QuarkXPress to InDesign conversion is easy, with Markzware‘s bundle of Q2ID InDesign plugins. In the following video interview, Brian Dekle, Editor at The Herald, Priority News, Inc., shares about his experience in using Q2ID to convert QuarkXPress files to InDesign, in his graphic design workflow for printing and publishing.
DAVID: Hello, everybody! David Dilling for Markzware, here. And, today, we have another customer interview, with a user of ours, Brian Dekle from The Herald. He’s an Editor at The Herald, and that’s down there in Florida, on the Georgia border, I believe. But why don’t we pass it on over to Brian and let him tell us what he does and what The Herald does, etc. Brian, how are you?
BRIAN: Oh, I can’t complain. How about you?
DAVID: Yeah, also can’t complain.
BRIAN: Well, as you mentioned, I am The Editor of The Herald. It’s a weekly newspaper, here in the community of Havana, Florida. That’s, as you said, in extreme north Florida, near the Georgia border. We cover all of Gaston County, which is obviously the county that encompasses Savannah.
Also, out of this office, our parent company, Priority News, Inc. I’m also the Editor of the Chattahoochee News Herald and Sneads Sentinel, which is actually one publication that covers the western portion of our county, as well as the eastern portion of the neighboring county, Jackson County, but the primary cities, there, are Chattahoochee, Florida, and Sneads, Florida. So, those two community weekly newspapers, we run out of this office, and I’m the Editor.
DAVID: Wow! Which, like, are you an InDesign user, yourself, as well?
BRIAN: Yes and no. At the time we purchased the software, I was doing all the layout for the newspaper, all the graphic design, as you know, putting ads where they need to go, stories where they need to go, and that sort of thing.
Now, since that time, we have hired a full-time graphic designer, our Creative Director, Heather Allen. And, so, yes, I have used InDesign and Quark, in the past, at the paper, but more recently, I’ve just been on the Editor side.
DAVID: Right, focusing on what you have. What’s your… What I’ve seen is a lot of editors use InDesign, out of necessity.
DAVID: And that’s how they have to get the copy ready or they have to help out with some stuff, every once in a while. Yeah, so, Brian, do you, like, for your layout… So, do you use a particular method, or do you have, like, templates, or how do you use them in InDesign?
BRIAN: Oh, yes, sir. We do have dummies, which if you’re not in the biz, the dummy is basically the paper layout with ads placed on there, but no content or copy, but the flag or The Herald, up at the top, and all the regular elements of the paper are in place.
So, we have that template, every week. Our graphic designer places the ads. Then, I load stories and that sort of thing, onto Google Drive, actually. And she starts laying them on the page. And, previously, I did that, myself, when we first started using Q2ID.
DAVID: Right, right, yeah. I hear a lot of people are using Google Drive these days, now, too, or other types, or forms, of that. That’s kind of interesting.
BRIAN: Yeah, after so many server crashes, we decided that was probably the way to go.
DAVID: Yeah, I know. Understandable, understandable. Okay, yeah. So, why don’t we jump into that? How did… How long have you been using Q2ID? How did you learn about Q2ID, actually, if you know that?
BRIAN: Well, it actually goes back to when we were using Quark. Historically, we’ve always used Quark, at this newspaper. And I say, “we,” proverbially. My predecessors had used Quark. Their predecessors had used Quark. Thus, we have about 10 years or more worth of archives, all in Quark format, Quark files.
And, so, anyway, last year, late 2018, I guess, I began having problems with our Quark software. I’m not sure if it was the computer, or the software, or what. But, at any rate, it began generating errors, crashing, and that sort of thing, so…
And one week, it just didn’t start up. Rather than try to remedy that situation, with a lot of our counterparts in the newspaper business, and elsewhere in publications, moving to InDesign, as well as the press that prints our newspaper, – they also primarily use InDesign – we decided we would take that as an opportunity to go ahead and move in that direction.
However, the problem with all newspapers and publications is we have to put out a paper every week. Thus, there’s really not a whole lot of transition time, there. We have to, immediately, be able to go for the next week.
So, it was going to prove problematic, to say the least, to try to rebuild all of these elements from the masthead, to the flag, to redoing style sheets, all the things that there are to do, that we had sent in Quark, in time for that next week’s paper. I mean, I would have been here all weekend trying to do that.
So, I began to look for other solutions, just on Google, and thought about the idea, “Well, I wonder if it’s possible to open a Quark document in InDesign, somehow?” And, so, I start Googling along those lines and found Q2ID as “conversion software” and, admittedly, I was skeptical, at first. I thought, “There’s no way this is going to go smoothly.” It may say, but it was highly reviewed, so, we gave it a try.
DAVID: Right. So, you checked out the reviews and all that and decided, “Well, it looks like…”
BRIAN: Oh, yeah, very favorably reviewed, so yeah.
DAVID: Right, yeah. We do not have a demo version, and that is a bit of a drawback, on one hand. On the other hand, that’s why we’re doing interviews, like these, because then people can hear, like, “Hey there’s a… Brian’s a real person.” And, so, you switched in 2018.
BRIAN: Right. So, like last year, basically. Yeah, late last year.
DAVID: Right. And, so, how was the process? Was it…? Was it Q2ID, itself? Was it easy to set up and to use?
BRIAN: It was, shockingly, smooth. I don’t know, if, at that point, I had gotten so jaded, by the problems we’ve been having by software, that I, cynically, didn’t expect it to go very smoothly. But we installed the plug-in, I guess, when we’d already installed InDesign.
