Quark Announces QuarkXPress 8

Thu, May 29, 2008

Feature

QuarkXPress 8Today, Quark took the wraps off the new version of their flagship product, QuarkXPress 8. I’ve been fortunate to sit in on a number of briefings and to work with a prerelease version, and to state it plainly: I’m impressed.

I didn’t know if I would be impressed, and at first I wasn’t. The idea of a user interface makeover, support for East Asian languages, multi-language support, and some random improvements seemed — ho hum. But that was before I actually got my hands on it.

It seems to me that Quark had several goals with this upgrade, and they met them. First, they wanted to make the user experience much more fluid. By dramatically simplifying the tool set and making the tools intelligent enough to know what you’re likely to want to do, well, mission accomplished.

Second, they wanted to expose some of the hidden abilities in QuarkXPress. Having spoken to many QuarkXPress users, this makes total sense to me. I can’t tell you how many times my answer to a user’s Wish List item was: “Um, it already does that — right here.” Quark’s team pulled many important features from the depths of dialog boxes and lengthy menus, and turned them into buttons in the main project window, or in palettes.

Third, they wanted to address some typographical shortcomings, such as hanging punctuation and WYSIWYG font menus. Instead of copying someone else’s approach, they completely re-thought the problems. Their hanging character solution provides useful presets right out of the box, and deep, detailed controls for expert typographers. And their WYSYWIG font menus show the fonts in their own typefaces, and icons for what kind of font file it is — TrueType, PostScript, and both flavors of OpenType.

Fourth, they wanted to improve interaction with Adobe’s Creative Suite applications. So now, you can import native Illustrator files, as well as native Photoshop files and the latest versions of PDF files. You can also drag and drop content between those applications and QuarkXPress. (Remarkably, you can drag a SELECTION from a Photoshop image directly onto a QuarkXPress page!)

You can also drag and drop from Adobe Bridge, Portfolio, iPhoto, Microsoft Word, your desktop — pretty much anywhere any application can drag and drop, so can QuarkXPress 8.

Fifth, kill QuarkXPress Passport. In my opinion, Quark’s multi-language version of QuarkXPress had become overpriced and presented too many hurdles to actually publishing across languages. Eureka! QuarkXPress 8 opens any Passport document, and can import, edit and output in 38 languages. Every copy of QuarkXPress 8 can open documents created by any language edition of QuarkXPress 8.

Sixth, get East Asia back on the bandwagon. Quark’s last version that supported East Asian languages was QuarkXPress 6.5. They took their time, and version 8 now supports the complex typographical needs of East Asian languages better than any other desktop application. If you typeset for Chinese, Japanese or Korean, you’ll want to use QuarkXPress. And even if you don’t, your copy of QuarkXPress will let you open, edit, and output them! Hey designers, publishers, output providers and printers: no more guessing about whether you can support a given QuarkXPress document. You can.

Seventh, address some feature gaps, such as: Item Styles, Find/Change item attributes, Guide management, Box grids as well as page grids, Option-drag to duplicate an item, Update style sheets from selected text, Up/Down tickers to adjust numerical attributes, and dozens of other single enhancements that together add up to a Giant Improvement in usability and efficiency. I particularly appreciate the giant thumbnails I can use to navigate among pages (sorry Windows users: this one’s Mac only).

And eighth, export to Flash format. Formerly an optional upgrade, the ability to create an interactive Flash animation, or convert your print layouts to Flash format, is built-in. Make banner ads in QuarkXPress? Sure, why not! Your assets are already there — as is your mastery of QuarkXPress tools.

But enough of my opinions. Below is my overview of all the new features I could find in QuarkXPress 8. If you find any more, please please please let me know and we’ll add them to the story.

For even more information on QuarkXPress 8, see the special area at Quark’s website.

Interface Improvements

  • Palettes have a completely new look.

Palette

  • New icons in palettes to bring out formerly hidden features.

