QuarkXPress 5.0 beta released

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If you've been itching to get your hands on QuarkXPress 5.0, here's your chance.

Today Quark has released a beta version QuarkXPress 5.0. If you want to take it for a test drive cruise on over to the beta download Web site. Testers can offer feedback or report technical problems by sending Quark e-mail messages. As for a final shipping date or price, sorry, but they haven't been announced yet.

"QuarkXPress 5.0 is a key component of our strategy for media-independent publishing," said Juergen Kurz, Quark's vice president of product management, in announcing the beta. "It's a single application that publishers can use to create content for print, Web, eBooks, and more. It's critical that tools and processes converge for publishing businesses to remain competitive. QuarkXPress 5.0 helps publishers cut costs by giving them a single tool to deploy content to multiple media."

QuarkXPress 5.0 adds a new Tables feature that allows users to create graphically rich tables to structure design elements or organize complex data, he said. Rows and columns in QuarkXPress tables can contain picture and text boxes with virtually all the typographic and image control users expect from QuarkXPress, Kurz said.

Quark 5 will offer a new feature called "layers," which brings XPress into line with most current graphics and layout software. It will also be more Web-savvy, with a new Placeholders menus allowing Web pages developed in version 5 to accept XML (Extensible Markup Language) data in single-click, drag-&-drop fashion. When a page is Saved for Web, XPress 5 automatically transforms TIFFs into JPEGs or GIFs.

The new layers feature allows users to isolate items on separate "tiers" within QuarkXPress documents, and lets publishers manage document variants quickly and easily, Glen Turpin, Quark's corporate communications manager, said. This feature is ideal for users who need to manage complex projects such as targeted marketing materials, multiple versions and documents with language or text changes, he added.

QuarkXPress 5.0 beefs up the print user interface with enhanced PDF support, contextual menus and better color management. The upcoming version will also help bring the application's layout environment to the Web, said Brett Mueller, senior product manager at Quark. For instance, it will offer the ability to create rollovers and attach hyperlinks. It also now supports SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and AppleScript.

QuarkXPress 5.0 has a wide range of new and enhanced features to support print, Web and PDF workflows, Turpin said. It will be an open application that relies on industry standards to generate content for print, Web and eBooks, he added. Users can import and/or export dozens of file formats, including HTML, PDF and XML.

Though a timetable for a Mac OS X version of QuarkXPress hasn't been announced, Quark promises that it's coming. Turpin said the company is "hard at work" Carbonizing QuarkXPress, and the version of QuarkXPress immediately after 5.0 -- dubbed version 5.X -- will be a Carbon-native application.

In fact, during Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at Macworld New York, Quark executives previewed the Carbonized version of QuarkXPress.

"Quark stands strongly behind Mac OS X and we're working diligently to make QuarkXPress run natively on Apple's next generation operating system," Kurz said during the keynote. "Since a significant number of Quark customers are also Apple customers, Mac OS X is an integral part of Quark's future."

This story, "QuarkXPress 5.0 beta released" was originally published by PCWorld.

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