Synchronizing Text

Synchronizing Text


A major publishing headache is keeping boilerplate text identical in layouts and projects. Whether it’s a copyright line, a legal notice, business cards with several copies on the same page, or chapter headings in folios, such text is repeated in a project and must be changed at every location consistently. QuarkXPress 6 offers synchronization. You can have one source for repeated text, so changes to any of the text’s instances are updated to all copies.

How to synchronize text

The process of text synchronization is simple:

  1. Create a text box or text path that contains the text you want synchronized with other text boxes and/or text paths.

    Only the entire text in text boxes and text paths can be synchronized, not text snippets.

  2. Point and click anywhere inside the text box or text path using the Content tool to activate the text box or text path.

  3. Either choose WindowSynchronized Text and click the Synchronize Text icon on the palette that opens, or choose StyleSynchronize Text.

    Figure shows the Synch Content dialog box that appears.

    Figure: The Synch Content dialog box

  4. You’ll be asked to name the synchronized content; give it a name that is meaningful, not the default Story1, Story2, and the like.

  5. Click OK.


    The text box’s or path’s handles change to diagonal blue stripes. This indicates that the box or path contains synchronized text.

  6. Go to another location in your project — it does not have to be in the same layout (we used the same layout for our example in Figure) — and click a text box or path to contain the same text.

  7. Again, use the Content tool and click on the box or path to select it.

  8. Click the Insert Text button (the second button from the left) on the Synchronized Text palette. Or you can simply drag the story icon from the Synchronized Text palette onto the target text box or path.

    The target text box or path now contains the synchronized text.

Now when you change the first (source) synchronized text box or path, those changes automatically happen in the second (target) text box or path. You can synchronize a source text box or path to multiple target boxes and/or paths.

Technical Stuff 

You cannot synchronize text across multiple projects, such as in a book. But you can synchronize text across multiple layouts in the same project.

Working with synchronized text

The Synchronized Text palette contains all synchronized-text sources for the current project. You can manage all your synchronized text from one location.

After you’ve synchronized text to multiple boxes and paths, any edits you make to the text will be automatically reflected in all synchronized boxes and paths — you don’t have to edit the original box or path to make the changes synchronize throughout the project.


If you make major edits to synchronized text, such as adding or removing many words, the text boxes holding that text may no longer be the right size for the revised text. That may not be a big deal if you delete text. If you add a lot of text, the multiple target text boxes and paths may not hold all the new text. In this case, you’ll have to adjust the text box and paths containing synchronized text throughout your project so all the text is displayed.

When you synchronize text to a new text box or path, the text copy picks up the attributes of the original text box or path at the time you first synchronized it. But you can also reformat the text in synchronized boxes and paths— formatting color, style sheets, character attributes, and so on. This formatting does not synchronize across the other text boxes and paths. This lets you style any instance without affecting style of the other instances.

Replacing, unsynchronizing, and deleting synchronized text

You can replace synchronized text in a path or box with another synchronized story (replacing one boilerplate paragraph with another). That’s easy:

  1. Just drag the new synchronized story from the Synchronized Text palette, or select the target box or path with the Content tool.

  2. Click the Insert Text button on the Synchronized text palette.

    You get a warning dialog box, asking if you’re sure that you want to replace the synchronized text.

  3. Click OK in the warning dialog box to replace the synchronized text, or click Cancel if you’ve changed your mind.

You also may want to unsynchronize a specific text box or path so that it’s no longer automatically updated. That, too, is easy: Just select the box or path with the Content tool and choose StyleUnsynchronize Text. The text won’t be deleted, but it will no longer be automatically updated.

To unsynchronize all instances of synchronized text, click the story name in the Synchronized Text palette, then click the Unsynchronize All button. You get a confirmation dialog box; you can also undo the action if you click OK by accident. (We cover the Undo feature in Chapter 8.) You can delete the story from the palette with the Remove Item button, which unsynchronizes all instances and also removes the story from the palette. Either way, text boxes and paths retain the existing text, but they aren’t automatically updated.

Finally, you can delete specific synchronized text boxes and paths at any time by selecting the box or path with the Item tool and choosing EditCut or z+X or Ctrl+X. Other synchronized boxes and paths are unaffected.

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