The long-awaited update to veteran page-layout package QuarkXPress, version 8, is released today, with a raft of new tools and an overhauled interface.

Quark says the new release offers "faster design with fewer clicks"; new features include built-in print, Web and Flash authoring tools, advanced typography control, and global publishing capabilities; QuarkXPress 8 was exclusively previewed in Digital Arts back in May.

Features include:
- Flash and Web Authoring Tools: Without any programming skills, designers and creative professionals can share print content on the Web and in Flash format without purchasing multiple applications or learning code.
- Picture Content Tool: Allows users to grab, rotate, and scale images in real-time without typing in numbers or switching from tool to tool.
- Item Tool and Text Content Tool: Smart behaviour within these tools allows for less switching between tools, even for rotation and managing multiple items.
- New Bézier Pen Tools: Draw illustrations directly in QuarkXPress 8 with the redefined Bézier Pen tool.
- Workspace Enhancements: Include new buttons for instant access to master pages and exporting to PDF, EPS, SWF, and HTML - plus new split-view buttons, enhanced contextual menus, and customisable active pasteboards.
- Measurements Palette: Further enhanced to make even more functions easily accessible, including new clickable controls for on-the-fly drop-shadow modification.
- Drag-and-Drop: Drag text and pictures from the desktop, Adobe® Bridge, iPhoto®, or any other application that supports drag and drop. Alternatively, drag content from QuarkXPress to Photoshop®, Illustrator®, Microsoft® Word, and other applications for direct editing.

So confident is the company in the new interface that it's offering a '60-Day Test Drive' version so that designers can try the product out before committing.

"We are excited to announce the broad availability of QuarkXPress 8. This new version of our flagship product raises the bar once again for page-layout and design," said Terry Welty, Senior Vice President of corporate marketing for Quark. "QuarkXPress 8 offers users advanced features and functionality and increased productivity while maintaining familiarity for long-time users."

QuarkXPress 8 is now available for purchase directly from Quark and through Quark Authorized Resellers. An upgrade to QuarkXPress 8 from any previous version is £279 and full product can be purchased for £779.

See the next issue of Digital Arts, released on August 21, for a full product review.