Printing Options in QuarkXPress

Printing Options in QuarkXPress

When you print in QuarkXPress, only the current layout prints, not all layouts in your project.

Before printing a layout, first make sure that the printer and project printing defaults are properly set up:

  • To check while you’re still creating your print layouts, choose FilePage Setup.

  • Otherwise, check when it’s time to print via FilePrint.

They both provide the Print dialog box, as shown in Figure.

Click To expand
Figure: The Print dialog box

The Print dialog box has nine panes — Layout, Setup, Output, Options, Layers, Bleed, OPI, Preview, and Profiles — as well as a few options that are always available. Note that Profiles will not display if Quark CMS is not made active in the Preferences dialog box’s Quark CMS pane, in the Print Layout section. (Choose QuarkXPressPreferences on the Mac or EditPreferences in Windows, or press Option+Shift+z+Y or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Y.)


In version 6, QuarkXPress adds one pane — Layers — to the Print dialog box to control output of specific layers in the project’s print layouts. Also, the Layout pane is the new name for the former Document pane.

Common options

No matter what pane is open, the following options are always available:

  • Print Style: You choose the print style — a saved set of printer settings — from this list. We cover print styles in the section, “Using Print Styles.”

  • Copies: Enter here how many copies of the layout that you want printed.

  • Pages: Choose here which pages to print. You can enter a range, such as 3–7; a single page, such as 4; a set of unrelated pages, such as 3, 7, 15, 28; or a combination, such as 3–7, 15, 28–64, 82–85. To print all pages, Select All from the pop-up menu or type All.

  • Capture Settings: Clicking this button remembers the current Print dialog box settings and returns you to your layout. This way, you can make a change and return to the Print dialog box later without having to reestablish your settings.

  • Print: Clicking this button prints the layout.

  • Cancel: Clicking this button exits the Print dialog box without printing.

    Platform Differences 

    To change printers on the Mac, click the Printers button; in Windows, use the Printer pop-up menu. To change printer output settings such as paper size and collation, click the Page Setup button on the Mac and the Properties button in Windows.

The Layout pane

In this pane, shown in Figure, you set up the basic page printing attributes:

Click To expand
Figure: The Layout pane of the Print dialog box
  • Separations: Selecting this check box prints color separations, putting each color on its own sheet (or negative) for use in producing color plates. Choose this if you’re printing directly to an imagesetter and outputting separate plates or printing to file for such direct output.

  • Print Blank Pages: Select this check box to output blank pages; clear it to print only pages with text or graphics on them.

  • Spreads: If your printer can print facing pages on one sheet of paper (such as if you have an 11-by-17-inch printer and your pages are 81⁄2 by 11 inches or smaller), and you want them printed that way, select this check box.


    If you have bleeds (where ink will go all the way to the edge of the paper), you may not want to use the Spreads option when outputting to an imagesetter because there will be no extra space for the bleed between the spreads. If you use traditional perfect-binding (square spines) or saddle-stitching (stapled spines) printing methods, in which facing pages aren’t printed contiguously, don’t use this option. Check with your service bureau.

  • Thumbnails: To get a miniature version of your layout printed several pages to a sheet, select this option.

  • Collate: This option is available when you are printing more than one copy. If checked, it will print a full copy of the layout and then repeat for as many times as copies are specified. If unchecked, this option will print the number of copies of each page before going on to the next page (such as ten copies of page 1, followed by ten copies of page 2, and so on).

  • Back to Front: If checked, this option reverses the printing order so that the last page comes first, followed by the next-to-last page, and so on.

  • Page Sequence: You can select All, Odd, or Even, which will print the specified type of pages from whatever range that you select in the Pages box. Thus, if you select Odd and specify a page range of 2–6, pages 3 and 5 will print. This option is grayed out (unavailable) if you’ve checked the Spreads option.

  • Registration: This option adds registration marks and crop marks, which you’ll need if your project is being professionally printed. A printer uses registration marks to line up the page correctly on the printing press. Registration crop marks define the edge of the page (handy if you’re printing to paper or negatives larger than your final page size). If you print color separations, enabling registration marks also prints the name of each color on its negative and includes a color bar in the output so that the printing press operator can check that the right colors are used with the right plates. You can choose to have registration centered, off-center, or turned off. Centered is the default.


