by November 4, 2006 0 comments



Finally after a long wait, new version of QuarkXPress is here with a lot of
new features. QuarkXPress 7 does not target enhancing creativities or
streamlining printing workflows, but is aimed at seamless publishing of content
in the same format to multiple media. You can work with the different types of
content (text, images, spreadsheets, databases content, XML, etc) and output it
in a variety of formats (print, PDF and Web starters).

A few advanced tools have also been introduced. These include transparency,
QuarkXPress Vista, job jackets, Composition Zones, Unicode Support and Open Type
Support. 

Price: Rs 38,000
Meant For: Graphic designers and art directors
Key Specs: Superior display, transparency and drop shadows, PSD import, channels, improved table tools
Pros: Better design related features and workflow, can import files from a large number of software
Cons: No true print previews, can’t change shortcuts keys and picture effects on PSD files
Contact: Gyan Prakash, Ahmedabad
Tel: 0172 2299584. E-mail: gprakash@quark.com 
RQS# E61 or SMS Buy 131161 to 6677

New features
Basic features remain the same with respect to text, boxes, picture boxes and
line. New features expand your options for creating easily editable designs.
Enabling transparency allows you to specify opacity when you apply a color and
then add a drop shadow. Tables, layers and synchronization help streamline your
workflow while multiple layout views, locking enhancements and palette
improvements improve your productivity. XPress 7 improves on the QuarkVista
XTensions Software and offers professional options for color correction and
special effects, with PSD imports. You can use advanced options like changing
pixel quality information, doing transformation rendering (crop, scale, skew,
rotate), image adjustment (levels, curves, color correction).

Improvements
In the new version of Xpress, now you have a larger work area. In previous
versions of Xpress, there were too many palettes and dialog boxes cluttering
your screen. You could not do away with these elements either as they were
deprived for even very basic work. Now, you get panels like colors, frames,
picture property, clipping and alignment in a single ‘Measurements’ palette.
This gives you more working area. Instant preview is also extended to features
on these tool palettes.

When you are working on different kinds of projects, like an advertising
campaign or a page for print or a Web page, the kinds of tools and palettes that
you would like on screen would be different. These can now be defined by the
user and with a couple of clicks. The workspace changes according to the project
you select. You can split one window into multiple panes either vertically or
horizontally to examine and work with different parts of it without having to
scroll there. Each view can be resized and zoomed independently.

The new QuarkXpress 7 sports an advanced
measurement panel with color editing and a more attractive view with XDraw

You can also drag and drop items between these layouts. Also it has an
entirely new display engine that displays shapes and text more smoothly. This
new technology is called XDraw. It uses anti-aliasing to provide clearer display
of rotated text-and it does it faster than before. XDraw also vastly improves
the quality of text and other items exported from a Web layout to HTML. When you
export items for the Web, the new rendering engine gives improved JPEGs or GIFs.
QuarkXPress 7 introduces color channels to solve color correction and output
color-checking problems.

For instance, you can easily come out from four-color black problem, RGB to
CMYK, Color Correction and a lot of printing outputs.

Enhancements needed
While there are other features it boasts of, Quark still hasn’t been able to
give true print previews. Another thing we were looking for but couldn’t find
in this new version is that while showing a print preview, it doesn’t tell you
which text or visual element is exceeding the print area.

Also you cannot even change the shortcut keys. It doesn’t even support
changing effects likes making path, channel effects, hue etc on a PSD file. To
add these effects you need to go back to Photoshop.

Print and Web modes
This version onwards, Web designers can use the software too. You can export
your same print layout and style sheet into the Web layout where the style sheet
becomes a CSS file. Forms, image maps, hyperlinks, rollovers, cascading menus,
flash movies (SWF), etc can be readily added to your web pages using Xpress 7.
However, so far there is no feature to create or explore your site map in this
version.

You can now change the print layout to a Web layout at the click of a button and vice versa

Collaboration and integration
XPress 7 improves on integration with other applications like Flash, Photoshop,
Illustrator, Acrobat PDF and Excel. You can import an Excel document into an
XPress table, including its images. The XPress table will resize to accommodate
the cells in the Excel document. Content sharing was introduced in the earlier
release of the software-that is if you repeated text at several places, you
would probably want the text to change everywhere when you changed it at one
place. Also in this case, formatting wouldn’t change, only the text would. In
version 7 you can change the formatting of the text also. Plus, you can do this
change across pictures, picture boxes, lines, and paths. A Composition Zone (new
to Xpress 7) is an area of a page that you choose to share. This shared area
spins off a version of itself as a separate QuarkXPress Layout document that any
other user of QuarkXPress 7 can edit. Their changes are updated in your Project
in real time. Job Jackets, another new feature in version 7, is a combination of
input and output requirements for a Quark project. This creates a set of colors,
fonts, styles, spacing and other parameters that are allowed or not allowed for
that project. Job Jackets are based on industry-standard, open Job Definition
Format (JDF) specs.

Bottom Line: The new edition is definitely worth going for, especially
if you are using an old version of the same software.

Vishal Goyal

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