Quark Gives You Ten Reasons Why

Recently we’ve not­ed that Quark, Inc, pub­lish­ers of elec­tron­ic lay­out stal­wart QuarkXPress, has rolled out a new cam­paign extolling the ben­e­fits of the new QuarkXPress 7. Adopting the top-ten approach and appar­ent­ly appeal­ing to QuarkXPress lag­garts still work­ing with QuarkXPress 6.x and ear­li­er, the cam­paign lists the top ten rea­sons to upgrade to the cur­rent ver­sion.

What are they? We took a look.

The Ten, In Order

1: Outdesign the Competition: “Outdesigning the Competition” here refers to lever­ag­ing three of QuarkXPress 7’s new graphics-effects fea­tures to elim­i­nate the need to switch to anoth­er appli­ca­tion to apply them: opac­i­ty con­trol, auto­mat­ic drop shad­ows, and alpha chan­nel sup­port, to obtain work­flow effi­cien­cy improv­ment.

2: We Know Your Type : This one throws a spot­light on anoth­er def­i­nite XPress improve­ment: Quark’s improved OpenType® and Unicode® sup­port and its improved glyphs palette, which they tout will reduce the need for the QuarkXPress design­er to mem­o­rize key­stroke com­bi­na­tions or use third-party appli­ca­tions.

3: Reduce Palette Clutter: This accen­tu­ates the ben­e­fits Quark’s inter­face improv­ments obtain for the user. The new Measurments Palette, with it’s tabbed context-sensitive behav­ior, is a def­i­nite improv­ment, Quark-wise; it brings more con­trols to the table than before. And in V7, QuarkXPress now has sophis­ti­cat­ed palette group­ing behav­ior added to the inter­face as well as work­space cus­tomiza­tion.

4: Synchronize your Content: Highlights the improved con­tent syn­chro­niza­ton qual­i­ty of QuarkXPress 7, which now extends to box attrib­ut­es and con­tent as well as text and pic­tures alone.

5: Come Together. Right Now: Emphasizes the role of Quark’s Compsition Zones tech­nol­o­gy in adding the dimen­sion of col­lab­o­ra­tion to the QuarkXPress expe­ri­ence.

6: Show Your True Colors: Defines the place V7’s col­or man­age­ment tools in pro­vid­ing accu­rate and depend­able color-correct out­put

7: Achieving Output Perfection: Explains that QuarkXPress 7’s expand­ed list of out­put for­mats (now includ­ing the PDF/X stan­dards, XHTML and XML amongst oth­ers) and Quark’s new Output Styles fea­ture allows bet­ter multi-format pub­lish­ing and bet­ter con­trol over those for­mats

8: Open Doors With Open Standards: QuarkXPress now groks the open Job Definition Format (via Job Jackets) and the indus­try stan­dard Personal Print Markup Language.

9: Avoid Workflow Drama: This is about one of the strongest fea­tures of QuarkXPress 7, the Quark Job Jacketsâ„¢, which can be cre­at­ed at the begin­ning of a print job and trav­el with that job every­where, defin­ing and rein­forc­ing project-wide set­tings.

10: Put Your Ideas In Motion: The advent of Quark Interactive Designer touts Flash® author­ing capa­bil­i­ties with­in a con­sis­tent and famil­iar inter­face style.


We think it a fair ques­tion to pose, in the light of the com­ing of Adobe’s mul­ti­plic­i­ty of CS3 edi­tions, that are these tru­ly upgrade-worthy reasons–are they com­pelling?

From the point of view of the QuarkXPress 6.x-and-before user, they seem to be sub­jec­tive from a cer­tain point. The ten rea­sons are, to a cer­tain degree, depen­dent each on the needs, envi­ron­ment, and skills of the indi­vid­ual XPress user: not every Quark user will need to cre­ate Flash con­tent, many free­lancers prob­a­bly fly straight and lev­el with­out need­ing to out­put XHTML, and Job Jackets in V7, while com­mend­able, have a famous­ly non-intuitive inter­face.

Personally speak­ing, as a design­er who uses QuarkXPress v6.5 in the work­place, there’s much to like in XPress v7, and as some­one with a foot in both worlds, giv­en the choice between upgrad­ing and not upgrad­ing, I’d go with the upgrade. Still, return­ing to the abstract, and giv­en the con­tin­u­ing rival­ry between Quark, Inc and XPress and Adobe InDesign, it’s hard not to imag­ine two points of view here.

To the sea­soned QuarkXPress user, Quark’s Top Ten will prove a com­pelling case for upgrad­ing. QuarkVista and PSD import were like a breath of fresh air in ver­sion 6.5, and the cit­ed improve­ments do bring some long-needed func­tion­al­i­ty to the quon­dam elec­tron­ic lay­out king-of-the-hill. The debut of Quark Interactive Designer is a def­i­nite feath­er in Quark’s cap, giv­ing Quark design­ers the abil­i­ty to author inter­ac­tive mobile con­tent with­out hav­ing to have Adobe Flash.

