Ruth Thaler-Carter, “I can write about anything!” (WriterRuth.com), uses Adobe InDesign CS6 (Creative Suite 6) DTP / desktop publishing software. David Dilling interviewed her and, among the topics mentioned, they discussed Markzware‘s MarkzTools2 bundle, which includes a MarkzTools Adobe CS6 plugin which can open InDesign CC version files within InDesign CS6. The bundle also includes the MarkzTools2 application that can open InDesign CC version files in IDML, which is readable by InDesign CS6. Here is the video and interview discussion:
DAVID: Hi, everybody! And, today, we have on the line, on the Skype, Ruth Thaler-Carter. And I hope I said it correctly, but we’ll hear in a moment from Ruth herself. And she’s from “I can write about anything!” And that’s really the company name.
And she has some other endeavors, as well. So, we’ll throw it over to Ruth, right away and, then, she’s going to tell us about what she does and about how she uses Markzware‘s MarkzTools in her InDesign workflow. So, Ruth I’m going to find you on Skype. Are you there? You are. How are you doing today?
RUTH: I’m doing great. This is very flattering. Thank you.
DAVID: Oh, no. Thank you! This is great, too. This technology, nowadays. I see a lot of purple. Does the purple mean anything significant for you or is it… ?
RUTH: It’s my favorite color and, over the years, I’ve become kind of famous for everything that I have, being almost everything. I do try to throw in a little bit of variety, but almost everything I have being purple. So, maker. I have…
One of the things people know about me is I have a collection, that of something like, well, I’ve never counted them, but several hundred purple bears.
DAVID: Oh, my gosh! You’ve got like a niche market, even. Bears!
RUTH: And outfits and jewelry and…
DAVID: Wow! That’s amazing! Well, purple is the color of royalty, so you’re in a good color.
RUTH: That’s true. And I am the queen of networking, so it works.
DAVID: Yeah, there you go. And you’re apparently the queen of writing, as well. Maybe you could tell us a bit more about I can write about anything!, what exactly you do. I’m sure you write, but…
RUTH: I do write. I’ve been writing for pay and professionally, since high school. I sold my first couple of articles back in those days. We won’t say how far back, but in those days. And I currently write articles for several trade association and nonprofit publications.
I also write and edit a blog called An American Editor, which my colleague, Rich Adin, handed off to me, a couple of months ago, which was very flattering. He’s somebody I respect quite a lot. And I have been writing a regular column for that blog about freelancing in general and, not necessarily editing, but things related to editing.
What else do I do? I also write, edit and desktop produce, using InDesign and some of the Markzware tools, newsletters for a couple of nonprofits and membership associations. What else? And I edit and proofread material for everything from a couple of law firms, a PR firm, a number of publications, a magazine on gardening, one for people who are glass artists, which is just fascinating stuff.
RUTH: And, basically, anything and everything that people ask me to do, I do turn.
DAVID: And what about maybe more about InDesign, now. So, how long have you been using InDesign, or how long have you been in desktop publishing? Since the beginning or…?
RUTH: I’ve been using InDesign, since before version 4 of PageMaker. It might have even been as early as version 2, but I know I was using PageMaker 4 and loved it, so I’ve I’ve been doing desktop publishing with PageMaker and, then, with Quark for a couple of projects, for a long time.
RUTH: The Quarks were sort of imposed on me. I always found PageMaker and then InDesign a little easier to use and I’m not an artist. Quark was oriented more toward the graphic artist. PageMaker and InDesign, I think you need some graphic arts types of skills or at least that kind of perspective and that kind of an eye…
RUTH: But the PageMaker to InDesign program is really designed more for people who are layout and publication and typography people, than it is for people who are purely graphic artists.
DAVID: Right, right. And so, now, you still do some InDesign work, I gather, then, for your clients and…
RUTH: Oh, absolutely. I do two, essentially two types of InDesign work. One is laying out and putting together newsletters, usually for a few clients, and the other is helping independent authors put their books together. So, again, I’m not a graphic artist.