Optimized Tool Palette:
Tools Palette

  • Fewer tools: 4 box tools replace previous 29.
  • Tools adapt to the currently-selected item.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Tools — similar to Adobe’s:
B = Rectangle Box
P = Bézier Pen
R = Picture Content
T = Text Content
V = Item
L = Line
G = Table
Z = Zoom

Tools Palette
Tools Palette
Tools Palette
Tools Palette

“Our approach was to make the tools better fit the tasks.”
— Dan Logan, QuarkXPress Product Manager

The active page or spread is much more obvious:
Project Window

  • A whiter pasteboard and a darker drop shadow surrounds it.
  • Guides on active page are 100% tint; guides on other pages are dimmed.
  • Normally the page in the center of your window.
  • Click any page to make it active.

Easier item manipulation:

  • Double-click on any box to edit its content.
  • Larger item handles.
  • Shorter delay between clicking an item and seeing its preview when dragging.

New Controls in the Project window:
Controls

  • Previous/next page
  • Split view
  • Export to PDF/EPS/SWF/HTML
  • Toggle to view a page’s Master Page
  • Scalable page thumbnails in navigation popup (Mac OS only)

Page Thumbnails
Page Thumbnails
Page Thumbnails
Measurements palette:
Tickers on measure palette

  • Clickable up/down arrows to adjust many attributes, including drop shadows.

Measure Palette

  • Displays a picture’s effective resolution as you scale it.
  • Displays vertical guides when adjusting tab settings.
  • The Layout tabs have moved to the top of the Project window
  • Create colors, styles, etc. without first creating a page item.
  • Page 1 can be left-facing page.
  • Pages panel now lets you move a page to be first, left-facing page.

A new Welcome Screen (Mac only):

  • Lists recent projects
  • Gives options for new projects
  • What’s New in QuarkXPress?
  • Links to additional resources
  • Tips & Tricks
  • Tech support & Forums

Tool Improvements

  • Easily update Style Sheets from locally formatted text.

Picture Content Tool:
Picture Content Tool

  • Directly rotate and scale a picture within its box.
  • See the portion of the picture that’s beyond the box.
  • Rotate items without using the Rotate tool.
  • All rectangles can now have rounded corners: adjust them in the Measurements palette.
  • Duplicate items by Option/Alt dragging.
  • Scale items from their centers.
  • Scale and rotate multiple items without grouping them first.
  • Nudge an item 10x as far by adding the Shift key when you press the arrow keys on your keyboard.
  • Tools preferences are now Layout based, rather than Project based.
  • Bézier pen tools now reside within a dedicated tool set.

Pen Tool Set

  • Bézier pen tool now uses keyboard shortcuts and behaviors that match Adobe, Corel and Apple applications.

“We made our Bézier tool set work much like Illustrator does. With the new pen tools and Illustrator import, QuarkXPress 8 makes it easier to work with Illustrator AND easier to work without it.”
— Dan Logan, QuarkXPress Product Manager

Completely New Features

  • No more “Passport” version: all editions of QuarkXPress 8 support more than 30 languages. (see Multi-Language section below)
  • All new boxes accept either text or pictures.
  • Drag text or picture files onto a page, without first making a box.
  • File> Import text or a picture onto a page, without first making a box.
  • Drag a selection from a Photoshop file onto a page.
  • Drag a QuarkXPress picture box into Microsoft Word or your email application.
  • Drag a QuarkXPress picture box onto Photoshop to edit the original picture file.
  • Drag text into or out of Microsoft Word, with or without formatting.

WYSIWYG Font Menus:
WYSIWYG font menu

  • Fonts menus display fonts in their own typefaces.
  • Display icons that represent the font file format (TrueType, PostScript, OpenType and whether the OpenType font is based on TrueType or PostScript!).
  • Revert back to a simple list of unformatted fonts by holding down the Shift key when accessing a Font menu.

