Quark and PDFs
August 25, 2006 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Does Quark play well with exporting PDFs?

I have a client who has multi-page printed documents/applications. They were designed by a printing company, which has them in Quark. (I don't know the version of Quark.)

My idea is that printer can export the files into PDFs that I can use on a website project, saving us from re-typing all those pages or scanning by hand.

However, would those PDFs allow me to select text for copy/paste purposes?

And if possible, is this a quick exporting task for the printer - just a few button clicks?
posted by fijiwriter to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I used Quark for three years with my school's literary magazine - you can either print the files to a PDF using a PDF Converter like PrimoPDF, or (even simpler) there's an option in Quark under File > Export > Export as PDF. So, yes, the printer should easily be able to give you the files as PDFs.

And yes, you should be able to copy+paste text from a PDF.
posted by Zephyrial at 7:28 AM on August 25, 2006

Native Quark-generated PDFs tend to be problematic, since Quark's internal PDF generator is both relatively basic and relatively nonstandard. However, this strategy should work fine for the simple Web use scenario you've outlined above.
posted by killdevil at 7:34 AM on August 25, 2006

Adobe's Acrobat Distiller can do the same "Fake Printer" method. It's a little clunky, and more paper options are necessary to set in the Quark print interface before distilling, but it'll make PDFs fine (with copy/pastable text).

One problem you may run into in the copy/paste method is page breaks showing in the plain text you paste. (These publishing programs put text into a series of linked text boxes, and the links seem to flow nicely in PDFs from column to column but not from page to page). So you may have to go over the text with a hard copy to make sure there aren't paragraph breaks where the text should flow together (or if the header/footer are copied as well and need deletion).

What's the approximate page count you're looking at? Tens of pages? Hundreds?
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:47 AM on August 25, 2006

Which platform & version of Quark? Quark 6.5 on a Mac is pretty smooth; in addition you can set up job options that can keep the file size relatively low. As cowbellmoo said, you can also do the "print to file" via Distiller directly.
posted by omnidrew at 8:26 AM on August 25, 2006

cowbellemoo, the number of pages is around 30. I'm trying to save us from using development time by either scanning or hand-typing.
posted by fijiwriter at 8:29 AM on August 25, 2006

The platform that Quark is on doesn't matter. You can get PDF's exported from Quark and any decent DTP. But, as cowbellemoo mentions, copy and paste from PDF itself can be problematic.

What I usually do is use the PDF (or printed version) as a reference and ask the developer to give me a text or RTF file and copy and paste from that.
posted by juiceCake at 8:48 AM on August 25, 2006

generally: yes, you can export editable pdf's from quark. but you should get someone who knows how to do it on the job. quark is an old, strange, complicated program.

use indesign. it's so easy...
posted by krautland at 9:08 AM on August 25, 2006

You should be fine. Alternately, the printer could probably just cursor into the text in Quark and select all/copy/paste into an email. Depending on how it's formatted, of course.

If they have someone smart enough to make a PDF through quark there, I'm sure they'd find a way to get you the text through an alternate method if (by chance) it wasn't working.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:12 AM on August 25, 2006

Yes, it should be a relatively quick process (barring any PostScript errors and depending on the phase of the moon). Just make sure, when you get the files, you visually inspect everything just to make sure nothing went wonky. This is especially true if they have vector graphics that may include embedded fonts.
posted by evil holiday magic at 2:27 PM on August 25, 2006

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