I will use, for the artwork for somebody’s newsletter or book, I will use artwork that they provide, whether it’s illustrations or photos. I know how to use Photoshop and InDesign, to manipulate those images. I don’t create the images. And then, I do for the book projects, I have a couple of templates that I’ve created, that I can use pretty much any book that comes in.
DAVID: Right. You’re like a layout artist. Yes. You’re making the…
RUTH: Yeah. And I’m not… I’m self-trained. And I’m not… I wouldn’t really call myself a layout artist, but I am a skilled layout person.
DAVID: Right. Yeah. That’s good. Yeah. Production.
RUTH: I don’t want credit for something I’m not.
DAVID: No. That’s very good. Yeah. It’s very okay. So, that’s clear. You have vast experience with InDesign desktop publishing and, of course, writing is your forte. And how did you first hear about Markzware?
RUTH: I’m trying to remember. I think it was I had a project in Quark. Quark had moved up to the next version.
DAVID: Oh, yes.
RUTH: And I didn’t really want to invest in a new version of Quark, because I was using it so very, very rarely. And I was looking for a way to open the Quark document and be able to work on it somehow, preferably in InDesign. And I think, at the time…
DAVID: Sorry. Found a new feature. I can take a snapshot. So, we’ll do it. Smile. Okay. Now, back to your story. Sorry.
RUTH: …at the time, yeah. So, I didn’t want to spend the money on an upgrade to Quark, because there was only one client who used it, and they were fine with my working in InDesign, at that stage.
So, I was looking for some way to simply open the Quark program and, if nothing else, work on it, and I believe, at the time, Quark 6, because I didn’t want to upgrade to 7 and Markzware came up as the resource for doing that.
RUTH: And it turned out that, not only would you let me open an older version of Quark, but that you also have the capability to help remove something from Quark into InDesign. And I practically turned handsprings, because there was at least the one project!
There were older issues from that project that I could then open and, if I needed to do something with and, if somebody then sent me a Quark document that had to use the newer version, I could still work with it, because the Markzware product would make that possible.
RUTH: It was great!
DAVID: Right. Wow! That’s pretty cool! So, yeah, and then, you found our other product, Q2ID, which converts Quark documents into InDesign.
RUTH: Right, yeah. And that’s been incredibly useful. That’s been because, again, I’m pretty good with Quark, but I’m very good with InDesign. And it just made it so much easier to work on those projects.
I haven’t had or needed to do that in a while, but I figure it’s something to keep updated. The Markzware version of things is something, to keep updated no matter what, because, even if it’s just a one-page flyer, something is bound to come in Quark, eventually.
DAVID: Right. Yeah, yeah. It’s one of those tools you just want to have in the toolbox. Yeah, good point.
RUTH: Yes. And the price is reasonable and the usefulness is just especially, again, for those kinds of projects where otherwise I’d either have to spend money that really isn’t… What’s the word? I’d have to spend money that really isn’t worth spending…
RUTH: …for something so limited. And it’s also, not just a money investment, it’s just sort of a nuisance factor.
RUTH: And, if it weren’t for Markzware, there would be projects I might have to turn down.
DAVID: Right. It’d just be too much redoing, reworking. Yeah. Yeah.
RUTH: Yeah, for one project every couple of years, or even for one project a year, unless it’s some huge thing, it wouldn’t be cost-effective to upgrade Quark. It’s a hassle, for me, anyhow, to use Quark, so there’s a nuisance factor, and it just wouldn’t make any sense. So, thanks to Markzware, I can. I’m prepared, regardless of what comes in, I’m prepared to do the project the way that’s the most comfortable for me.
DAVID: And this is the next question. Which version of InDesign do you use, currently?
RUTH: I am currently using CS6. I tried the Cloud version, the new current version, did not like it, and then, had several… more than a year, where I could only do my layout projects on my laptop, because every time I tried to open something on my desktop machine, which is an iMac, it would revert to the Cloud version, and then, of course, not open, because I hadn’t bought that version.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a new Mac. I recently moved from my hometown of Rochester back to St. Louis, where I lived, years ago. I found a new Mac consultant. He came over, and we were looking at some other things, and I said, “Oh, by the way, can you help me figure out how to use InDesign CS6, which I prefer to the Cloud version?” And it turned out that, because the cloud version was still on my computer, even though it was just the trial version…
RUTH: …to run out. It was blocking access to the previous version. So, when we uninstalled that, now, I can work in my beloved CS6, again. And I’m very happy. And one of these days, I’ll have to upgrade, but I’m resisting as long as possible.
