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Irregular Text Boxes

As well as the Bézier-style tools in QuarkXPress, it is possible to incorporate text and picture boxes in unusual shapes by using the fonts available to you.

Begin by placing a Text Box with square corners (any size-you can alter it later) into a blank document.

Then with a suitable "chunky" font such as Arial Black, Helevetica Black etc., type in an ampersand (&).

With your Content Tool, highlight this character and go to the Measurements Palette and type in a font size of 400 pt (Here I'm using QuarkXPress 7, so your palette may vary slightly).

QuarkXpress measurements palette

Make sure the character is highlighted and go to STYLE...Text to Box.

A duplicate of the character is created automatically in Bézier form.

Select the original with the Item Tool and delete it.

Select the Bézier version with the Item Tool and, if necessary increase the size of it. (This can be done via the Measurements Palette by looking at the Width and Height windows and typing, for example, *2 after the measurement (this will increase the dimension by two-fold. (Of course there are other ways of doing this, but it's not a bad tip.)

By default, the new shape is a picture box (denoted by the cross in it). If you want, you can use it as a picture box by going to FILE...Get Picture.
From there, you can use ITEM...Modify...Picture to manipulate the picture as you like. You can also add a border to the frame by going to ITEM...Modify Frame.

However if you wish to use the frame as a Text Box, go to ITEM...Content...Text. The box will now have been converted to a text box.

With the Content Tool selected (important!), go to FILE...Get Text (might be Import Text depending on which version you're using) and fill the shape with text. Using a small font (6-7 point)and with tight leading and justified works best).

You will notice that the text does not completely fill the shape yet. Go to ITEM...Modify...Text and make sure the "Run Text Around All Sides" box is checked.


Note: If you use a shape with two separate components such as a question mark, the text will flow between both components without a link being formed. This is because the box is shaped using a compound path.


Bezier text box

Click here for examples of text and picture boxes with borders.