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dave mckay
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Formatting Department Policies

These no doubt need some revision and I have refered to Quark while I mostly prefer InDesign today, but the principles of working consistently and responsibly remain.

Work on jobs in a consistent manner. There should only be one version of a job in a recognized place on a server or workstation at any time or work can be done on a workstation and then the version on a server updated at the end of a session. There should never arrise any question of what version of a job is current. There should not be multiple versions of a job.

You should be scrupulous about removing files you know to be of no further use from Job Folders when you work on them. Find files that you created but which are no longer needed and delete them.

Don't begin work unless the Production Co-ordinator has approved your doing so. Work may be passed on to you by someone else but it's your responsibility to make certain that the Production Co-ordinator knows what you are doing.

Name Job Folders and XPress Documents with a Docket Number (if applicable) followed by the Abbreviated Client Name then a job description. i.e. 3659 Versa 1995 AR. (AR=Annual Report).

Set up XPress Preferences to suit your job as early as possible. (i.e. default box colours, default run-around, etc.) this relieves everyone who works on the document from having to edit most or all of the objects they create one by one. I am told that service providers prefer white backgrounds where you can. In full colour work with close cut artwork this is usually impossible. Always set the text inset for the default text box to 0 in the preferences!

Try to get an idea from the designer of the Hyphenation & Justification settings they would prefer and employ them from the first proof. Generally you should make the standard hyphenation four characters before, three after and a maximum of two hyphens in a row for its defaults and create a second hyphenation called none the same but with auto hyphenation off. This avoids having to manually force words and force breaks, a practice that can result in hours of extra work if the document is reflowed at any point with the addition or deletion of text.

Wherever possible set up XPress documents so that the Page Numbering corresponds to the real folio number as it will appear in the printed document. This can be accomplished by using section starts regardless of the document configuration and makes it possible to use auto page numbering and also to find pages by using go to page commands.

Name Style Sheets in a consistent fashion so that everyone can understand them and so that there are no possible conflicts between keyboard shortcuts and normal keyboard commands. I recommend using code combinations to name style sheets.

Co = contents
Pa = part
Ch = chapter
He = head
Tx = text
Li = List
Bo = boxed

Follow names with a number to indicate level (He1 = head one = the first level of head) and use the same number where possible for the kepad shortcut. So, the style sheet for the main type of list in boxed text would be called BoTxLi01. The first-level part head would be PaHe01. The second-level head associated with the many body text style would be Tx01He02. Associating head style names with their associated text style name keeps related style types together in the style sheet lists.

Give similar types of style sheet shortcuts the same key strokes preceding their numerals. For example make all text styles option control keypad-#. Never use a key stroke for a shortcut that means something else to the software. This is a spectacular waste of time if someone else has to work on your job, and can lead to quite considerable and unexpected formatting errors.

  • Don't use command-0 or command-1 as keyboard shortcuts as they mean "fit in window" and "size as" respectively in Quark.
  • Never assign naked numeric keypad strokes for keyboard shortcuts. Doing so defeats the purpose of having a numeric keypad. Someone else will try to type a numeral and the style sheets will GO WILD!
  • Never use function keys (F1 - F15) for keyboard shortcuts as they are used by both applications and by the OS in conjunction with every possible modifier key.

If a style sheet needs some explanation due to its unusual nature, follow the numeral with a bracketed note or description to remind you what it is. If a text, head or caption style etc. belong together (Say they all are used on blocks of text with narrow margins.) use the same bracketed (i.e.. narr marg) description wherever possible to refer to them. Please follow these examples:

Tx01 (first para)
option control keypad-1
Tx02 (indented)
option control keypad-2
Tx03 (narr marg)
option control keypad-3
He01 (bold)
option control shift keypad-1
He02 (2nd colour)
option control shift keypad-2
Ca01 (signature)
Ca02 (narr marg)

If you do this from the beginning of a job you may avoid costly time delays in the error correction stage of each docket or job. Furthermore, should you be asked to change styles within a document please make sure that the changes are applied as much as possible through the style sheets.

Unless you are very lucky it is unlikely that the designer thought too much about the Setup for Formatting when they set up the style sheets. You must overcome this by recreating the style sheets. First "suck up" new style sheets from the Design Sample if the Style Sheet Dialogue indicates variation (a "+" after the Style Sheet Name). Make certain that the Paragraph Formats are optimally set. Keep 2 lines together in all body copy. Keep heads and subheads with the following paragraph etc. Make certain that Based On and Followed By make useful sense in the Style Sheet setup.

Avoid making a Style Sheet for every little thing. Use them as much as possible to set up paragraphs that occur throughout a substantial part of the document. Odd bits should be modified from the most relevant style sheet on an individual basis, or, for unique text, given no style and structured on there own in isolation from set styles. Avoid the Normal style sheet like a contagious disease. I suggest setting up the normal style sheet as based on Tx02 (the most common indented style in most documents) with the alteration that it displays in magenta. That way you can see where text is tagged incorrectly by its colour. Do not base any style sheet on the normal style sheet.

When you receive Text From a Client, odds are that it will be in typed manuscript form. You need to do things to it to make it typesetting. Import it into an XPress Galley Document, that is one with no real page format except for the correct column width and style sheets. Do search and replace to find Common Typesetting Errors.

a) replace space-space with space;
b) replace space-tab and tab-space with tab
c) replace tab-tab with tab
d) replace space-return and return-space with return;
e) replace return-return with return
d & e also apply to force pages (enter) and shifted force pages.

