Markzware Q2ID (Quark to InDesign) in Review: Worth the Switch?

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If you regularly use QuarkXPress, InDesign or other formatting tools for your media, you’ll inevitably learn that there are some things that these programs just can’t do. Additionally, these programs are always being beefed up and upgraded, and these pointed upgrades all suggest that Marzware Q2ID is one of the best opportunities to complete projects and get work done- but expect to have to spend a little bit of time learning and solving some simple conversion errors. One such example of this are differences in text clarity, color schemes and even text sizes- sometimes just getting started is a little difficult when you see that layouts have changed and documents have grown.

Easy Enough to Start 

Markzware Q2ID (Quark to Indesign) 2

Markzware Q2ID (Quark to Indesign)

Photos from Markzware

Luckily, it’s easy to convert files and start to do actual work- all you have to do is transfer the document to Q2ID through the Markzware tab (of if that’s not streamlined enough, you can do it through the File > Open tab dialog boxes. You’re sure to be able to convert several of your documents this way, or simply by holding down the Shift/Command or Ctrl keys. After that it’s all about selecting a wide variety of documents in the “Open” dialog box.

One of my first issues was when the software froze when I was attempting to more easily transfer the QuarkXPress document to 10.1, so we decided to simply skip 10.1, instead aiming to open up QuarkXPress 10, exporting the file as QuarkXPress 9.1. This gives your document more time to compute and solve, rather than getting caught up in the page count. After making this switch, Markzware Q2ID (Quark to InDesign) worked just fine, transferring one style of document to another on an over 1000 page masterpiece in just about 5 or 6 minutes. This transfer speed is pretty impressive for new age OS computers with 2.66 GHz Intel Core processors.

Technical Issues Resolved to Combining Software Solutions 

The only big things that I would have changed on the conversions that Markzware Q2ID (Quark to InDesign) does for you are the slight changes to line breaks, paragraphs and pagination over other models. InDesign has a bad habit of handling leading and hyphenation (usually inserted hyphenation rather than actual word hyphenation). Another factor that lead my decision were the changes to text wrapping around images performed by QuarkxPress. Markzware understands these shortcomings and realistically states it- it just can’t operate with 100% fidelity, converting every single document perfectly, because it’s operating with two completely different software choices with the features expressed in QuarkXPress or InDesign, and the creators of the software make this distinction clear by providing simple solutions to these issues.

Combating Technical Issues 

Markzware knows that there are simple flaws to Markzware, especially for users that really understood how QuarkXPress operated, defining projects with relative amounts that led projects with overall font declarations. You could modify different texts and sizes, but understand that everything you did would remain proportional throughout the project. In fact, this was probably one of the most loved features- and InDesign just won’t do it. If you’re working on a project in the middle (on Markzware Q2ID), you’re going to have to go back to Quark and make some simple changes, replacing relative leading values to absolute leading values to solidify your texts. This is easy enough, just add the scores that your relative lead represented, and the text will convert as you expected.

Markzware also had another unique conversion error that filled the cover of our novel with a radiant fill that wasn’t opaque or usable. The problem was that one of of our gradients and signs wasn’t covered. We ad to establish a new radial fill to turn the gradient from one value to another, remembering to be far more literal on Markzware compared to Quark (but still more freedom than InDesign).

To make the processes a little bit easier, we documented a few things that Markzware has to be converted from in regards to Quark and InDesign:

-Locked items in groups get un-grouped but the items themselves will be locked. Markzware also won’t group anchored boxes, so you’ll have to change the settings on the program before they’re functional.

-Inline graphics can’t be placed on top of text in Markzware versus older designs on QuarkXPress.

-In Markzware, takes of contents, indexes, locked guides and text is converted differently as “real” values for TOC on InDesign.

-Compared to Quark projects that contained several different layouts that slowed down the program- Markzware Q2ID does all of these layout changes quickly and efficiently.

-Q2ID has less bullet control than QuarkXPress, so bullets may move across the page. You’ll have to accept more “generic” bullet placement on Markzware.

-You’ll probably also lose hyperlink data when you’re making the transfer. The text itself will transfer (so you won’t lose links) but the associated hyperlink data itself (the URL) will vanish.

-If you’re converting a file from InDesign, it won’t convert tailed arrow designs. The software only works with tail-less arrows.

We’ve had some issues converting small items from third-party applications (notably XTensions) but for the most part, the conversions are easy enough.

-Linked table cells and static data aren’t supported in InDesign, so if you’re wanting to add them to your new Markzware project you have to physically change the software.

-Expect to have to modify the text runaround on some picture boxes.

-Our graphic designer notified us that the differences between InDesign and Quark prevent you from directly scaling texts. Other than that, you can’t justify text or use drop caps, and some of the color schemes have been affected as well. The best option is to play with different formatting choices to find the middle ground between the two software choices that works best for you.

Our Final Opinion 

We aren’t a fan of backward compatibility when it comes to a myriad of flaws, but because both of the programs being converted where powerful, diverse and large, it’s easy to see why Q2ID is lagging behind the other two older options. The features are catching up however, and it’s getting easier to update code and get better. This means that the program flaws that we noted in Markzware could easily be changed to work on the newest installed version of your Mac. Save yourself some time and energy, just get out your cleaning tools.

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