To the InDesign user or con­vert, how­ev­er, the case is less com­pelling. Adobe’s Creative Suite 3 line is bring­ing major juice to InDesign, includ­ing many in-application graph­ic styling func­tions that Quark added to XPress in v7. Not only that, the sea­soned InDesigner may well find that the improved Quark inter­face (which is to Quark’s cred­it), seems to be…well, InDesign-y, which group­ing of palettes and a pow­er­ful context-sensitive mea­sure­ments palette clean­ing up palette clut­ter (which, iron­i­cal­ly, was a his­toric QuarkXPress benefit–the lack of palette clut­ter in XPress ver­sus palettes for every­thing in InDesign). Moreover, the group­ing of func­tions under the XPress umbrel­la and the addi­tion of an allied Flash author­ing appli­ca­tion (which Quark desi­cribes as cre­at­ing Macromedia® Flash® con­tent, despite the Macromedia brand being extinct for more than a year) sug­gest that Quark is begin­ning to see the light of a sweet Suite approach.

The Bottom Line

Quark makes a strong case for upgrad­ing to v7, and, as a mat­ter of fact, the top ten list is a good pic­ture of the admirable strengths of the newest XPress. If you’re a v6.5 and ear­li­er user, look out: Quark’s out to get you, and in a big way.

Pariah Burke

Author, consultant, trainer, guru: Digital Publishing, ePub, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark. Empowering, Informing, Connecting Creative Professionals™

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12 Responses

  1. regina jenkins says:

    I need to know where i can find a com­par­i­son between in-design and quark. WE use quark 7.0 for our graph­ic design­ers but recent­ly got some out­sourced design­ers tell my boss that in-design is bet­ter and that noone uses quark, I need a back­up sto­ry on why to pro­mote quark vs. inde­sign and what % of graph­ic design­ers use in-design vs. quark, etc. can some­one help?

  2. Paul Chernoff says:

    The best thing to do is to down­load a copy of InDesign and use it in demo mode for 30 days, though I would also advise buy­ing a good book. There are 2 good books out there for mov­ing from QXP to InDesign. They take dif­fer­ent approach­es but both show you dif­fer­ences in phi­los­o­phy and how to do what you want in ID based on QXP expe­ri­ence. I also learned new stuff about QXP while read­ing the books (Of course the com­par­i­son is between QXP 4-6 and ID CS2).

    Before we switched to ID we found it almost impos­si­ble to get any interns because the appli­ca­tions we got had only ID expe­ri­ence because the col­leges were only teach­ing ID. So I sug­gest tak­ing a sur­vey of local col­leges and see the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. You might find that there are a fair num­ber tak­ing QXP cours­es. You real­ly want to know the local sit­u­a­tion for this, not nation­al.

    Which is bet­ter depends on a num­ber of issues, includ­ing what you design. I am find­ing ID hav­ing basic fea­tures that QXP lacks that are impor­tant for mag­a­zine pub­lish­ing. People cre­at­ing ads will have dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria than me. For exam­ple, our staff that works on ads do not care about style sheets and mas­ter pages, but these two fea­tures are crit­i­cal to our staff work­ing on the edi­to­r­i­al side. And even with­in an exper­tise there will be dif­fer­ences of opin­ion. Concentrate on what peo­ple doing sim­i­lar work are using.

  3. Mjenius says:

    It all depends. I per­son­al­ly pre­fer Indesign, but that’s my pref­er­ence. It’s not true that “no one uses Quark”. It all depends on what you do. Most cre­ative design­ers lean more towards Indesign, while I think desk­top pub­lish­ing is still strong in Quark. For the most part I think free­lancers pre­fer Indesign because it’s already part of the cre­ative suite and had been burned by Quark in the past. On top that they won’t have prob­lem find­ing jobs with Indesign since it’s wide­ly used now. Assuming that you already have cre­ative suite try using both. Keep in mind that not every­one will like the switch to Indesign. You can debate if it’s worth mak­ing the switch all you want, but the obvi­ous answer is that it’s prob­a­bly best to be able to use both pro­grams.

  4. UNIV says:

    The first thing to do is go to a more impar­tial site, If you want hard facts, it’s very hard to get from this site, more of an Adobe backed mar­ket­ing tool, so very good for get­ting details on the CS suite but not for DTP tool mar­ket com­par­i­son.

    look at data from both Company sites, look at what large Agency’s and pub­lish­ers are doing, as this changes based on your loca­tion, while Europe is switch­ing back to XPress as a stan­dard the US is still very much split.
    Quark has the Speed and the tech­nol­o­gy and InDesign has some of the fea­tures. Mjenuius is cor­rect the only rea­son free­lancers like InDesign is becouse it’s free with the suite, and most haven’t used Quark or not since 5 at least.

  5. Curious says:

    Europe switch­ing back to QXP? Do you have any data to back it up? I know a lot of print hous­es are tied to Quark, but only because they still use “ancient ver­sions” and don’t want to upgrade due to costs, but pub­lish­ers and big print­ing hous­es are all into InDesign, at least here.

