Desktop publishing specialists Quark has announced a significant update in QuarkXPress 8.5.

The update includes support for Microsoft Word DOCX for the first time, updated and new Pantone colour libraries, an automatic software updater, and a number of bug fixes, including Mac OS X Snow Leopard compatibility, PDF export, and Quark Publishing System integration with Job Jackets.

QuarkXPress 8.5 includes updated Pantone Plus colour libraries, released in May 2010. Users can now choose from new libraries, including: Pantone CMYK, Pantone Color Bridge, Pantone Pastels & Neons (Coated & Uncoated) and Pantone Premium Metallic Chips (Coated).

The 8.5 update is free to all existing Quark users.

Additionally, Quark has announced a special deal. Anyone who purchases or upgrades to QuarkXPress 8 between 1 September and 30 November 2010 will be able to choose between two free bundles worth up to £433/€513.

The Magic Software Bundle features MarkzTools (Mac only) and ID2Q from Markzware, as well as 1,000 professional OpenType fonts.

The Magic Maintenance Bundle includes a year’s worth of unlimited telephone technical support, the ability to upgrade from any previous version of QuarkXPress, free upgrades to any new versions of QuarkXPress released during the 12 months, and the 1,000 OpenType fonts. Details of the offer can be found here.

Earlier this year, Quark announced significant updates to its online knowledge base that offers customers access to self-service technical support tools.

The self-service portal allows users to customise a profile page where they can report technical issues, attach files, and provide comments about their issue. Quark customer support will view and respond to the issues directly within the profile. All the activity within the profiles is saved and can be accessed by the customer or Quark support at any time.

Quark

Quark partners and third party support vendors can also create profiles on behalf of their users and can communicate with Quark support through the Knowledge Base profiles, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Quark Knowledge Base is available here.

The Quark self-service support portal is available here.

Quark recently introduced  Digital Publishing 2.0, as part of QuarkXPress 8, which promises to allow publishers to focus on creating content for the Web generation of digital devices. Marked by a significant move from simple, black-and-white electronic books, Digital Publishing 2.0 builds on the proliferation of more powerful devices with large colour displays, such as smartphones, to deliver design-rich and interactive content to consumers insists Quark.

QuarkXPress 8 currently costs £779.00 plus VAT for the electronic download or £790.99 plus VAT for the CD-ROM Disc from the Quark store. A 60-day free trial is also available. Upgrades cost £279 plus VAT.

QuarkXPress 8 system requirements are Mac OS X 10.4.6 (Tiger), Mac OS X 10.5.x (Leopard), Mac OS X 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard) or later, Intel or PowerPC based Mac, and Microsoft Windows XP (service pack 2 or 3) or Windows Vista 1.0, Windows 7 (32 and 64 Bit).