Drag from Bridge to QuarkXPress

May 30, 2007 - 12:16pm ||| 0 Comments | Add new
Adobe Bridge, the free digital asset management program that comes with any Creative Suite product, is one of my favorite programs. When I'm working in InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, it's indispensable for quickly finding, previewing, and organizing all the files involved in a project.

Just like the Finder or Windows Explorer, you can use Bridge to find, organize, rename, and open any file on your computer. Beyond that, there's a lot of extra Bridge-only features you get with the Creative Suite programs and file formats, as you can imagine, but not so much with files created from non-Adobe software like Microsoft Office or Corel.

But I did learn of a neat thing you can do with Bridge and QuarkXPress v6.x or v7: Drag and drop. With a little bit of prep, you can drag single or multiple images, PDFs or text files right from Bridge's window onto a QuarkXPress layout and they appear just as though you went to File > Get Text or File > Get Picture in XPress.

Actually, you can drag and drop from Windows Explorer into XPress without any prep whatsoever. [Edit: No, you can't drag/drop from the Finder too, as this article originally stated. My mistake! I figured if it worked in Windows — which I tested — it had to work in OS X, which I didn't test. Thanks to Jay Nelson for the quick heads-up! —AMC] But combining Bridge with XPress just gives one that special Geek Thrill that makes it all worthwhile, no?

Wait, You Need a Free XTension

QuarkXPress isn't "Bridge aware" right out of the box. You need to go to Extensis' site and download and install their free drag-and-drop XTension (Mac OS X only) first. The XTension is designed to work with Extensis' Portfolio 8 product (a wonderful digital asset manager) but owning Portfolio 8 is not required.

Extensis' free QX-Drag&Drop XTension
(aka "QuarkXPress drag-and-drop XTension for Portfolio")

You'll see on this Mac downloads page (scroll down a bit) they have an XTension for QXP 7 and another one for QXP 4-6 (I only tested the v7 one for this article). Download the one you need, drop the XTension into your QuarkXPress XTensions folder and restart the program.

Obviously Extensis didn't intend for it to be used with Bridge; so who knows how long it'll last. But in the meantime, check it out. From the Bridge window you can drag and drop any file format that QuarkXPress has a filter for: EPS, TIFF, DOC, PSD (if you have the PSD Import filter in XPress), and the rest.

The ultimate coolness is that the XTension adds a bit of InDesign-ness to QuarkXPress. To wit, you don't have to be on a specific tool or even have a box waiting! Drag and drop a picture and XPress makes the picture box on the fly, sized to 100% of the image. Drag and drop a Word document, instant text box. PDFs? No problem. After you drop them, all pictures and PDFs appear in the Utilities > Usage > Picture panel as usual, linked to their originals.

Ready for this? Drag and drop *multiple* files (even a combination of text and image files at once), and QuarkXPress creates their boxes with aplomb, bloop-bloop-bloop. They appear stacked on top of each other, offset a bit so you can see them all, just as in InDesign CS2. (InDesign CS3 has a bunch of new features for multiple-image importing that the XTension can't replicate.)

If you do have a picture box or text box waiting, you can drag a single file into the layout (this won't work with multiple files) and hover over the box. When the box highlights, drop the file and it goes right into it, nice and neat.

Your OS or Bridge?
Remember that XPress versions 6 and 7 for Windows already have a basic drag and drop ability. Without the XTension I've been talking about, you can drag and drop from Windows Explorer one file at a time, into a waiting text or picture box. But with the XTension, the basic feature is enhanced for Windows, and added to the Mac OS Finder as well: You can drag multiple files from Explorer/Finder into a Quark layout, and placeholder boxes are optional.

So why use Bridge? Because you can't get the Finder or Explorer to do Bridge's powerful searches, filtering, or sorting; and you can't get a tiny window to float over an XPress layout as you can with a Bridge window in Compact mode, making it much easier to do the drag-and-drop procedure.

And … because mashing up software from Adobe and Quark like this is just too much fun.

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