Quark on Thursday announced the next major version of its page-layout software, QuarkXPress 8. The new version, which will be available in the next 60 days, will offer many enhancements including a new interface and built-in Flash authoring.
According to Quark, the QuarkXPress product team spent a lot of time with designers to determine how they work and figure out what to change in QuarkXPress 8 to help them.
“We really sat down to change QuarkXPress and change the number of mouse clicks it takes to get things done,” Tim Banister, General Manager of Desktop Technology for Quark, told Macworld. “Really, we went back to the fundamentals.”
Part of what Quark did to make things more intuitive is to incorporate smart behavior in its tools. This lets users access the tool they need without having to switch back and forth between them all the time.
New Bézier pen tools let users draw illustrations directly in QuarkXPress, while buttons for instant access to master pages and exporting to PDF, EPS, SWF, and HTML, plus new split-view buttons, enhanced contextual menus, and customizable active pasteboards highlight workspace enhancements aimed at making the a designer's job easier.
You can now drag text or pictures into QuarkXPress from Adobe Bridge, Apple's iPhoto, or any program that supports drag and drop. You can also drag content from QuarkXPress to Photoshop, Illustrator, Microsoft Word, and other software for direct editing.
Quark also focused on typographic control in the new version. According to the company, QuarkXPress 8 is the first page-layout program to offer hanging characters with paragraph-by-paragraph control.
Because Quark realizes that designers need the ability to use content in different forms and locations, QuarkXPress 8 lets users simultaneously design for print, Web, and Flash.
Among the other improvements users will find in the new version are native Illustrator file import, WYSIWYG font rendering, advanced guide management, Item Styles to control formatting for multiple items, support for importing PDF version 1.7 and earlier, and Ghent PDF Workgroup (GWG)-based output styles and GWG-based job jackets support.
Quark did not announce pricing, but said users who purchase or upgrade to QuarkXPress 7 between May 29, 2008 and August 1, 2008 are eligible to upgrade to QuarkXPress 8 for free. Also, any users who purchased upgrades to or full versions of QuarkXPress 7 between May 1, 2008, and May 29, 2008 are also be eligible for a free upgrade to QuarkXPress 8.