QuarkCopyDesk 7 is now available for sale at Quark’s website. This $249 product allows anyone who knows how to use a word processor to edit a project created in QuarkXPress.
First released in 1995, QuarkCopyDesk is a tremendously valuable tool for any publishing workflow. (In fact, it was such a good idea that Adobe created InCopy in an attempt to match its older feature set.) Here’s how it works:
A designer creates a layout in QuarkXPress 7, assigns various areas to be worked on by an associate, and optionally defines article elements such as headline, lead-in, body text, picture, and caption. She then then exports the page(s) for the associate.
The associate uses QuarkCopyDesk to open the layout. She sees the page exactly as it will print, and can then edit and format the text using all the tools available in QuarkXPress, including the designer’s style sheets and hyphenation & justification settings.
The QuarkCopyDesk user can also edit pictures using all of the tools that are available in QuarkXPress, including blend modes, transparency, layer manipulation, drop shadows, scaling, cropping, rotating, and more. She can apply adjustments to brightness and contrast, as well as blur, mask, and despeckle filters.
But QuarkCopyDesk 7 goes far beyond QuarkXPress in many areas. It’s intended to be used in a publication workflow, and so changes need to be tracked and highlighted. Notes need to be passed back and forth. Articles need to be reviewed and approved. QuarkCopyDesk 7 has unique features that provide all these capabilities, as well as a new plain-text Galley view for efficiently editing text without being distracted by its formatting or surrounding page elements.
QuarkCopyDesk 7 can also take advantage of QuarkXPress 7’s unique ability to view a layout in multiple views at the same time. That way, while she’s editing a close-up view she can see how it affects the rest of the layout. She can split a window into several panes and show a different view in each pane. Or, she can show each view in a separate free-floating window — and each pane or window can show any view of any page in the layout.
At any time, the article can be exported with one click, either for reviewing or for repurposing. Because the parts of the article are already defined as XML objects, re-using them on a website, a handheld device, or in another page layout can easily be automated.
Here’s one final powerful feature: the workflow can also happen in reverse — a QuarkCopyDesk user can create and format an article to be included in a QuarkXPress layout that has not yet been created. This allows writers and editors to produce stories before receiving a layout from the designer.
I’m impressed with what Quark has done with QuarkCopyDesk, and I think you will be too.
Upgrades from previous versions cost $89.
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.