    With the new Offset field to the right of the Registration pop-up menu, QuarkXPress 6 lets you determine how far crop marks are offset from the page margins.

  • Tiling: For layouts that are larger than the paper that you’re printing them on, select Manual or Automatic to have QuarkXPress break your page into smaller chunks that fit on the page. QuarkXPress will print marks on your pages to help you line up the tiles. Here’s how the options work:

    • Automatic: If you choose Automatic, QuarkXPress determines where each tile breaks. You can select the amount of tile overlap by entering a value in the Overlap field: You can enter a value between 0 and 6 inches. If you enter a value in the Overlap field, QuarkXPress prints that overlapped area on both adjacent tiles, giving you duplicate material that you can overlap the tiles with to help with alignment.

    • Absolute Overlap: If you check the Absolute Overlap check box, QuarkXPress makes sure that the overlap is always exactly the value specified in the Overlap field. If this option is unchecked, QuarkXPress centers the tiled image on the assembled pages, increasing the overlap if necessary.

    • Manual: If you choose Manual, you decide where the tiles break by repositioning the ruler origin in your layout. For all pages selected, QuarkXPress prints the tiled area whose upper-left corner matches the ruler’s origin. Repeat this step for each tiled area. Choose the Manual tile option if certain areas of your layout make more logical break points than others.

The Setup pane

The Setup pane is one that you’ll rarely change after you set it up. Figure shows the pane. It has the following options:

  • Printer Description: This pop-up menu lists the printers for which a PostScript Printer Description file is available. These tell QuarkXPress how to format the output correctly.

  • Paper Size, Width, and Height: In these three fields, you choose the size of the paper that will be used in the printer.


    The size of the paper that you’ll be using doesn’t always correspond directly to the trim size of your final print layout.

  • Paper Offset and Page Gap: The Paper Offset and Page Gap fields are controls used in imagesetters. Don’t change them unless your service bureau directs you to.


    Ask your the service bureau what they prefer.

  • Reduce or Enlarge: You can scale a page before you print it by entering a value here between 25% and 400%. Printing at reduced scale is particularly useful if your layout’s page size is large and if you can get by with a reduced version of the layout for proofing purposes.

  • Page Positioning: This pop-up menu lets you align the page within the paper that it’s being printed on. Your choices are Left Edge (the default), Center (centers both horizontally and vertically), Center Horizontal, and Center Vertical.

  • Fit in Print Area: Almost every printer has a gap along at least one edge where the printer grasps the paper (usually with rollers) to move it through the printing assembly. The printer can’t print in this gap, so a layout as large as the paper size usually has part of it cut off along one or more edges of the paper. Checking this check box ensures that nothing is cut off.

  • Orientation: Click the icon that looks like a portrait to get a vertical orientation of the layout (taller than wide). Clicking the horizontal icon produces pages with a landscape orientation (wider than tall).

    Click To expand
    Figure: The Setup pane of the Print dialog box

The Output pane

The Output pane, as shown in Figure, is where you set many attributes for printing to an imagesetter, whether you’re producing black-and-white or color-separated print projects. You also use this pane for printing to a standard printer and to set resolution and color modes. The following two sections explain the options for both types of printers.

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Figure: The Output pane of the Print dialog box

QuarkXPress offers several advanced printing options designed for professional publishing users. Options not available for non-PostScript printers (such as color options) are grayed out in the Print dialog box.

Here’s how the settings work in the Output pane of the Print dialog box:

  • Print Colors: This pop-up menu (available only if the Separations option is not checked in the Layout pane) lets you select Black & White; Grayscale; on a color printer, Composite RGB; and for some printers, Composite CMYK.


    QuarkXPress 6 adds two options to the Print Colors pop-up menu:

    • As Is: The new As Is option prints the colors in whatever color models they are defined in instead of converting them to RGB or cyan/magenta/yellow/black (CMYK). Use this when creating output that will be color-managed at the output device or by a service bureau using its own color management software.

    • DeviceN: The DeviceN option is something that you don’t need to worry about if you’re just getting started with QuarkXPress. It formats color output in the PostScript Level 3 DeviceN format, which stores both the color names (spot colors) and their constituent CMYK values so that the output can be reproduced on both CMYK and spot-color-enabled printers. It’s also handy when you create PDF files that you intend to print because it provides all the color information that any modern printer needs to make the best match. DeviceN is also available as an option when you save a page to EPS format via FileSave Page as EPS.

