Here’s what they do:
Em Software’s Xdata ($400) is an XTension for QuarkXPress that brings incredible power to database-publishing tasks. You create a QuarkXPress “template” that defines how you want the information to look, then Xdata imports and automatically formats data you’ve exported from a database or spreadsheet. In addition, Xdata can import specific pictures that are cited in the template and the data file. It can manipulate text from inside individual data fields and create “directory-style” headers and footers on each page or spread. Xdata comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Xtags ($400) is like XPress Tags on steroids. This powerful import and export text filter supports the full Quark XPress Tags language plus its own extended tags, for even more document-building power. With Xtags, you can build any text content with full styling (the same as XPress Tags), anchor and fill picture and text boxes, build and fill unanchored boxes, size picture contents to containing boxes, size boxes to content (text or picture) in various flexible ways, translate text and tags on input, use macros to reduce typing, apply master pages and spreads, and more.
For output, Xtags will save the contents of any text story, including anchored text and picture boxes, and will also save the structure and content of any selected text, picture or group boxes.
Xtags is perfect for picture-based data publishing, books, classified ad building, code conversion, and much more.
Here’s what the Betas add:
The Xdata beta adds per-import preference settings, anchored text boxes, anchored tables, an Excel-like formatting function, and background blends in anchored boxes.
The Xtags beta includes background blends in tables and anchored or unanchored boxes, auto-fitting of text boxes width-wise and multi-column text boxes height-wise, and full table tags (Pro only).
Of note, both products have been in continual development and use for more than 15 years, and have versions for QuarkXPress 4, 6 and now 7.
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.