Item Styles:
Item Style

  • Format items with just a click, and change them all at once afterward.
  • Works across all Layouts in a Project, including Web, Interactive and multiple page sizes!
  • Item Find/Change: Find and change any combination of attributes in all items in a Layout.

Item Find/Change

  • Drag content from QuarkXPress pages into Photoshop, Illustrator, Microsoft Word, the desktop, or any other application.
  • Drag content onto QuarkXPress pages from Adobe Bridge, Extensis Portfolio, Apple iPhoto, Microsoft Word, or the desktop.

Hanging Characters:
Hanging Punctuation

  • Complete control over how and when characters will hang outside their text box.
  • Control exactly which characters hang, and by how much.
  • Apply to one or more paragraphs separately.
  • Includes presets for common uses.
  • Create your own presets.
  • Hanging Character sets can be linked to Style Sheets.
  • Can be used to control Drop Cap characters.

“The new typographic features in QuakXPress 8 ship with presets that cover the common situations but also let creatives get in and easily take control of the settings when they need to.”
— Dan Logan, QuarkXPress Product Manager

Design Grids:

  • Apply text grids at both the page and box level, with separate grids for sidebars, cations, etc.
  • Within one text box, paragraphs can ignore the grids, align to the page grid or to the box grid.
  • Text can align by its baseline, midline, topline and more.
  • Grids can display baseline, midline, topline separately.
  • Separate view controls for Page and Box grids.

Grid Styles:

  • Create and apply Grid Styles to boxes, then edit all at once later on.
  • Can be linked to Style Sheets, to completely format a paragraph with one click.
  • Double-click a guide to set its position, color, and more.

Guide Manager Pro:
Guide Manager Pro

  • Cut, copy, paste, mirror, delete page guides.
  • Lists all guides, on all pages.
  • Show/Hide vertical or horizontal guides.
  • Edit colors of guides.
  • Create grids, rows, columns, Bleed & Safety guides.
  • Create guides from a box.
  • Import and export sets of guides.
  • East Asian language support (see next section)

East Asian Language Support

  • Use true ideographic-grid based type alignment.
  • Align to baseline, midline, topline and more.
  • Vertical text can align to baseline, midline, topline, and more.
  • Other advanced East-Asian features (see Multi-Language section below)

Multi-Language Universal File Format
Language Support

  • The old “Passport” edition of QuarkXPress is gone. All editions (languages) of QuarkXPress support the import, formatting and output of more than 30 languages — the only difference is the language of the interface. They all include spell checking and hyphenation for all languages.
  • QuarkXPress 8 will open any existing “Passport” document.

“We created a file format in QuarkXPress 8 that can support both eastern and western typography, and included support for more than 30 languages in all editions of the product. The end result is removing the worry about where you can publish your content or the kind of jobs you can accept.”
— Dan Logan, QuarkXPress Product Manager

To use the advanced East Asian text formatting features, such as Rubi Characters and advanced vertical character spacing, users must purchase either the QuarkXPress 8 Plus Edition or an East Asian language version of QuarkXPress 8. These editions also add:

  • More than 20 additional OpenType font features.
  • A revolutionary user-friendly mojigumi feature for high-end Japanese typography.
  • A true ideographic grid with character count.
  • Vertical and horizontal grid styles at both the page and box level.
  • Centerline justification.
  • Double strike-through.
  • Non-breaking character sets.
  • Nine kinds of emphasis marks.
  • Right-to-Left rulers.
  • Right-to-Left box growing behavior.
  • Support for Japan’s JIS 78, 83, 90, 2002 encodings.
  • Support for China’s GB 18030-2000 certification.
  • Import from Ichitaro.

