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Review: QuarkXPress 6.5

(May 2005) posted on Thu May 05, 2005

<i>The Big Picture's</i> art director gives his opinion of the latest Quark update.


By Jaxon Cook

QuarkXPress has been the industry standard
for page layout for many years.
However, with the introduction of InDesign
a few years ago, QuarkXPress has
had to develop new enhancements to
stay competitive with this new challenger
(see "Digital Workflow: QuarkXPress
vs. Adobe InDesign," by Stephen
Beals, March 2005, p. 30).

Its latest enhancements come in the
form of the much-anticipated upgrade,
QuarkXPress 6.5, which was announced
and made available
late in 2004. Quark
has improved the
stability of the software
from previous
versions, and it has
made some major
enhancements. The
new features are a
welcome addition to
workflow and output
processes, and
they can result in a
real time benefit for
all users.

Stand-out features

Let's take a look at some of the features
that I believe truly make QuarkXPress 6.5
stand out.

One of the newest features is a timesaving
extension called QuarkVista. Vista
lets you manipulate images in Quark
using adjustments that are found within
Adobe Photoshop. From the Picture
Effects palette, the user can apply Levels,
Curves, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance,
and so on. Also you can apply effects
such as Gaussian Blur, Unsharp Mask,
Despeckle, and other effects that are in a
re-orderable list in the Effects palette.
Each of these effects can be applied to
imported TIFF, JPEG, PNG, SCT, BMP, and
GIF images within the layout. Importantly,
once these effects are applied, they're
saved within the application without
affecting the original file"?unless the user
chooses to do so (Quark calls this being
"non-destructive").

Another new feature in QuarkXPress
6.5 is the ability to import Photoshop PSD
files natively into QuarkXPress. Once you
have imported the file, layers can be
switched on and off, opacities and blend
methods can be modified, channels can
be assigned to be spot colors, and clipping
paths can be chosen from within
Quark. The benefit here, of course, is that
you can work with Photoshop images
without leaving QuarkXPress.

Other enhancements in QuarkXPress
6.5 include support for guides on pasteboards
on master pages, table enhancements
such as grouping, and the ability to
set print styles. Plus, it includes an
upgrade to QuarkXClusive, an extension
that provides for variable-data publishing
capabilities.

Fonts and pricing

Quark also has helped users address the
terrible "missing font" message. Registered
users of 6.5 receive a font bundle from
Linotype available for download at no cost.
And if there's still an outstanding font or two
in a project, users can click on the "buy
missing font" button and purchase additional
fonts from Linotype at a special price.

The QuarkXPress 6.5 upgrade is available
at no charge to registered users of
QuarkXPress 6.1 (note: If you're using
QuarkXPress 6.0, you first have to update
your copy to QuarkXPress 6.1, then continue
with the update to QuarkXPress
6.5). For new users, the suggested retail
price is $1045 ($945 if from the Quark
store; and special pricing is available for
multisite licenses, students and educators,
as well as non-profits).

Quark: www.quark.com

Jaxon Cook is art director for ,The Big Picture,
magazine.


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