XChange International has released Xdata for QuarkXPress 8. The upgrade is a free release for version 7 users and adds more features, as well as support for the latest version of Quark's DTP tool.

Xdata brings the full typographic and picture publishing power of QuarkXPress to bear on all data-driven repetitive publishing tasks: catalogues, directories, form letters, financial summaries, tables, labels, lists of all sorts, and more. Completely integrated with XPress, Xdata automatically formats data exported from Macintosh or Windows database and spreadsheet applications, or downloaded from corporate information systems, freeing users from endless manual formatting. Xdata can also import related pictures (of any type supported by XPress) into boxes anchored in the incoming text.

The latest version includes full QuarkXPress 8.x support and features including support for tables and anchored text boxes -- both with auto-fitting -- background blends in anchored boxes (text and picture); a new format() function that provides powerful Excel-like number formatting; and per-import preference settings.

Xdata is designed to be easy to use. In a database or spreadsheet application, the user selects and sorts the data to be published, exporting it in standard ASCII "data snapshot" format (comma- or tab-delimited). In Quark, they then create a "template" for a prototypical record, including placeholders for each field (e.g., <>) formatted in any fashion. The user then selects "Import from file..." from the Xdata menu in Quark, chooses the data file, and presses Start in the Xdata control panel. Xdata does the rest.

Xdata has an English-like scripting language that lets the user include or exclude fields, pictures and static text, based on the value of one or more fields in the current or previous record. They can create sophisticated record templates that apply different formats to a field, based on its or another field's value, for example, causing a page break or
formatting a major heading in reverse type, given a change of value indicating a new section or subsection. They can even apply master pages as needed.

For industrial-strength publishing, Xdata places no limits on data: records and fields can be as many and as long as needed, within the overall limits of Quark documents. Xdata can create multiple, independent "dictionary-style" headers and footers on each page or spread, with sophisticated controls over the header/footer contents. Xdata for Mac OS is fully scriptable with AppleScript for automation of large, complex jobs involving multiple imports in multiple documents.

Xdata has been field-proven world-wide at thousands of installations since late 1990, ranging from one-man freelancers to Fortune 25 sites, and remains a top selling XTension. Xdata has been successfully used in hundreds of
different types of applications.