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Hop on the QuarkXPress

Updates and Plug-In Modules Add Value

by Thomas Franklin

Part 4 of a 8-part Series

While doing more with less is a staple of business orthodoxy, giving away more for less is not nearly as common.

Quark, however, has upped the ante in its battle with Adobe by making series of formerly pay-for plug-ins to XPress design program, free.

The software modules, dubbed Quark XPert Tools Pro, are available to XPress 7 users as a free download. Among the benefits of the free XTensions are "better scaling, improved guides, and powerful text-linking," according to Quark.

Among the XPert XTensions relevant for wide format designers is Scale, which lets users scale multiple objects and their contents within a layout; BoxTools, which enables designers to adjust the size and placement of graphical elements and text; ImageInfo, for accessing image metadata and modifying photos in layouts; and Print, which lets users export pages as EPS file. The XPert Toolbar is customizable and is complimented by XPert type, which lets designers apply common formatting options more quickly.

Speaking of free, Quark released a free update to its QuarkXPress 7—version 7.2—to include support for Vista as well as improve the overall performance of the program and add a few feature enhancements. Vista compatibility will bring the ability to drag and drop photos from within the Windows Photo Gallery directly into XPress.

The so-called QuarkAlliance of application developers are currently testing XTensions software for Vista compatibility. Among the vendors who have edged close to making an announcement of compatibility, as of this writing, is Extensis, which offers font-management software.

Version 7.2 offers more than Vista compatibility. Among the new improvements are changes to the Job Jackets user interface. Job Jackets is a workflow tool that enables multiple users to collaborate on a single project and version 7.2 gives users the ability to create new rules from the layout evaluation dialog box and create new layout specs from the layout menu.

The flattening tool has also been augmented to allow users to specify resolutions for vector graphics, drop shadows, and blends within a graphic.

On the color management front, 7.2 adds support for Kodak’s new Color Management Module (CMM) with black point compensation. Kodak’s CMM joins a roster of different CMMs that Quark makes available within QuarkXPress 7.

The company also launched a traveling Quark Symposiom—a series of free training seminars that will run through October. The day-long session features hands-on work with XPress 7 including a look at how the software runs on Vista, an overview of productivity features, and a look at the innovations and improvements in the software. The six city tour will hit New York, Montreal, Houston, Orlando, Los Angeles, and Chicago.


Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, How Suite it Is 
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, Mimicking the Masters
Click here to read Part 3 of this exclusive online series, Sign Making Gets Productive

May2007, Digital Output

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