You must repeat each step until the number of replaced items drops to 0.

With luck the text is supplied all with a style sheet of normal. If not, you can not safely search and replace returns. XPress sees that as a provocation to change the next paragraph style sheet to match the one before it. Inform your Production Co-ordinator if this is a significant problem because manually removing such inputting errors can be very time consuming and should be billed as an extra.

Try to be consistent with Dashes and Hyphens. Regardless of the copy supplied you should confirm with the Designer and the Editor or Proofreader the manner in which you will apply them with regards to spacing etc. Preferences vary from client to client.

If you create Placed Images in another application to be imported into an XPress picture box, leave only one image relevant to one picture box in each document. Don't put a bunch of logos on one page and crop out the one you want once you bring it into XPress. This practice makes huge files, slows redraws, sometimes allows updating pictures to move placed images to 0,0 in their picture box, makes things hard to position and impossible to centre, and can result in postscript errors as XPress struggles to interpret for output.

Wherever possible leave Placed Images at 0,0 for x,y co-ordinates within their picture boxes, and move the picture box to position the image. This is only possible if the creator of the placed artwork was consciencious about it when the artwork is created. Doing so prevents XPress from taking the liberty of rearranging some of your images whenever you update pictures. This seems only to be a concern if you have moved the picture with the grabber hand. Command shift-m (middle or centre), command shift-f (fill box), and command option/alt shift-f (fit in box) don't seem to be subject to the wandering picture problem. Later versions of XPress may have overcome this.

Make Text Boxes containing Financial Tables 1p wider than other text boxes to accommodate hung brackets and keep the left and right indents for rules consistent throughout the document.

Wherever possible set up financial tables so that all the lines have the same tab specifications regardless of whether the figures in that line include dollar signs or brackets. It must be possible to change the alignment of all the dollar signs or brackets in a chart without wasting the time to do each line individually.

Make left tabs for the position of dollar signs and "Align On: )" tabs for the figures. Add additional tab strokes in the lines where dollar signs do not occur. The last tab in a financial table should come out to the full normal column width (shy of the additional pica added to the table's text box).

Don't leave elements on the Pasteboard around XPress pages unless you need them. Delete any elements that you don't need on the output pages. These elements, if left, waste storage space on drives and increase the time and cost of output. They may, from time to time, even generate postscript errors.

Be sure to create Similar Elements in a consistent way. If a chart uses a rule above to separate it from text then use rule above in all similar cases. Don't use rule below in the paragraph before to achieve the same effect elsewhere. It may look right in the first draft but it plays hell with the alterations. Be paranoid about consistency of text formatting and graphic elements throughout each document. This applies particularly to spacing of all sorts.

Use leading, space before or space after rather than using Baseline Shift to position blocks of type. Baseline shifting makes selecting text very difficult. It is fine for individual words or characters though.

All jobs should be spell checked before sending First Proofs to a laser printer. Before handing proofs over to a proof reader, editor, or production co-ordinator, check that all copies of original manuscript as well as design information are together. The first page should be dated and the proof version number should be indicated. When proofs are returned particularly first proofs, you should avoid work on them unless they have been proof read as well as checked for design considerations. Time is often wasted by doing type corrections first and design corrections separately. If the design was thorough, the designer should only have to check the first pass. If you need to have design checks on subsequent passes you are working with designers who design as they go. This can become very time consuming so be certain to notify the Production Co-ordinator and bill design changes as hourly extras.

If you are working hourly, let the production co-ordinator know if for any reason a job is using more time than they budgeted for. This is especially true if more design or editorial changes are being made than they anticipated. You should be working to an budget of hours. Pay attention to this budget.

If you might not make a Deadline, tell the Production Co-ordinator ASAP.

Check-mark each of the Corrections you do with a coloured marker as you go. Make these marks on the hard copy supplied with the changes. This will minimize the number of missed corrections. Use a question mark for instructions that don't make sense and an exclamation mark for instructions that are contradictory.

Read around your correction to see if it makes sense. If it doesn't, consult the Editor or Proofreader.

Your dead copies of Financial Material that are not to be returned to the Production Co-ordinator (i.e.. interim proofs) must be destroyed. This is a serious legal issue! Do not simply recycle them and never reuse them!!!

All client financial material is seriously confidential and financial activity based on access to unpublished financial data represents a serious criminal offence. Protect your client's confidentiality.

Dead style sheets, colours, and guides should be deleted from documents. Keep your files as clean and free of non essential elements as possible.

All Production Materials and Marked-Up Proofs and Requests for Alterations related to a job should be kept together in a Docket Envelope and returned to the Production Co-ordinator upon completion of the job.

All proofs going out, by fax or courier, to a third party client must be approved by the Production Co-ordinator.

When sending Files for Output:
a) Send a hard copy. Make a set of sample separations if the job is to be separated.
b) Fill out an output form, and include a printout of the disk directory. Make a copy of both and give them (stapled) to the Production Co-ordinator.
c) Fill out the library card for the disk media you send the job out on. Put the library card into the appropriate out box.
d) If a job goes out by email and fax, give Production the faxed output form and printout of the disk directory rather than making copies. Stuff the files and fonts to go out and be sure to include any .tiff or .eps files etc. required. The Stuffit Deluxe file should be BinHexed to avoid corruption en route.

If you are using a Client's Hardware any problem should be documented and reported to the Department Supervisor so that they can have it fixed immediately.

Copyright 2012: All original artwork remains the property of Dave McKay.