As you’ve heard here and elsewhere, version 9 of QuarkXPress will be available in April. To help you understand what’s new, I’ve written a condensed explanation of what everything does. (A similar story was published in Design Tools Monthly.)
QuarkXPress 9 has a handful of valuable new layout automation features, and a huge new capability of designing for, and exporting to, ePUB, Blio and iPad apps.
Generally speaking, ePUB is best for plain layouts with inline pictures. Blio is best for books and other publications that range from plain to extremely media-rich. An iPad app is best for providing and managing subscriptions to publications, and for app-like interfaces.
Here’s a rundown of the three formats:
App Studio for QuarkXPress: A dedicated design environment within QuarkXPress 9 for creating content for the iPad. You can create customized apps for the iPad, distribute apps through the Apple App Store, and then publish richly designed, interactive content to the app. You can repurpose existing content or design content specifically for the iPad that includes video/audio players, slideshows, scrollable regions, Web overlays, pop-up windows, buttons, and hyperlinks.
Design for the Blio eReader: The Blio eReader is a free, multi-platform, multi-device application that presents eBooks just like the printed versions, in full color and with all the features of the ideal eReader. The Blio eReader can be downloaded free from www.blio.com and is also pre-installed on millions of Windows computers from Toshiba, HP, and Dell, as well as devices that run the iOS, Android, and Silverlight platforms. (A Mac version is slated for later this year.) It lets you enhance eBooks with interactive elements and has a Read Logic feature that makes it easy to follow long stories.
Export to ePUB: ePUB is a free and open e-book standard developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). You can create traditional text-based e-books and publish to e-bookstores such as Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and Amazon Kindle. Book publishers can also export existing QuarkXPress layouts in ePUB format. QuarkXPress 9 includes a new Reflow View that lets you configure the content behind the layout to prepare it for reflow-based outputs such as ePUB. It can also automatically create an ePUB table of contents from the Reflow View’s article structure.
QuarkXPress 9’s new layout automation features include:
Conditional Styles: Automatically style content based on powerful styling rules.
Bullets and Numbering: Compatible with Microsoft Word import and export, it provides powerful control over the format of ordered and unordered lists and complex multi-level outlines.
Callouts: Boxes and groups can move automatically with text, positioned relative to the page, spread, text box, paragraph, or character.
ShapeMaker: A wizard for easily creating or modifying shapes such as waves, polygons, stars, and spirals, and to create unique corner effects
ImageGrid: Import and automatically build grids of images with a variety of layout options, with or without captions.
Linkster: Unlink and relink text boxes that already contain text, unlink stories spanning multiple pages, and link or unlink boxes without disrupting existing text.
Story Editor: A word-processor-like view for when text in a layout is difficult to read, and when editing stories that span multiple pages.
Cloner: Lets you copy items or pages to other pages or layouts, and can combine layouts or split them apart.
See an overview and video demonstrations of the new features at www.quark.com/Products/QuarkXPress/.
QuarkXPress 9 costs the same as QuarkXPress 8: $799 for a full product license and $299 for upgrades from QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7. If you buy QuarkXPress 8 (new or upgrade) between Jan 1 and April 30, you’ll get version 9 free.
App Studio for QuarkXPress — which enables publishing to the iPad — will be available as a free update within 90 days after QuarkXPress 9 ships. If you’re interested in iPad publishing now, Quark has an iPad Publishing Service where they will configure a starter iPad app with a customer’s logos and colors and enable the enrichment of QuarkXPress content, which can then be published to that app. You’ll then be able to migrate to QuarkXPress 9 for iPad publishing when App Studio for QuarkXPress is released. For more information, see www.quark.com/Solutions/Applications/Digital_Publishing_Solutions.aspx.
You can also watch a video of their launch event at http://godigitalnow.quark.com
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.