• Price: 749 . 249

  • Pros: Includes many design-oriented features such as transparency and drop shadows, and can synchronize text and styles. Tables are improved, and QuarkXPress now offers PDF/X export.

  • Cons: Some features, such as multiple-layout projects and table controls, have the same limitations as in previous versions. Major new features are production-oriented and have limited use for most designers. Sluggish performance.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

For several years, InDesign has been grabbing the attention of the desktop-publishing market, usurping long-time frontrunner QuarkXPress. The design community has eagerly anticipated the release of QuarkXPress 7 to see if it could re-assert itself and drive off the threat posed by Adobe’s flashy newcomer.

Sadly, XPress 7 does not represent a significant leap forward. The new release combines additions that bring the application in line with InDesign, and some still-evolving original features that target workgroups.

This strategy will disappoint many core users – particularly graphic designers at smaller firms who don’t work in large teams.

 border=0 />Job Jackets are perhaps version 7’s biggest introduction. Job Jackets let you specify an array of attributes to be applied to documents – effectively providing preflighting functionality. A Job Jacket is composed of job tickets, and each job ticket contains standards that can be applied to a specific layout. 
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Yet the process of creating Job Jackets is hopelessly unintuitive. Quark admits that the feature works best if you let QuarkXPress create a Job Jacket based on an existing layout, rather than creating a Job Jacket from scratch. Even that process, however, requires the user to have some knowledge of XML data structures. 
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Once Quark showed me how to create job tickets from existing documents via a complex dialog box sequence, I found it fairly straightforward – but most users won’t get that extra handholding, and the manual doesn’t go into sufficient detail.<BR>
The potential value of the Job Jacket concept is clear – they can help production staff preflight a document before output, and provide a template file with more information than a standard QuarkXPress template. However, the difficulty of creating job tickets makes them less useful for designers.
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<b>In the Zone</b>
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