DAVID: Yeah. You know how it works, and it’s familiar, and that’s a lot of people.
RUTH: Yes. Yeah, it took a little adjustment to go from PageMaker to InDesign. So, I don’t think I’m quite ready to readjust, unless I absolutely have to.
DAVID: Right. Right. Yeah, well.
RUTH: As the saying goes here, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
DAVID: Yeah, that’s right. That’s really what it’s all about. And, like you said, you’re also not a professional graphic designer.
DAVID: You’re using it just for layout production, really.
DAVID: And, if it works, it works, so…
RUTH: And the only possible glitch I foresee is, if somebody sends me an InDesign document in the newer version, and I have trouble opening it. But then, I’d get in touch with you. It’s classic that the older version of most programs will not open a newer version…
RUTH: But the newer version will open pieces, going down.
RUTH: Although sometimes you get something in version 3, and the new version won’t open in anything lower than 5, and you’re still stuck.
RUTH: But that makes sense because, otherwise, nobody would ever upgrade, if they didn’t have to do, they wouldn’t do it.
DAVID: That’s where Markzware‘s MarkzTools, the latest version, which is InDesign specific, will allow you to open the higher version InDesign files, CC 2019, 18, whatever, in CS6 or even CS5 and so forth, CS4 as a matter of fact even, as well, because there’s a standalone part of MarkzTools nowadays, which will convert…
DAVID: …any InDesign file into IDML. And IDML can be used in any version of InDesign CS4 or higher.
RUTH: What I’ve gotten, in the past year or so, there have been I think two instances, where somebody sent me a version of a project in the Cloud version of InDesign. So, it would just be nice not to have to tell people that and reveal that I’m using an older version of something. I don’t want my clients to think that I’m not up to date on the current stuff or that I don’t care.
DAVID: Exactly. Yeah, you don’t want to bother them with that extra worry.
RUTH: Exactly. It doesn’t matter for them, actually, but this way…
DAVID: With just a click,… Yeah. You get the newer version InDesign in the older version and it just works.
RUTH: That’s one of the great things about the Markzware tools that I have used is that they’re so easy to use. And my clients don’t… most of what I send back to somebody is in PDF. So, they don’t have to see an InDesign version of anything, but there might be the occasional client, who wants the source files, which makes sense.
RUTH: And if I’m going to send them back something, they, again, don’t really care, because they can open it at their end, if I’m using a version older than theirs. But, because Markzware is so easy to use, it just makes things easier at my end and more efficient and more productive.
DAVID: Yeah, great, great, great. Well, good. Well, what I’m going to do now, I’m going to show folks your webpage, so they can see.
RUTH: Thank you. I just made a new portfolio section.
DAVID: Okay. Let me see, here. Oh, yeah, Portfolio. So, this is the web page, WriterRuth. Or “WriteHerTruth,” I was going to say.
RUTH: No, no, no. Well, I write truth, but it is WriterRuth. Two Rs in the middle.
DAVID: Right. Dot com. WriterRuth writes truth. That could… Whoa. That’s a tongue twister.
RUTH: I like that. That might be my new motto.
DAVID: Yeah. Nice. And, of course, Ruth, your web page is in a purple frame. Oh, now, we know why.
RUTH: Yeah. And here’s Portfolio, right here. Well, you scroll down and you get a bit more about what Ruth has done. And you see a lot of different who, what, why, when, where, how, but here’s the portfolio.
RUTH: That’s because I come from a journalism background, so, instead of About and whatever the other classic tag lines are for those pages, I use the journalism mantra of who, what, when, where, and why and how.
DAVID: Yeah, that’s great. Yeah. There’s who and there’s some more information on Ruth. So, I’ll put a link down below in the video, so you can check out more about Ruth. And here is Ruth on LinkedIn. And, like I typically do, I’ll try to connect with Ruth, now. And I’ll send a request. And you get more information on Ruth, there.
