Quark has announced it is to launch a new version of its flagship XPress desktop publishing package. QuarkXPress 8.0 will go onsale in late July worldwide.

QuarkXPress 8.0 has a more streamlined interface than previous versions, with far fewer items in the toolbox by default and no need to choose whether to populate a layout box with text or an image in advance. Many of the tools are now context-based, reducing onscreen clutter.

For example, the program dispenses with some of the more technical tools in favour of more straightforward drag and drop options and the ability to rotate items by hand so they look right visually, rather than having to the numeric keypad and enter values for angles. The more mathematical approach is also supported for those who prefer this sort of precision, however.

In line with Quark's aim to make XPress act and feel like other key programs in a designer’s arsenal, XPress 8.0 will have Bezier pen tools with fully editable points. The intention is that there will be no need for the layout artist to exit Quark just to draw around an item freehand.

QuarkXPress 8.0 also offers tight integration with interactive Flash and other web-based publishing standards. Quark’s approach is that page layout is no longer about static pages.

Quark says that for version 8.0 it has completely re-engineered the desktop publishing program, adding multiple language support across all versions, reflecting the increasingly international nature of publishing. Additional languages will be available for customers to download from the Quark website, though cost specifics were not provided to PC Advisor prior to today’s launch announcement.

Prior to QuarkXPress 8.0, customers who required multi-language support were obliged to buy a Passport version of the DTP program that offered specific layer support with different languages appearing on different layers of the laid out document. With this latest release, Quark is now offering layer support across all versions.

Aside from a couple of regional versions – the European version differs from the north American offering in that it doesn’t come with either French or Spanish as part of the standard setup – Quark is also launching an edition of QuarkXPress 8.0 for the Chinese. This is compliant with China’s character set and layout demands which are very different from western layouts.

At a demonstration of QuarkXPress 8.0 earlier this month, we were shown improved typographic controls including forced hyphenation so quote marks could be placed outside a box and blocks of text looked “visually correct”.

We were also shown how interactive elements could quickly and easily be added to an existing magazine layout, with clickable maps, hyperlinks and the ability to have an item move along a hand-drawn line in response to a user's mouse-over action.

Mainly, though, Quark is pushing the idea of its flagship page layout tool being able to do many of the tasks that creative professionals would routinely do using Adobe’s Creative Suite: InDesign for DTP; Photoshop, Acrobat, Flash and Dreamweaver for the image editing, PDF and e-publishing, interactive and online sides of things.

Quark arguably retains the upper hand with its typographic control, but XPress is an expensive DTP program – especially outside the US - as a result of which it has lost considerable market share to rival Adobe and its InDesign package and Creative Suite.

Click here for our news story on the launch of QuarkXPress 8.0.

QuarkXPress 8.0 desktop publishing software

QuarkXPress 8.0 desktop publishing software