Quark Xpress 6.0

March 6th, 2004 Software, Sydney Morning Herald, Tech

After a long hiatus from the world of updates — during which version 5 failed to light any fires — Quark is back with the first serious update to their flagship page layout software in almost a decade.

The big news is that it’s finally OSX native, one of last reasons you had to put off upgrading to Apple’s shiny new OS is no more.

But the question is, will is wrestle control of the page layout market back from the younger, slicker Adobe InDesign? And furthermore, from the multitude of WYSIWIG HTML editors on the market, now that it offers a web page design feature?

Sadly, it’s unlikely to rock the boat this time either. It’s still undeniably Xpress with the clean, uncluttered interface (now made beautiful by Mac OSX’s Quartz engine), and it contains more positive changes than Xpress 5 did, but it needs to try a lot harder to compete with easier and more professional (not to mention cheaper) tools like InDesign, GoLive and Contribute.

You can now save more than one layout in the one document, sharing colour and style attributes between them, and handy tricks like the synchronised text palette (update copy once and the same text is updated throughout your project) save a lot of effort. Much better table management and slightly better functionality collecting your job for print are also welcome additions.

Where Xpress really falls down though is in the HTML editor. The controls (and terminology) are clunky and not what you’ll be used to if you’ve even so much as toyed with Dreamweaver or Frontpage, so while it’s a great theory to use Quark Xpress to design and export a web page, it all falls down in the translation.

The other big news in recent times in Quark — XML export — is again a good idea, but trying to take in a new, dry coding language from a print design point of view is like reading a Hebrew dictionary and expecting to speak biblically.

So while there are some worthy features in Quark Xpress 6, it’s got a long way to go to restore its former glory.

Developer:
Quark

System Requirements:
Microsoft Windows XP, Mac OS X

RRP:
Quark XPress 6 — $3,495
Quark XPress 6 Upgrade from 5 — $715
Quark XPress 6 Upgrade from 4 — $1,440
Quark XPress 6 Upgrade from 3 — $1,850

Rating:
3/5

Web:
www.quark.com


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