The practice of tagging text files with formatting tags allows you to import raw text files generated by database exports or online feeds into QuarkXPress using the XPress Tags filter. During the import process, the XPress Tags filter interprets the tags and communicates formatting information to QuarkXPress, which then applies the formatting to the imported text. In order for the tags to be read correctly by QuarkXPress 8, you not only need to enter the formatting tags for the text itself, but also need to prefix the tagged text with a tag that identifies the QuarkXPress version you are using and the text encoding tag. Header tags with older version information or no version/encoding information will cause QuarkXPress to import the text unformatted. Since QuarkXPress 7 and later are both Unicode and OpenType compliant, you may also want to double-check the tags that you have entered for the text to ensure that you are referencing font, style sheet, and OpenType options correctly.

If your XPress Tags file does not import into QuarkXPress 8 or 9 with the correct formatting, open the text file with a text editing application such as BBEdit, Text Edit (Mac), or Notepad (Windows). if you import the text file into QuarkXPress8 or 9 using the XPress Tags filter, the first line of text should read:

Version 8- <v8.00><e8>

Version 9- <v9.50><e8>

These tags identify the text file as an XPress Tags file and the text encoding as Unicode. If these tags are missing, place them on their own line in the first line of text and re-save the text file.

IMPORTANT NOTE!: if you are going to use the <e8> Unicode encoding for the XPress Tags import, you must save the text file as a Unicode file. If you use an <e8> encoding and save the file as Mac Roman, it may crash QuarkXPress, or fail to import. The encoding tag, the saved XPress Tag file, and the encoding listed in the Import dialog should match for best results.

Import the text into QuarkXPress 9. Ensure that you have checked Convert Quotes and Interpret XPress Tags.

TIP: Whether you save text out of QuarkXPress or type your own tags into the text, you should name your text file with the three-letter file extension .XTG. This naming convention allows the operating system to identify the file type with QuarkXPress.

If you are in doubt about the syntax of the tags you are entering, you can follow these steps to create an XPress Tags file that uses the correct syntax:

  1. In a QuarkXPress layout that has your desired style sheet or styling attributes applied to text in a text box, go to File > Save Text.

  2. Name your file with an .xtg file extension in the Save Text dialog.

  3. In the Format pop-up menu select XPress Tags, and in the Encoding pop-up menu choose Unicode (UTF-16). (Since QuarkXPress 9 is Unicode compliant, this is the best encoding method to choose when saving text.)

  4. Click Save.

  5. Go to File > New to create a new project. In the New Project dialog, select Automatic Text Box and click OK.

  6. In the new project, click on the automatic text box on the first page of the file and go to File > Import. Before clicking Open, uncheck Convert Quotes and Interpret XPress Tags.

  7. Click Open.

The unparsed XPress Tags file will import into the Automatic text box. Look through the tags and note the syntax of the various styling options you have chosen