QuarkXPress 10/2015 to Blurb Workflow and Template

UPDATE: I’ve now added a further template for Blurb’s Tradebook here.

I’ve been writing and researching a book for some considerable time on Gremlin Graphics – the Sheffield videogame developer that played a huge role in my life growing up as a Yorkshire teenager and whose former staff have gone onto dominate the games industry in some high-profile positions around the world.

I’ve been working in QuarkXPress 10 and have been happy with the results so far, regardless of the idiosyncracies that the software brings. I chose Quark over InDesign because of Adobe’s move to a subscription system via Creative Cloud. The book is a personal (vanity) project and I didn’t want to leave myself high and dry in the future if I’d had little progress with a project that I had to continually pay money for the editor just to do the odd change here and there.

I’d also chosen Blurb as the proposed “first-print” of the prototype book I’d produce as they seemed to offer plenty of configuration options such as page sizes, paper types and book cover choices and had received good reviews. I pushed aside their claim that Quark to PDFX/3 (the format required by Blurb) had an unreliable workflow as their website still referenced v8 of the software and it had moved two iterations since then – surely it had been fixed?

Well to cut a long story short, I managed to battle through the various failures and specification mismatches and finally got an exported Quark project accepted through the Blurb preflight.

So, to get started, here is the QuarkXPress 10 project file that has the correct specifications for page-sizes, margins, etc for a Blurb Standard Landscape book – 25cm x 20cm:


The project file may contain some residue from my project such as Meta Data but you can get around that!

So, when it comes to export for Blurb, do the following:

File > Export > Layout As PDF

Change PDF Style to PDF/X-3:2002

Click Options

If your project has intentional blank pages then ensure that options is selected:

Pages > Tick > Include Blank Pages

Colour > Setup > Composite CMTK and Spot

Marks > Registration Marks Options > Mode > Off

Bleed > Symmetric > Amount > 0mm

And that’s it! Export the project to a PDF and this should pass the “pages” preflight check for Blurb.







  1. Hi Mark – I came across a dropbox link from December 2013 on your wordpress page for a QuarkXpress template you created for a Blurb project (www.dropbox.com/s/b6pe66oasci8siw/Quark%20-%20Blurb%20-%20Standard%20Landscape%20Template.qxp?dl=0). The link was broken, and was wondering if you would be willing to repost the link or share the quark file via email. I’ve looked for a Quark-Blurb template in the past to no avail, and you appear to be the only person in the world who has created one, and deserve a medal! regards steve jablonski wisconsin, USA steve@jablonskicreative.com https://www.facebook.com/steve.jablonski.39

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