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The long-standing DTP app with improved capabilities and output flexibility.

What does it do?
QuarkXPress 2018 is the latest annual update to this long-established computer layout program dating back to the 1980s. It introduces a range of new features and controls for type, PDF creation, web/mobile creation and scripted automation.
In general, QXP allows the creation of multi-page or multi-component designs for print or web/mobile and interactive/video. It has sophisticated typography and shape tools plus basic but non-destructive image editing.

Specifications
Platforms:
MacOS or Windows

Import formats:
Can place graphics formats including TIFF, JPEG, plus text TXT and DOC/DOCX. Will exchange text seamlessly with Quark CopyDesk and the Quark Publishing Program database

Export formats:
Native QXP, PDF up to 1.7 including PDF/X up to X-4

Contact: Quark
www.quark.com

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
QXP 2018 was officially announced on 1 March with shipping due on 16 May. Users are mostly professional designers, marketers and publishers who need to create layouts for print, web/mobile or both.

How does it work?
It’s software for MacOS and Windows that enables users to create print and digital layouts including text, images and interactivity such as animation and video.
According to Matthias Guenther, Quark’s global director, desktop business unit: ‘You can use it to create advertising, brochures, magazines, catalogues, e-books, and even Web, iOS and Android mobile apps. No other page layout software gives you more control. You can directly convert any PDF file into editable QuarkXPress objects. Content can be exported in formats from print quality PDFs to native apps, HTML5 and e-books.’

How does it differ from previous versions?
The user interface has been tweaked, with an improved and extended Measurement Palette that controls all object attributes.
Recognising the dominance of InDesign, QXP 2018 can import and convert native IDML as Quark layouts. A big new feature is Colour Fonts, also available in the 2018 updates to Photoshop and Illustrator. This allows the creation of colour (RGB) and complex graphical effects within type, to be resaved as new fonts in the formats SVG, SBIX or COLR for use in print/PDF and some browsers.
The OpenType controls have been made easier to access and font listings are clearer. Automatic hyphenation now has five levels of strictness. Footnotes can span multiple columns. Automation tools gain JavaScript v8 support and GREP styling (automatic character styles also used by InDesign) via JavaScript.
The PDF exporter adopts the Callas PDF Print Engine, with Adobe’s own PDF libraries. PDF/A (archiving) export joins existing PDF/X-1a, X-3 and X-4 options.
Print output can now be scaled from 10 to 1,000% (with enlargements useful for signage and vehicle graphics).
Web/mobile related tools are extended: Android apps can be created (iOS was possible before) and HTML5 and ePub export are improved.
Options, add-ons and integrations with other Quark products?
QXP works as a standalone program, but also features as the layout part of the Quark Publishing Program for multi-user collaborative publishing such as newspapers or magazines.
It can also create design templates for Quark’s Content Automation Platform, an enterprise system that can automate much of the content lifecycle from creation and management to publishing and delivery.

What is the USP?
Guenther says: “It’s professional design software with no monthly subscription. It features superior typographic controls, non-destructive image editing, conversion of PDFs into editable objects and copy-and paste from Excel, Illustrator or PowerPoint into editable objects. You can also create unlimited iOS and Android apps for free and convert print layouts to interactive HTML5 publications.”

How easy is it to use?
Depends on your level of experience. “Students consistently communicate to us that QuarkXPress is the easiest professional design tool to learn,” says Matthias Guenther. If you are experienced with previous versions of QXP, you just need to learn the new features. If you’re experienced with InDesign, switching is straightforward.

Alternatives
Adobe InDesign CC 2018
Creative Cloud dominates graphic design with a suite of programs that cover most aspects of print, video and web. It is only available on subscription and prices have been raised on 16 April.
Platform: MacOS, Windows

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2017
This is a Windows-only multi-program suite that competes at some levels with Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s available either by subscription or with a perpetual licence. CorelDraw is the layout component.
Platform: Windows 7 to 10, Intel 13 or later CPU