Getting Started with XTensions

Getting Started with XTensions

You may not be aware of it, but you’ve been running — if not using — several XTensions every time that you’ve used QuarkXPress. If you personally installed your QuarkXPress 6 program and performed a Custom Install, you had the option to install or not install QuarkXPress XTensions. This setting simply determines which ones run by default — all the XTensions provided with QuarkXPress will be installed on your computer.

Installing XTensions with QuarkXPress

A Custom Install option in the installation dialog box lets you install the XTensions that ship with QuarkXPress. If you select this option and marked all the listed XTensions, over 25 XTension files are in the XTension folder inside your QuarkXPress program folder, as in Figure. These XTensions are features that you may never use (such as Jabberwocky for creating dummy text) and significant features (such as indexing and HTML export).

Click To expand
Figure: The XTension folder contains the XTensions you install.

Determining which XTensions are running

Displaying the QuarkXPress Environment dialog box (shown in Figure) shows you which XTensions are running. These are the XTensions that are currently operational and adding features to your copy of QuarkXPress. Here’s how to open the Environment dialog box, depending on your platform:

  • Mac OS: Hold down the Option key and choose QuarkXPressAbout QuarkXPress.

  • Windows: Hold down the Ctrl key and choose HelpAbout QuarkXPress.

    Click To expand
    Figure: The QuarkXPress Environment dialog box.


    You can choose UtilitiesXTensions Manager to see which XTensions are running. The XTensions with a check mark next to them in the Enable list are running. QuarkXPress 6 includes the following XTensions:

    • avenue.Quark: A formerly separate product that lets Web-page creators extract QuarkXPress content files into Extended Markup Language (XML, a format often used for Web-content management systems).

    • Compressed Image Import: This imports compressed TIFF files.

    • Custom Bleeds: This creates what its name indicates, where the image on the page extends beyond the page boundary.

    • Dejavu: This provides the ability to keep a list of previously opened QuarkXPress projects.

    • EPS Preview: This creates the preview images for exported Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) files.

    • Full Res Preview: This lets QuarkXPress 6 show the full resolution of imported bitmapped images. You must register QuarkXPress for this feature to be active.

    • Guide Manager: This implements the guide-management functions.

    • HTML Text Import: This imports HyperText Markup Language (HTML) files.

    • Hyph_CNS_1, Hyph_CNS_2, and Hyph_CNS_3: These provide hyphenation rules.

    • ImageMap: This lets you create image maps (graphical areas that include hyperlinks) in layouts for the Web. This function was brought over from the QuarkImmedia product to create dynamic Web pages.

    • Index: This provides the indexing functions.

    • Item Sequence: This lets you control the sequence of display for items on Web layouts. This function was brought over from the QuarkImmedia product to create dynamic Web pages.

    • Kern-Track Editor: This manages font kerning pairs and tracking settings.

    • MS-Word 6-2000 Filter: This imports and exports Microsoft Word files.


    The MS-Word 6-2000 Filter supports the current Windows XP and Mac OS X versions, despite the name.

  • OPI: This lets Quark support the Open Prepress Interface.

    Technical Stuff 

    OPI stores high-resolution files on a separate server; and designers use a lower-resolution version in their QuarkXPress file. During printing, the OPI feature inserts the high-resolution images. This XTension adds an OPI pane or option to many dialog boxes involving images. QuarkXPress has supported OPI in previous versions, and this XTension includes those previous functions plus several enhancements.

  • PDF Filter: This imports PDF files.

  • PNG Import: This imports the Web-oriented PNG graphics format.

  • Quark CMS: This provides the color management features.

  • RTF: This lets QuarkXPress import the Rich Text Format.

  • Microsoft developed RTF as a platform-neutral standard for text; it supports such formatting as boldface and font changes.

  • Scissors: This displays a Tools palette item that can cut lines and boxes into segments.

    Platform Differences 
    • Script: This Mac-only Xtension better integrates AppleScripting into QuarkXPress.

  • WordPerfect Filter: This imports and exports WordPerfect files.

  • XML Import: This imports XML files.

  • XPress Tags Filter: This imports and exports the XPress Tags format used to convert QuarkXPress formatting into codes.

Several included XTensions are free XTensions that Quark has long had on its Web site, including

  • Jabberwocky: This puts random dummy text in a text box.

  • Shape of Things: This provides the Starburst tool.

  • Super Step and Repeat: This lets you tell QuarkXPress how many copies to make of an item and where to place the copies.

  • Type Tricks: This adds fraction– and price-formatting functions.

Because Quark continues to modularize the application, QuarkXPress 6 has more XTensions than previous versions.

Installing additional XTensions

If you download or purchase a new XTension, all you usually need to do is drag the file into the XTension folder inside your QuarkXPress folder. Some commercial products include installer programs that place the XTension in the XTension folder automatically. (These programs often install other files in your Mac’s System folder or the Windows System folder that the XTension needs to do its thing.) Either way, if QuarkXPress is running, you need to restart it to load the XTension and make its features available. You can disable an XTension by moving it to the XTension Disabled folder or choosing UtilitiesXTensions Manager.

XTensions developers often provide demo versions of their XTensions on CDs (handed out at trade shows or mailed to you) and on their Web sites. Sometimes these are full-featured versions of the XTension with a time limit. Other times, they shift QuarkXPress itself into demo mode, which doesn’t allow you to save or print clean copies. After evaluating such XTensions, disable them to revert QuarkXPress to standard operating mode. You can also check our Web site,, for information on XTensions.


QuarkXPress 6 cannot run XTensions written for previous QuarkXPress versions. The XTensions provided with QuarkXPress are already updated by Quark. For possible updates of third-party XTensions, contact the developer.

Handling XTension-loading errors

If any XTensions are unable to load at startup, an alert lists those XTensions. Click the name of the XTension to display a possible reason and then click About for additional information about the XTension (such as the version and developer). The XTension Loading Error alert displays the following buttons:

  • Ignore: Click this if you want to launch QuarkXPress without launching the XTensions listed in the scroll list.

  • Manager: Click this to display the XTension Manager dialog box, in which you can change the startup set of XTensions or create a new set.

  • Don’t Show This Dialog Again: Click this button if you don’t want to be alerted when QuarkXPress is unable to load an XTension.

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