Create as many apps as you want – for free, from your Desktop?

As you might have seen, Quark has introduced QuarkXPress 2017 with the ability to create and export “unlimited”* iOS Single Apps directly out of QuarkXPress.

The advantages of this are:

  •  No need to create a log-in or use a system or portal
  • You create the apps directly from your Desktop out of QuarkXPress
  • You can create the design within your app with the same tool – QuarkXPress – that  you use for print
  • You can even convert Print layouts to digital and show them in your app
  • You can add stunning interactivity
  • All content is 100% HTML5
  • You get the apps delivered to your Desktop as a single delivery, your content is “backed in”
  • You can transfer your app to your test iPad or iPhone
  • You can hand in your app to Apple and – once approved – have it being delivered to your customers via the Apple’s App Store

All you need is QuarkXPress 2017 and an Apple Developer Account. Don’t worry, you won’t have to develop anything, it is Apple’s prerequisite to submit apps to the App Store.

So yes, you can create single apps for iOS directly from your Desktop.

How does it work?

A detailed documentation and video tutorials will be available once QuarkXPress 2017 has been released (in second quarter of 2017).

Here are the steps in a nutshell:

1) Prerequisites

  1. Get a developer account with Apple, which is $99 per year.
  2. Go to Apple’s developer portal and create 4 things, a development & distribution certificate and a development & distribution provisioning profile.
    (On Mac oyu can do that using Keychain, on Windows you will need to install the free OpenSSL)
  3. Go to iTunes Connect, basically the marketing portal for submitting apps to the App Store, and create marketing descriptions etc.
  4. Create an app icon and splash screens for your app

2) Create your app

  1. Create a digital layout in QuarkXPress 2017 (or convert an existing Print layout to a digital one). Optionally add a second layout for the other (vertical/horizontal) orientation.
  2. If you want, add interactivity like animations, audio, video, slideshows (using the HTML5 palette)
  3. Choose File > Export As > iOS App
  4. In the dialog appearing, add the two certificates and the two provisioning profiles. Add all meta data needed, like the app ID provided by Apple in iTunes Connect, the icon and the splash screens you created.
  5. Export your app ( so you need an internet connection then, however no log-in into any system).

3) Test and submit your app

  1. Either wait until the progress bar finishes or let it run in the background. After a while QuarkXPress 2017 will save two apps to your Desktop (or the folder that you specified), a test app and a production app.
  2. On Mac, transfer your test app to your iPad/iPhone, e.g. using iTunes or – my recommendation – “Apple Configurator 2“. On Windows use iTunes please.
  3. Test thoroughly.
  4. If fine, submit your production app to Apple. On Mac, you do that using Application Loader by Apple.
    From Windows you cannot do that, as Apple requires you to use Application Loader, which is only available on MacOS. So you either need to find somebody with a Mac to do that for you or rent a Mac. Here’s an example of a services in the cloud that allow you to rent a Mac for an hour:
  5. Wait until Apple approves your app.

Done. And now create the next one.

A video of this can be seen here:



*Quark’s EULA specifies what “unlimited” means. Basically it is a “fair use” policy, so you can create as many apps as you need for your own use or to create for your customers. Quark e.g. doesn’t allow you to build a system around it, so a service that you pass on to other customers. Also the use is possible as long as QuarkXPress 2017 is the most recent version or the version before the most recent version of QuarkXPress. Afterwards you need to upgrade to a newer version to be able to use app export. All other functionality of QuarkXPress 2017 of course doesn’t have any timed restriction. You need an Apple Developer Account, which costs you an additional fee. And to submit an app to Apple, Apple requires you to use a Mac.