Markzware’s Q2ID Plugin Review

By LaurenMarie

Back when I wrote the Quark for InDesign Users articles, I was approached by Markzware, a company that makes several Quark and InDesign plugins. I know the folks over at InDesign Secrets love plugins, but I’ve never used any myself. Markzware kindly agreed to give me a copy of their plugin to try out and I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts!

Install and Activation

For reference, I tested the Q2ID plugin on Windows XP SP2 with QuarkXpress 7.3 (Passport) and InDesign CS3.

When I unzipped the product, there were 4 files, two PDFs and 2 .apln (Adobe extensions), one apln for CS2 and one for CS3. The PDFs were instructions for installing the plugin. I simply dragged and dropped the proper .apln file into my Plug-Ins folder as directed and launched InDesign.

I entered my activation code the when InDesign booted up. Installation was that easy!

Testing the Plugin

I tested a variety of Quark files, including an all-text manual created for digital output that contained links from the table of contents to specific text anchors and a simple one page flyer. I didn’t test any long documents or extremely complicated Master Page setups.

It’s quite simple to convert the documents. You just go to File>Open (Ctrl + O) and select your Quark file. Keep in mind that you will have to change File Type to All Files in order to see Quark files when you are in the Open dialog window.

So what works and what doesn’t with Q2ID?

What Works

Layers created in Quark seem to work perfectly well in InDesign, the colors and layer names are even maintained! I only did a very simple test (a layer with text and a layer with images), but layers are not complicated, anyway.

Items that were locked in my Quark documents stay locked in InDesign.

Q2ID Font Replacement

When I converted my QuarkXpress documents to InDesign, all the images were in their proper places. Very good! Text also transitioned well. If you’re missing fonts, you’ll get a pretty standard replace fonts dialog box and have a chance to fix them before getting into the document.

What Doesn’t Work

There are some significant things that are not supported by the Q2ID plugin at this time. However, bear in mind that if you are not using some of these features, it really won’t matter to you!

Hyperlinks and lists created in Quark won’t be ported over to InDesign. I used these as a significant basis for one of the projects that I tested, so this was a significant down side for me. As you can imagine, if you used lists in Quark to create hyperlinks, they will not transfer over to InDesign either.

Q2ID Master Page Objects

Although Master Pages are maintained and their objects show up on the pages in InDesign, the objects on the layout pages are not the InDesign Master Page items, they are copies of them. To fix this, you’ll have to delete all the instances of items that are on the layout page only and reapply the Master Page to the layout page. In the picture above you can see the original Master Page object (which I edited) below the copied object on the layout page.

This rather a big hassle, but I confirmed with Markzware that it is the due to the way that Quark and InDesign handle Master Page items and not an inherent defect in Q2ID. Quark essentially creates a copy of a Master Page item on the layout page. If you were to accidentally move that item on the layout page you would be creating another copy of it on the layout page. Although the Master Page and its objects are intact in InDesign, the master is not applied to the layout page at first. I have tried converting both locked items and unlocked items and the same thing happens (though locked items do remain locked in InDesign).

It Works But…

Some text was extended so it overflowed the text boxes. I think this is a problem due to custom tracking and kerning not translating well into InDesign.

Q2ID All Caps

The All Caps function from Quark will highlight the text it was used on in yellow in InDesign, but the text is still capped and it doesn’t export to PDF with the yellow highlights. If you select the text in InDesign and go to Type>Change Case>Uppercase the yellow goes away.

Auto Page numbers transferred over well in my tests. The Sections I had set up in Quark transferred, as well, the only small problem I encountered was the prefix I created in Quark was lowercase roman numerals and those were translated into regular numbers in InDesign. This was an easy fix in InDesign. Layout>Numbering & Section Options, drop down menu and select proper numbering style, though this could take a significant amount of time if you had a lot of sections.

Paragraph Styles indicate that there are local overrides (the little + icon next to the name), but when I cleared local overrides on most text, nothing shifted.

Just for you readers I did confirm with Markzware customer support that some of these things that don’t work are actually a byproduct of the way Quark and InDesign inherently handle files.

Conclusion

At $200 the Q2ID plugin is a little expensive for my budget, but some searching revealed to me that it is actually quite reasonably priced when compared to other such complex plugins. It’s certainly less time consuming that rebuilding your Quark files in InDesign. If you have a lot of files to convert from Quark to InDesign, I think the $200 investment is well worth it.

Have you used the Q2ID plugin from Markzware? I would love to hear about your experience with it!

Design Talk Board also has a review of Q2ID.