Quark XPress - Use Synchronization For Sharp Shadows On Text

Have you ever created a cool text effect using multiple text boxes with different treatments of the text? This is often done to create hard-edged shadows but also works for other interesting effects. This technique used to be problematic because if you edited the text you had to change multiple instances of it. This is a great use of the Sharing feature (called Synchronization in QuarkXPress 6) because it allows you to create multiple instances of the same content, each with its own formatting attributes. Here's how:

  1. Create a none-colored text box and type some text in it. Apply the basic formatting to the text, this will define the default formatting for the instances we--ll create later.
  2. Open the Shared Content palette (Window > Shared Content, or Window > Synchronized Text in QuarkXPress 6)
  3. With the text box selected, click the New button on the Shared Content palette (called the Synchronize Text button in QuarkXPress 6).
  4. In QuarkXPress 7 select your options in the Shared Item Properties dialog. I recommend leaving Synchronize Box Attributes checked (so that changes to the box size are synched across all instances); Synchronize Content must be checked, with Content Only selected (this way we can style each instance differently). QuarkXPress 6 will only let you name the shared entry. Sharing text (or Synchronizing) puts the original text in what we call the Layout Independent Space within your project and replaces the original with an instance of the item and/or content. The entry in the Layout Independent Space is available in all layouts contained within a project.
  5. Drag another instance of the box out of the Shared Content palette (or in QuarkXPress 6 draw another text box and drag the text entry from the Synchronization palette to it). Position the new box with some offset from the original box and change some of its formatting attributes.

A basic color juxtaposition will give you an effect similar to a drop shadow, but there are many other creative options...

In the example above I used an outline version of the font on the top to give it some extra kick, in addition to a true QuarkXPress 7 soft Drop Shadow on each instance (which itself was synchronized since I synchronized the box attributes as well as the text).

I also like to place each instance on its own Layer (Window > Layers) to help keep them organized and easy to show/hide or select. Now any edits you make to either instance will automatically apply to other instances without changing the other instances formatting. For example in my sample I can change "20%" to "15%" once even though my final version is made up of three separate text boxes.

Have fun!

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