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The InDesignSecrets Chutzpah Award for Creative Uses of InDesign

Daniel T. wrote us to report a creative use for InDesign:

My current contract had used Quark for a long time; they recently purchased CS3 with the intent to switch over to InDesign, but because no one really knew InDesign, they were slow to get started.

I was stuck revising a pretty long text document in Quark–about 32 pages worth of exhibitor listings. I started out by assigning keyboard shortcuts to my Quark Style Sheets, and manually applying these to each paragraph. This was going to take FOREVER! I wanted to quit! I longed for InDesign’s “Apply xx Style then Next Style” command.

But alas.

Then, I had a bright idea.

I imported the unformatted text into InDesign and quickly set up paragraph styles. Then, using ID’s Apply Style then Next feature, I styled the whole 32 pages in one mouse click. (Woo-hoo!)

Then I exported the text as RTF, and then imported it into QuarkXPress, selecting the option to “Keep Style Sheets.” The text flowed in with all the style sheets intact! I needed to redefine the colors, as RTF doesn’t really keep them well, and tweak a few other things in the Quark version of the style sheets: but hours and hours and hours of endless clicking and arrow-downing evaporated into about 45 minutes.

Thank you, InDesign!

Daniel wins this weeks official InDesignSecrets chutzpah award for a great use of InDesign in the face of adversity! Plus, bonus points if you can write an AppleScript to merge the QX and ID workflow automatically. ;)

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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6 Comments on “The InDesignSecrets Chutzpah Award for Creative Uses of InDesign

  1. At a previous job, I had to use Quark as well. Unfortunetly I received a word file where someone had typed in all CAPS FOR MANY PAGES. If I only had Quark, I would have had to retype it. Instead, I placed it inside InDesign, converted it to sentence case, and copy and pasted it into Quark.

    That saved hours of work.

  2. I love this idea of InDesign being a useful add-on to QuarkXPress. Whenever you need something that QX doesn’t do, just use ID! After a while, the bosses will realize that it would be more efficient to do the whole thing in ID.

  3. I love such stories :-) Please post more of them. I can remember a situation in the past when I also had a similar problem in “the other” software. How would I have loved to have features like nested styles and next style. However many people still don’t know about it because it’s a really hidden feature. One must know that it is there … But then, once found, it can save you a lot of time :-)

  4. Once I started using InDesign I was happy. The only time I opened Quark was to laugh at it. Always cheered me up, and still does. :)

  5. It was also a good success as I was already a catalyst for their rapid posterior movement towards InDesign? when they saw that I handled all of that in half an hour with ID, they were really impressed.

  6. Shocking that you didn’t just finish it up in InDesign though and Export>PDF. Shocking I tells ya.

    We decided that all our publications had to be put on the web. We just got InDesign and changed over from Ventura, great craic, but that’s another story.

    The guys that are putting it up on the web seem to not know how to do this. So I made GoLive files, XML files, PDF files and many others, after been told that .rtf file is not compatible. Then I was told that we need to change our “typesetting package” to something that works better with their “software”, to which I fervently refused to do. So then I made them an .rtf about 3 weeks of trial and error and the .rtf worked fine, as long as all our “styles were consistent”, only in name not in style. The funny thing is, the books went on the web before, given to this company as .rtf files from Ventura. The length of trouble I had explaining that InDesign is for printing on paper, not for making webpages and sites. Different tools for different jobs. They didn’t get it. They still don’t and somehow our books are appearing. I think they just be guessing what they’re at. But that’s the circle of life!

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