Text Improvements

  • Text To Box now converts multiple lines, entire stories, multiple boxes, text on a path, and text inside table cells. The resulting boxes (outlines) retain the original appearance of the text, including color, opacity, and other text transformations. Boxes can be anchored or unanchored in the original text box.
  • Spell checking can ignore words with numbers, Internet addresses and file/directory names.
  • All high-end text features can be used in Interactive Layouts and are preserved in Flash output.
  • Hanging characters (see above)

File Import

  • Native Adobe Illustrator .ai files, version 8 and higher.
  • Import pictures or text into any box.
  • Drag and Drop from the desktop or any other application — no box required.
  • Drag and Drop from and to Adobe Bridge.
  • Import PDF up to version 1.7.
  • Drag and Drop pictures from Extensis Portfolio, Apple iPhoto or any other application that supports Drag and Drop.
  • QuarkXPress 8 can open QuarkXPress documents from version 3 and above.

File Export

  • Drag content from and to Adobe Bridge.
  • Drag content from and to Microsoft Word, Photoshop, Illustrator, email.
  • Drag pictures onto the desktop to export them as image files.
  • Includes Job Jackets and Output Styles for international-standard Ghent Workgroup workflows.
  • Registration mark placement now fits international norms.
  • Can save back to QuarkXPress 7 format (or version 6.5 for East Asian editions).

Integration with Adobe Creative Suite

  • Drag and Drop from and to Adobe Bridge.
  • Import native Adobe Illustrator .ai files.
  • Import native Adobe Photoshop .psd files.
  • Drag selections from Photoshop onto QuarkXPress page.
  • Drag pictures onto Photoshop.
  • Drag content onto Illustrator.

Flash Authoring

  • Formerly an optional upgrade to QuarkXPress 7, now built in.
  • Excellent for creating presentations and banner ads.
  • Convert existing print jobs to Flash in minutes.
  • Create fully integrated print and Flash campaigns with shared images, text, styles, and more.
  • Use QuarkXPress 8′s advanced Design Grids, Hanging Characters and world-class Bézier Pen Tool Set.
  • Supports all the international and East Asian advanced typography features.

“Quark Interactive Designer is now fully integrated into QuarkXPress 8. Now designers can create high-end communications materials in Flash using a premium layout tool rather than an application that requires complicated programming.”
— Dan Logan, QuarkXPress Product Manager

Features from QuarkXPress 7, Still Exclusive to Quark:
Shared Content:

  • Across multiple media.
  • Synchronize text and images across multiple Layouts.

Transparency:

  • Controlled anywhere you can apply a color.
  • Use on one or more characters.
  • Apply transparent blends with different start and ending transparency settings.

Collaboration:

  • Composition Zones let you divide an existing page for simultaneous layout by multiple users — far beyond simply placing layouts within each other.

Advanced PSD Support:

  • Control blend modes, opacity, and spot channel color mapping from within native Photoshop files.

Picture Effects:

  • Add print-ready creative effects to images, right on the page.

Job Jackets:

  • Automatically synchronize essential items such as style sheets, colors, branding, color management and output settings.

Web authoring:

  • Inside the same application that creates Flash and print jobs.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5
  • Windows XP and Vista

Availability:

  • Within 60 days from May 29, 2008. (on or before July 27)

Pricing:

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This post was written by:

- who has written 1638 posts on Planet Quark.

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

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9 Responses to “Quark Announces QuarkXPress 8”

  1. herve Says:

    no comparison to yours !
    thank you

  2. Cojcolds Says:

    I have one word to say about the new XPress 8: “FLEXIBLE!” but is it all too late, for the graphics industry?

    All the job ads I recently applied for were asking for proficient InDesign users and in my 2 years night teaching at college (TAFE) I’ve only been required to teach InDesign. Will these new features ever be seen/appreciated by the masses?

    Personally I like competition! It only benefits us – the end users – for both price and features.

  3. Jay Nelson Says:

    Jeff Gamet and I had some fun discussing QuarkXPress 8′s new features in the Design Tools Weekly podcast of June 2. We chat for about 25 minutes, beginning at 10:50 (after the Acrobat 9 new features discussion). Have a listen!
    http://www.designtoolsweekly.com

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