RUTH: I closed the email program, so that things don’t disrupt our conversation. So, I will accept that later, today.
DAVID: Oh, thank you. No rush. Thank you, Ruth. And more information on Ruth, there. And you can see some of her background. Well, it was really a pleasure talking to you, Ruth. We have some great stories.
RUTH: In addition to the Ruth at WriterRuth.com, “I can write about anything!”, which is my primary business, – That’s my writing, editing, proofreading, etc. – I also do some public speaking, but I also own something called Communication Central, which is a separate business that hosts… The primary activity is hosting an annual conference for other freelancers,…
RUTH: …and primarily freelancers in the publishing and editorial world, but I’ve had a few people show up to some of those sessions who have businesses in totally other areas, because some of the conference information is helpful, regardless of what kind of business you run. This conference is October 11th through 13th, here in St. Louis. And, if anybody is interested, the website for that business is www.communication-central.com.
DAVID: Okay, well, let me just pull it up here, real quick and then, we can…
RUTH: Thank you. And that one is not purple, because I deliberately chose colors that would establish a separate graphic identity.
DAVID: Yeah, they’re very good. Yeah.
DAVID: Let’s see here. Communication Central. Did I spell it… ?
DAVID: Oh, yeah. Gateway to Success.
DAVID: 14th annual?! Wow!
RUTH: This is my first year, partnering with another organization. The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors is my co-host, this year, but up until this year, David, I have done this by my… The first year or two, I had a business partner with Communication Central, but I was doing most of the programming and so forth. And, since probably 2000… I’m going to say 2008, I’ve been doing this, on my own.
DAVID: Wow! And what… ?
RUTH: So, it’s very exciting to have a co-host and a little bit less work to have to have.
DAVID: Yeah, I could imagine. That’s something! And how many people do you expect?
RUTH: I’m hoping… We don’t really want a huge turnout. I’m hoping we get maybe 150.
DAVID: Oh, yeah, that’s…
RUTH: Yeah, which is more than enough to have a really good opportunity, to learn from each other, and interact with presenters, and do things, in those 2 to 3 days, where you’re not lost in a sea of hundreds of faces, and the speakers are some little speck at the far end of the auditorium kind of a thing. I like keeping it smaller than that.
DAVID: Right. Yeah, more intimate. I see here some of the speakers. You have actually quite a few speakers, here, going on.
DAVID: So, that’s really great. It’s a good way to network.
RUTH: And I’ve had wonderful support and input from the people who present and the previous attendees have all been very enthusiastic about it. So, they’ve even come to little, humble Rochester, New York, for this program, year after year.
RUTH: So, now, we’re going to see if the central location in St. Louis might bring people from both coasts into the middle and that’s why we’re calling it Gateway to Success, because St. Louis – I don’t know if you’d be aware of this – but St. Louis is known as the Gateway to the West.
DAVID: Yeah. Yeah, that arch is… Right?
RUTH: Yes, St. Louis gateway arch, welcoming people to the expansion of the territory.
DAVID: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, excellent! Ruth, well, it was a pleasure speaking with you.
RUTH: Thank you.
DAVID: I wish you luck with all your writing and your show. How do you call it? Your event?
RUTH: My annual conference.
DAVID: Yeah. And, yeah, thank you very much.
RUTH: Well, thank you, again, David, for the Markzware tools, because, as I said, I find them very helpful, and they have definitely made a big difference in certain projects that I couldn’t have done without them, because I would have had to spend more money on something I didn’t really need. So, I’m very happy with them.
DAVID: Excellent! Well, great. Well, thank you, Ruth.
RUTH: Thank you, sir. I’m going to get back to work and do some writing.
DAVID: Yeah, excellent! Well, you have a great day, yeah?
RUTH: You, too. Thanks!
DAVID: Okay. One second here.
Markzware, a privately-held company based in Santa Ana, California, is the leading software publisher providing solutions for printing quality control and desktop publishing conversion tools. Markzware supports major graphic software layout applications used by creative professionals, printers and publishers in the international graphic arts, printing and digital multimedia industries.
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