  • Plates: Use this list to determine whether all spot and process (CMYK) colors are output to their own individual plates (All Process & Spot) or whether all the spot colors (such as Pantone) are converted into the four process plates (Convert to Process). The answer depends on the capabilities of your printing press and the depth of your budget; typically, you’d choose Convert to Process.

  • Halftoning: Use this pop-up menu to choose the halftone settings specified in QuarkXPress (the Conventional option) or to use the defaults in your printer. For black-and-white and composite-color printing, you’d typically choose Printer unless you used halftoning effects in the QuarkXPress Style menu. For color separations, only Conventional is available.

  • Resolution: Select the dots per inch (dpi) at which the imagesetter will be printing. The minimum resolution for most imagesetters is 1,270 dpi. If you choose a lower setting in QuarkXPress than the printer is set for, all images will be halftoned at the lower resolution.

  • Frequency: Specify the lines per inch (lpi) for your target printer. QuarkXPress will choose an initial setting based on the Resolution field’s setting, but you can also select from the pop-up menu’s other popular frequencies.

The Options pane

The Options pane is almost exclusively designed for people using an imagesetter to create film negatives. Typically, your service bureau will adjust these settings or tell you how they want you to set them. Figure shows the pane.

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Figure: The Options pane of the Print dialog box

The Page Flip and Negative Print options determine how the film negatives (or positives) are actually produced. The Output, Data, OPI, Full Res of Rotated Objects, Overprint EPS Black, and Full Resolution TIFF Output options determine how pictures are printed. The following list briefly describes how each option works:

  • Quark PostScript Error Handler: PostScript is a language, and sometimes programs use it differently from what the printer expects, which leads to incorrect output or often no output at all. If this check box is selected, QuarkXPress prints a report when it encounters a PostScript error and will even print the problem page to the point where the error occurred, helping you narrow down the problem. (It may be in an imported image, for example.)

  • Page Flip: This pop-up menu lets you mirror your page; your options are Horizontal, Vertical, and Horizontal & Vertical. You would use this feature if your service bureau requests that the page be flipped. Otherwise, leave this option at the default None setting.

  • Negative Print: Selecting this check box prints an inverse image of your pages, exchanging black with white, and dark colors with light ones. Your service bureau uses this option if it has imagesetters that can print both positives and negatives (so that the service bureau can have the correct output based on what it’s printing on). Your service bureau will tell you when to use this option.

  • Output: The default is Normal, but you can also choose Low Resolution or Rough from this pop-up menu. Normal means that the pictures print normally; Low Resolution means that the pictures print at the screen resolution (usually 72 dpi); Rough means that the pictures don’t print at all. You use the last two when you’re focusing on the text and layout, not the images, because Low Resolution and Rough greatly accelerate printing time.

  • Data: Typically your service bureau will tell you which of these three settings to use:

    • Binary (smaller file sizes, faster printing, but not editable)

    • ASCII (larger file sizes, slower printing, but editable)

    • Clean 8-Bit (a hybrid of binary and ASCII, somewhere between the two in size, that can safely be sent to PC-based output devices).

  • OPI: If you don’t use an Open Prepress Interface (OPI) server, leave this option at the default setting of Include Images. If you use OPI, choose Omit TIFF if your OPI server has only high-resolution TIFF files (the most common type of OPI setup), and choose Omit TIFF & EPS if your OPI server contains both EPS and TIFF files.

  • Full Res of Rotated Objects: This option ensures that rotated objects are printed at their full resolution on non-PostScript printers. This takes more imaging time and will slow down printer output, but it makes for the most accurate output of these images. (PostScript devices will output rotated images at their maximum resolution, so this option is grayed out when they’re used.)

  • Overprint EPS Black: Normally, QuarkXPress prints black by using the trapping settings set in the Trap Specifications dialog box (accessed via the Edit Trap button in the Colors dialog box, which you open by choosing EditColors or pressing Shift+F12). But EPS files may have their own trapping settings for black defined in the program that created the EPS file. If you check the Overprint EPS Black check box, QuarkXPress forces all black elements in EPS files to overprint other colors. This doesn’t affect how other black elements in QuarkXPress print.

