the same procedure: click on the second text box, then on the third, and so on. You cannot link a box to another box that has text in it unless the second box is already part of the chain.

If you want to add a text box to the middle of a text chain, first click on a box that is already linked, and then click on the text box you want to add. The text now flows from the original chain through your added text box and continues on to the original chain (see Figure 3-67).

1_20a_qx.gif

Figure 3-67 Adding a text box to a linked text chain

Unlinking Text Boxes

If you want to remove a link between two text boxes, use the Unlinking tool from the Tool palette. The process is simple. Let's say you have a link between two text boxes that you want to sever. First, click on one of the text boxes with the Unlinking tool. As soon as you click on it, you should see the plaid gray arrow linking the two boxes. Then click on either the arrowhead or the tailfeathers of this text link arrow. The arrow disappears and the link is gone.

If other page items are on top of the text link arrow's arrowhead and tail-feathers, you may not be able to click it. This always seems to happen at 1 a.m., after everything else has gone wrong on the project, and this is the last straw. Nonetheless, the way I solve this problem is to rearrange the layers using Move to Front and Move to Back, or to temporarily shift the obstructing objects in order to get to one of the two.

Copying Linked Text Boxes

I really love the ability to easily copy objects between documents (or between pages or layouts in a document). However, you may bump into some limitations when you try to copy linked boxes.

You can copy one or more text boxes from a chain of linked text boxes, and QuarkXPress copies, along with it, the entire text chain from that box on. None of the text preceding that box in the chain is copied—only the text from the ensuing linked boxes (and any overflow text). It'd be nice if QuarkXPress could automatically break the chains when you copy, bringing to the new document only the text within the box you're moving (if you'd like, that is). But we have to leave them refinements to work on for the next version.

There's one other way to copy linked boxes, especially when the boxes are on multiple pages. If both documents are in Thumbnails view, you can drag-copy multiple pages from one document to another. In this case, links between boxes on different pages are also maintained in your target document, even if you didn't grab all the text boxes in the chain.

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