For that first go, that first try, I guess, with InDesign, we just chose last week’s, the week prior’s, newspaper file, opened it InDesign, using Markzware [Q2ID] and there it was. It was shockingly smooth and seamless. All the style sheets were there, the frames were the proper sizes, the colors were correct.
It was as if I just picked up where we left off, last week. There was really no, or very minimal, adjustments to do. So, we just picked up where we left off.
DAVID: Awesome. That’s what we like to hear, yeah. Well, Q2ID. So, people who don’t know, it’s just really a one-click process and it did, like Brian says, it does the job. So, in all fairness, there will be some files that will need some touching up, but it depends on particulars. But, in general, it’s a very, like you just went over. It’s a very seamless process.
BRIAN: Yeah, I mean I can’t state enough how surprised I was at how well it worked. I mean, I have I guess dealt with major format conversions before and another software. If you asked me to tell you an example, I couldn’t think of it, on the spot, but I know I’ve dealt with conversion software like this, before, and just always generated a lot of errors. There’s been a lot of cleanup afterwards, in other words,…
BRIAN: …but, in this, it was amazing, which was great for me, because, at the time, we hadn’t yet hired a full-time graphic designer. I was doing all the layout and the Editor job. So, I mean, time was of the essence. There wasn’t a bunch of free time, to fix software problems.
BRIAN: And that’s why I’ve been going with the week’s prior. So, oddly enough that week probably went smoother than the previous six, even, with that new software, just because the InDesign was working better for us, and there was no cleanup with the Q2ID.
DAVID: Awesome. Yeah, that’s what we like to hear. So, I guess the price to pay, $199, was a no-brainer, at the end of the day.
BRIAN: Absolutely! I think so. I mean, I don’t sign the check, so I can’t say, but, in my view, absolutely. The alternative, because, not only was the alternative me staying over the weekend and rebuilding our dummy, our usual formatting for the next week’s paper, as I mentioned earlier, we have a decade or more of digital archives and Quark files.
And we have special features in our newspaper called, “Looking Back,” history flashback archives, as a lot of community papers do. So, we reference a lot of those old newspapers, to pull ten-years-ago stories, and that sort of thing, not to mention that we want access to our archives and that sort of thing.
BRIAN: So, that would have meant we would have, without Q2ID, we could have switched to InDesign, but we would have had to purchase a copy of Quark, at some point, at any rate, just to be able to open those old archive files.
So, basically, we would have had ten years’ worth of files that we had to use one program with and, then, going forward in InDesign. Now, I think that’s an inefficient way to do things.
DAVID: Right, right, yeah. No, it makes sense, so very good, very good. So, I guess this is the last question, and we’ll wrap it up. It’s pretty obvious, I think, but would you recommend Q2ID to others?
BRIAN: Absolutely! I absolutely would.
BRIAN: And, yeah, I’m usually skeptical about these testimonial things, like that, like this, but I hear you. I’m not “blowing sunshine,” as they say. I have just really been impressed with the process. It was so seamless and so easy and, when you’re in a business that deals with deadlines, that’s just essential.
BRIAN: It’s essential, just to be able to pick up, where you left off. And, so, anyone making the switch to from Quark to InDesign, or
perhaps vice versa, I didn’t look into enough, to see if you have the other direction, but maybe you do.
BRIAN: Okay, yeah. I mean, I would say it’s absolutely worth doing it. I mean, the time you save, alone, is hard… almost incalculable.
DAVID: Yeah. In aggravation, I can imagine.
BRIAN: Oh, yeah. Absolutely awesome.
DAVID: Well, let me get back here, to this web page and, yeah, I guess, the Priority News, that’s like your mother company, or what have you?
BRIAN: That’s correct.
DAVID: Right. And that’s where, these various publications, The Herald sits under. And you’re the Editor of those.
DAVID: And The Chattahoochee.
BRIAN: Yeah, that’s right.
DAVID: That’s a twister, for me.
BRIAN: Oh, yeah.
DAVID: And, if people want more information on your company, here’s where they can find it. That’s the newspaper, itself. And this is the mother company, so to speak. Priority News, Inc. And I’ll put links in the description, down below.
And I don’t know if you’re… I saw I found you on LinkedIn, here, as well. You look a little different. You’ve got you a little bit longer hair, back then, or whatever. You’ve got your guitar and everything.
BRIAN: Yeah that was… I leave those photos up. I miss long-hair Brian, as I called him. Long-hair Brian was a lot more fun than short-hair Brian.
DAVID: Oh, yeah. I mean, you’ve got the card. I’m gonna connect with you, here. If people want to check you on LinkedIn, that’s Brian over on LinkedIn, here.
And I love your little intro, here. “A few short decades ago, Americans looked up at the moon and the celestial bodies beyond, longing to explore the cosmos and discover the greatest secrets of our universe. Today, …” And, then, you go into how we just spend too much time looking down at our phones, or apps, or whatever it is.
DAVID: Very well said. Brian, thank you for your time and for dealing with the inclement weather.
BRIAN: Oh, thank you for putting up with it. I apologize on behalf of Mother Nature, in Florida.
DAVID: Oh, no problem. We really appreciate your testimonial and thank you for the time and we’ll be staying in touch.
BRIAN: I’m happy to do it. Thanks. And you have a great one.
DAVID: Alright. Take care.
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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QuarkXPress to InDesign Conversion: Editor, Brian Dekle, The Herald