  6. UNIV says:

    I have been work­ing in pub­lish­ing for the last 25 years and work for one of the largest groups in Europe, last year we stopped the glob­al roll­out of InDesign and many of our hous­es and Agency’s have gone back to Quark, Adobe screwed our Dutch office, offer­ing sup­port if they switched and then skipped out on them after get­ting a press release.
    The gen­er­al arro­gance of Adobe in Scandinavia is play­ing back into Quark’s hands, and Quark is doing a good job of com­ing back, bet­ter cus­tomer ser­vice, good strong tech­nol­o­gy and deliv­ers on there word. All new for Quark but it’s work­ing. The indus­try is very small peo­ple talk, and nobody will tell Quark but there on the way back, they can’t get away with any­thing again but, bet­ter the Devil you know is the gen­er­al con­sen­sus.

    It does­n’t take a genius to work out that Quark is the inno­va­tor and Adobe the fol­low­er in this case. Job Jackets, Composition Zones, Layout Spaces, Shared Layouts, Colour based trans­paren­cy. Real indus­try inno­va­tions in the tools, pro­duc­tion dri­ven.

    From what I see the US is behind in see­ing this due to the Adobe mar­ket­ing machine, this web­site is a clas­sic exam­ple. Only pro­vide the infor­ma­tion need­ed to get the result you want, and that’s the results that is the most prof­itable for the indi­vid­ual. They look for where there pay day is com­ing

  7. Curious says:

    Thanks UNIV for pro­vid­ing exten­sive reply. I’m just hob­by­ist myself. I find QXP to be very light on resources and much more respon­sive on my sys­tem, how­ev­er I pre­fer InDesign to work in. It’s inte­gra­tion with oth­er appli­ca­tions and fea­tures are rather fan­tas­tic. Sure, it’s not per­fect, but it’s great. I haven’t worked in multi-user envi­ron­ment to see any (dis)advantages it has over QXP. For one user projects, it’s great.

    I just asked you to clar­i­fy a bit because this is some­thing new to me. Of course, I have been read­ing all kind of sites, but admit­ted­ly they are usu­al­ly pro-Adobe so this type of info would most like­ly be dis­re­gard­ed.

    I know that major mag­a­zines here use InDesign. I also heard major UK Publishers moved to ID as well (and port­fo­lio of mags pub­lished with it is enor­mous) as well as some book pub­lish­ing hous­es in the US, so your com­ment sur­prised me. I’d assume that stop­ping migra­tion process and return­ing every­thing to old would cost more and be more time con­sum­ing than actu­al­ly fin­ish­ing start­ed migra­tion to new prod­uct.

    I’ll take your word for it though. I’m in no posi­tion to pro­vide real­is­tic sit­u­a­tion. Adobe is play­ing European cus­tomers with its pric­ing. I would­n’t be sur­prised if CS3 adop­tion is slow­er than expect­ed here. Then again, Quark does exact­ly the same to us. Regarding sup­port - thank­ful­ly I nev­er need­ed it myself. It would be knife in the back for Adobe to neglect cor­po­rate users and pro­vide them with mediocre sup­port. Quark’s icon­ic rep­u­ta­tion for bad/arrogant sup­port is prob­a­bly the main rea­son that drove peo­ple away form it. I’d sus­pect that Adobe would know oth­er­wise.

    I would­n’t call Adobe copy­cat. They are inno­va­tors after all when it comes to pub­lish­ing. The most cru­cial tech­nolo­gies used in that area are con­ceived in Adobe. the fact that both soft­ware (QXP and ID) are adding same/similar fea­ture is always tricky. One can claim one is copy­ing oth­er, but it’s total­ly irrel­e­vant to end user who had it first. I think the areas ID lacked behind were more or less matched/surpassed with CS3 (PDF/PSD) sup­port…). For cur­rent Quark users, 7 is major update and it’s nice, but it offers noth­ing attrac­tive to cur­rent ID users, IMO.

    You are cer­tain­ly right about mar­ket­ing though. It’s a pow­er­ful tool (just look at Apple). In the end, I doubt any ratio­nal per­son would invest their mon­ey sole­ly on hearsay. Both soft­ware can be test­ed and you can decide to make a pur­chase based on your own expe­ri­ence. In cor­po­rate envi­ron­ments this is prob­a­bly hard/impossible, but still…

  8. Curious says:

    Please dis­re­gard my gram­mat­i­cal mis­takes. I can’t believe that after all these years I mistype some very basic things.

  9. UNIV says:

    Are you a CS2 or 3 user?

  10. Curious says:

    I’m CS2 user. I have tri­al of CS3 installed for test­ing pur­pos­es.

  11. UNIV says:

    Interesting com­ment about It’s inte­gra­tion with oth­er appli­ca­tions you made, Photoshop sup­port was far bet­ter in Quark until CS3 and now they are about the same, I think fea­ture to fea­ture they are much the same it’s just a mat­ter of pref­er­ence.

  12. Curious says:

    I agree with you. They do things pret­ty much the same. Each has its own (dis)advantages. I just hope Quark keeps improv­ing XPress and start tak­ing on Adobe more aggres­sive­ly. More com­pe­ti­tion between the two means bet­ter prod­ucts for end users. It all comes down to pref­er­ence which appli­ca­tion you pre­fer to work in.