QuarkXPress 7 review

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

  • Price When Reviewed: 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.

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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. 
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. 
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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