Facing Pages Flexibility Face-Off: QuarkXPress and InDesign

July 3, 2003 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

First, a little background info for people who never read dialog boxes, let alone manuals, you know who you are:

When you create a new document in a page layout program, you have the option of setting it up as a Single Page or Facing Pages document.

Facing Pages is for publications that will be printed as two-page spreads, such as a book or magazine. Their master pages are also spreads, with a left-facing and a right-facing page. Individual Facing Page pages don't have left and right margins, they have inside (toward the binding, or center of the spread) and outside ones. With a Facing Pages document, when you insert a page in the middle of a spread, the following pages re-sort themselves into new 2-page spreads, with the text (but no other placed items) re-aligning itself to its new inside/outside margins if they switched left or right-facing positions.

And Single Page documents are for every other kind of publication.

The question is, what if you change your mind? What happens if you've halfway through a Facing Pages project and decide it needs to be Single Page, or vice versa?

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In this Corner: QuarkXPress

Experienced Quarkers know that with the exception of long, book-type documents, Single Pages mode is the most flexible and gives the designer the most control, even for shorter documents that will be printed or imposed as facing pages, like a newsletter or brochure. If you start with a Single Pages document and need a Facing Pages spread or two (or all of them), you can just drag the single page icons in the Document Layout palette next to each other to form pairs. If you change your mind, drag them back.

You can even create two single page Master Pages, one for left-facing pages and one for right-facing ones, and apply as necessary, to approximate the utility of a Facing Page master spread.

And if in the middle of the project you find you really should have chosen Facing Pages for some reason, you can just go to File —> Document Setup and turn on Facing Pages. You might need to futz a while with the Master Pages but it's not a big deal. Facing Pages documents can contain a mix of Single and Facing pages.

Not so going the other way, though. When you start with a Facing Pages document, the option to change to a Single Pages document — that is, to uncheck the Facing Pages checkbox in Document Setup — is inaccessible, completely greyed out. (Take it from me, no matter how often you click it, it won't turn black.)

The problem is that a Facing Pages document will always be locked into that mode as long as it has one or more Facing master pages or document pages — in other words, any page that has the tell-tale "dog ear" folded-down corner.

[Impatient readers: first tip is here —>] Get rid of any dog ears showing in your Document Layout palette, and the Facing Pages checkbox can be turned off, turning your document into Single Page mode.

You want to give it a shot? Here are the instrux… but please work on a copy of your document in case things get messed up.

Assuming the default Facing Pages master page has nothing on it you want to save (i.e., you never touched the thing), convert it to a Single Page master. Do this by grabbing a blank Single Page icon from the "page bank" at the top of the palette and dropping it on the master page. Voila, it's a Single Page master. All document pages based on that master will become Single Pages (earless) as well. If the Facing Pages master had an Automatic Text Box that's used in the document, don't worry. The document pages won't lose their text or text box linkages. (However, the new Single Page master won't have an automatic text box until you add one manually.)

Otherwise, if there *are* items on your Facing Pages master(s) you want to keep, you'll have to cut and paste those items to new Single Page masters first. Then drag those new Single Page master icons on top of the old Facing Page master icons.

Finally, if any of your document pages are still showing dog ears, do the same thing to them: Drag a blank Single Page or Single Page Master on top of them. They won't lose any text or images since they weren't based on a Master Page.

[Tip 2:] A fast way to apply a master page to a range of existing pages in QuarkXPress is to select the document pages in the Document Layout palette (Shift-click or Command/Control-click the icons), then Option/Alt-click the Master Page icon you want to apply to your selected pages.

It's interesting that this is still how it works in QuarkXPress 6, and the same Facing Pages to Single Pages workaround is necessary. Except that documents are referred to as "Layouts" and the menu item for turning Facing Pages on and off in an existing project is in Layout —> Layout Options.

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And the Contender: InDesign

InDesign 2.0.2 doesn't make you jump through hoops to change a document from Facing Pages to Single Page. Just go to File —> Document Setup and you'll see that the Facing Page checkbox is always editable.

The reason is that InDy (as it's known to its fans) allows users to create multiple-page Single Page masters. So when you start out with Facing Pages masters, and turn off the Facing Pages option in Document Setup, the Facing Pages masters convert to Single Page master spreads.

To apply a master page to an existing range of document pages in InDy, the same QuarkXPress trick works — select a bunch of document pages in the Pages palette, then Option/Alt-click a Master Page icon to apply it to them in one fell swoop.

The trick isn't necessary, though, since the Pages palette menu has an "Apply Master Pages" command that does the same thing. You enter in the page range just as you would if you were specifying a range for printing, and choose a Master Page from a drop-down menu.

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