Lock QuarkXPress Master Pages

August 31, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

QuarkXPress 6.x, as in previous versions, allows you to edit Master Page items right on the document pages themselves. In fact, unless you've memorized the make-up of the Master that the page is based on, there's no easy way to tell which items on a page are from its Master and which are "local" items you added to it outside of the Master. If you're working on a document page and choose Edit -> Select All, all items on the page are selected, including Master Page items. Press Delete/Backspace and poof! they're gone.

Sometimes, though, it would be nice to make it a little harder to modify Master Page items. Perhaps you've developed a template for freelancers, for example, and you don't want them accidentally editing your fine-tuned Master Page artwork and folios. Or maybe you'd like to be able to "Select All" on a document page and have Quark select everything *except* Master Page items, automatically.

With the advent of layers that can truly lock in QuarkXPress 6.x, you can do just that. Here's how:

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Starting with a New, Blank Document
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1. As soon as you create a New Document, open the Layers palette (Window -> Show Layers) and note that there's a default layer called, um, Default.

2. Lock the Default layer by clicking just once in its Lock column. You should see a padlock appear next to the layer name. Items on a locked layer are visible but unselectable —this layer will contain all Master Page items.

3. Create a new layer by clicking the New Layer icon in the upper left-hand corner of the palette. (Hint: The icon looks like a pre-schooler's rendition of a flying rectangle.) You can double-click the layer to rename it if you want. This layer, and any other new ones you might add, will contain all document page items.

That's it, you're done. When you're working on a document page, just make sure that the new layer you added (or any layer other than Default) is active before you try to put anything on the page. If the locked Default layer is active, you'll only get a padlock cursor, reminding you the layer is locked and you can't put anything on it while it's locked.

If you do need to edit a Master Page item on a document page, just unlock the Default layer first by clicking its padlock icon to turn it off. Edit as necessary, then lock the layer again.

You don't need to worry about switching layers or unlocking anything when you're working on a Master Page, because Quark's Master Pages are oblivious to the entire concept of layers. When a Master Page is active the Layer palette is disabled, greyed out. Meanwhile, everything you put on a Master gets placed on the Default layer without you having to think about it. So what if it's locked, that's ignored as well — interesting, and handy for our purposes.

This method offers a bunch of advantages. First, of course, is that with all Master Page items on a locked layer, it's impossible to accidentally edit or delete a Master Page item on a document page. (You have to think about it and explicitly *unlock* the Default layer first to get at it. Remember to lock it again!)

Now when you're on a document page, you can drag a selection marquee around a bunch of items and Master Page items are ignored (not selected). Similarly, Edit -> Select All selects only only document page items. A bonus is that you can easily hide Master Page items on a document page by clicking the Default layer's visibility icon, the eyeball (Icon courtesy of the same pre-schooler, I think) to turn it off. Click the visibility column again to show the items.

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Starting with an Existing Document
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So you're eager to use this tip to safeguard your Master Page items for some existing documents? Assuming you've got stuff on Master Pages as well as document pages, most likely everything is on the same Default layer. Before we can lock the layer, we have to move everything *except* Master Page items to a different layer, document page by document page.

You might think it'd be easier to do the reverse, especially if you've got only a few things on a Master Page. Why not just move those few Master Page items to their own new layer and lock *that* one? Well gosh darn, it would be easier, if only the Layers palette wasn't greyed out when you're on a Master Page! Can't even create a new layer, let alone move items to it. Ah well.

Back to Plan A. Depending on the complexity, this could take a minute or two, or sixty minutes or two. Not to worry, here's a way to speed things up.

1. Open the Layers palette and create a new layer, as above. Don't lock the Default layer yet.

2. Go to your Master Page, choose Edit -> Select All, and then group the Master Page items (Item -> Group). Do this for each Master Page/Spread, if you have more than one.

3. Go to the first document page and choose Edit -> Select All (Master Page items are selected as well, the default behavior). Hold down the Shift key and click on any item you *know* is from the Master Page (like a folio or a header). That deselects that item as well as all other Master Page items, since they were grouped. Now only document page items are selected.

4. Drag the selection proxy icon in the Layers palette (a dotted rectangle to the right of the layer name where the items currently reside) from the Default layer to the new one. That's how you move items from one layer to another. Since a bunch of things were selected, all selected items get moved to the new layer.

5. Go to the next document page/spread and repeat steps 3 and 4: Select all, deselect a Master item, drag the proxy. Do this for all remaining pages/spreads.

6. Lock the Default layer.

7. Go back to the Master Page(s), select the grouped items and ungroup them (Item -> Ungroup).

That's it, you're good to go.

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Quark 6 Layers Tiplet
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You may have noticed that Quark lacks a Layers menu. All you have to work with are the four weird palette icons. There are more features hiding in the Layers palette *context* menu — right-click or Control-click (Mac) on a layer in the palette to reveal them. For example, one such feature is "Select Items on Layer."

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