  • Full Resolution TIFF Output: If checked, this option sends TIFF images to the printer at the highest resolution possible based on the Resolution setting in the Output pane. You use this when you want your TIFF images (typically photos and scans) to be as sharp as possible.

The Layers pane

The new Layers pane, as shown in Figure, lets you control which layers are printed. Layers that are set to not output are in italics and are not checked in the Print column. You can force a layer to print (or not print) by using the Print pop-up menu, which is available when you select any layer in the pane.

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Figure: The Layers pane of the Print dialog box

The options are All, Yes, No, and None. Yes and No control the printing of the currently selected layer in the pane. All and None affect all layers. If you make an output-suppressed layer print and check the Apply to Layout check box, the layer’s settings in the Layers palette will be changed. The same holds true if you uncheck Print for a layer — it then has Suppress Output checked in the Layers palette.

The Bleed pane

This pane, as shown in Figure, is where you tell QuarkXPress how much room to leave around the layout edges for elements that bleed off the page. This is useful when printing to a file or to an imagesetter to ensure that the bleed is not inadvertently removed or shortened. A value of 1⁄8 inch (0.125 inch) suffices for most work.

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Figure: The Bleed pane of the Print dialog box

If you select the Symmetric option in the Bleed Type pop-up menu, the bleed amount applies to all four sides. If you choose Asymmetric, you can set the bleed individually for each side. The Page Items option makes the page boundary the bleed boundary (no bleeds).

If checked, the Clip at Bleed Edge check box prevents anything outside the bleed rectangle from printing even if it’s within the imageable area of the output device. When Clip at Bleed Edge is unchecked, QuarkXPress prints all objects that are at least partially within the bleed rectangle if they fit within the imageable area.

The OPI pane

With this pane, you turn on the Open Prepress Interface feature, letting you store high-resolution images on a remote server or at a service bureau while you work on lower-resolution, more manageable-size versions. During printing, the high-resolution images are substituted from the OPI server, and your QuarkXPress settings are applied to them. Figure shows the pane.

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Figure: The OPI pane

In the pane, you also determine whether OPI is active for TIFF and EPS images (by checking the Include Images check box) and whether to substitute a low-resolution version of the TIFF file in local printing. By selecting Include Images, you ensure that the PostScript output contains any special instructions in the master OPI image. By checking the Low Resolution check box, you speed up printing because QuarkXPress sends only a 36-dpi version of the TIFF file with any functions applied in QuarkXPress instead of the full image.

The Preview pane

It’s easy to set up your Print dialog box and print your job, only to find out that something was off base after your pages printed. Use the Preview pane to ensure that margins, crop marks, bleeds, and other element-fitting issues actually work with your target paper size.

Figure shows an example Preview pane in which the layout exceeds the right side of the page boundaries.

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Figure: The Preview pane of the Print dialog box

The Preview pane shows the layout area, bleed area, imageable area, and any clipped areas using specific colors. You can get a list of these colors by clicking the ? icon below the preview, on the right side.

The big R indicates the reading order for the text, and the big arrow indicates the direction the paper feeds into the output device. The rest of the pane gives all the specific output settings.

The Profiles pane

If color management is active, you’ll get a Profiles pane, as shown in Figure. The pane lets you select the color profile for RGB and CMYK output, as well as determine whether the composite output, such as to an inkjet printer for proofing, tries to simulate the CMYK output.

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Figure: The Profiles pane in the Print dialog box
  • Separation profile: Here you choose the output device (such as a printing press) that QuarkXPress should color-correct all images for when creating color separations. The default profile is whatever you specified in the Color Management dialog box.

  • Composite profile: Here you choose the output device (typically an inkjet printer, thermal-wax printer, color laser printer, or dye-sublimation printer; sometimes a proofing system or a CMYK output device) that QuarkXPress should color-correct all images for when printing colors on a single page (rather than color-separating them). The default profile is whatever you specified in the Color Management dialog box.

  • Composite Simulates Separation: If you check this check box, QuarkXPress alters the colors on your composite printer to make them match the separations printer as closely as possible. Use this when you’re proofing color on a local composite printer before sending the final layout out for color separations.

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