Best Buy
  • Price: 9900

  • Company: Markzware

  • Pros: Inexpensive, and has the ability to save parameters. Opens external applications automatically and offers great customization.

  • Cons: Complex, with a steep learning curve. Takes a long time to set up properly.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Designers love new bells and whistles in their tools. Adobe opened the DTP equivalent of Pandora’s Box when it added transparency to InDesign, and suddenly magazine designs were filled with drop-shadows and fancy overlay effects.

With all this new power came unprecedented levels of document complexity. Drop-shadows and weird skew effects may look cool, but they can be a nightmare for repro houses. Markzware has been nipping such problems in the bud with its FlightCheck software for years – and now its caught up with InDesign’s feature list.

FlightCheck Studio operates as a plug-in for both InDesign and QuarkXPress 4.x, 5.x and 6.x – unlike the standalone Professional and Designer versions. Functionality is identical (though application-specific) for both QuarkXPress and InDesign versions, so we’ll concentrate on the latter here.

 border=0 />The tool can perform checks at a number of stages – when creating a new document, opening an existing one, saving, exporting, packaging, and printing. In practice, you may find that you only want to check when exporting and packaging, but the other options are useful when sharing documents in a workgroup.
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The two-paned window is complex but thorough, showing all elements that the tool will check in a columned, drill-down style interface. There are hundreds of these – and all are customizable, so take some time to wade through them. The first time you check a document, pretty much everything will be flagged – most of it unnecessarily – and it’ll take ages to go through the report.
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