At long last QuarkXPress 5.0 from
Quark has arrived. The long awaited update of the page layout tool “fuses” tools for print and Web design in a single application for media-independent publishing, according to Quark president and CEO Fred Ebrahimi. Alas, it’s not Carbonized for Mac OS X yet.
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A note on the QuarkXPress Web site indicates that the company is “firmly committed” to Mac OS X, and stated that a native version of QuarkXPress is under development and will be available after QuarkXPress 5.0 is out the door. Hopefully Mac users won’t have to wait too long.
As for version 5.0, it’s an open application that relies on industry standards to generate content for print, Web, and eBook, said Ebrahimi. You can import and/or export a variety of file formats, including HTML, PDF, and XML.
New Tables functionality let you create rich tables to structure design elements or organize complex data. QuarkXPress table cells can contain pictures and text with virtually all the typographic and image control you expect from QuarkXPress, Ebrahimi said.
In publishing, tables have long been the standard way to present structured data. The new tables feature in QuarkXPress 5.0 lets you create structured designs. Table cells in QuarkXPress can contain either text or graphics, so you can use tables as design elements. You could, for example, create a table consisting of two large picture cells as an alternative to creating and positing individual picture boxes.
A new Layers feature lets you isolate items within QuarkXPress documents. It’s also designed to facilitate the management of hundreds of document s, something that’s important in complex projects such as targeted marketing materials, versioned projects, and documents with language or text changes.
By separating document components, such as text and graphics, layers let you experiment with alternative designs in the same document. For instance, in one version your text may wrap around a graphic item, and in another version the text will run to the margin. You don’t have to maintain multiple versions of the same text when experimenting with multiple designs. Layers also allow you to output the same layout in multiple languages — all from a single QuarkXPress document.
QuarkXPress 5.0 also has a revised print user interface (which Quark says is more efficient), enhanced PDF support, contextual menus, and better color management. The new version is also designed to merge g print and Web workflows, sometime users have requested, according to Brett Mueller, senior product manager at Quark.
The new Web page design tools rely on the same palettes, menus, and dialog boxes that power the software’s print design tools. As a result, there’s almost no learning curve, according to Quark, at least for experienced users. And QuarkXPress 5.0 creates “clean” HTML when you export your Web page design, so your programmers don’t have to spend hours converting your design into a functioning Web page, Mueller said.
There’s also new license management software. Quark License Administrator is designed to simplify software installation software and user access management throughout an enterprise. This feature is a server-based system that lets site administrators create customized user pools and assign customized access privileges to each group. The server can be configured to allow remote users to check out software for use off the network as well as to acquire additional licenses to meet the needs of changing workflows.
What’s more, the XTensions interface has been overhauled to offer more ways to hook into the application and be more informative for developers.
QuarkXPress 5.0 is available for both Mac OS and Windows, and can be purchased online. US list price is $899. Users of QuarkXPress 4.x can upgrade for $299. The upgrade price for users of QuarkXPress 3.x is $399.