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QuarkXPress 2015 review: Chock full of new features requested by you

Jay J. Nelson | June 24, 2015
The past several versions of QuarkXPress added features that were most requested in Quark's user surveys, and QuarkXPress 2015 continues this strategy. For example, they changed its version numbering scheme to indicate the year of release (otherwise this would be QuarkXPress 11), and the product is still offered with a traditional perpetual license rather than requiring an ongoing rental fee.

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The past several versions of QuarkXPress added features that were most requested in Quark's user surveys, and QuarkXPress 2015 continues this strategy. For example, they changed its version numbering scheme to indicate the year of release (otherwise this would be QuarkXPress 11), and the product is still offered with a traditional perpetual license rather than requiring an ongoing rental fee.

QuarkXPress 2015's big new features include fixed-layout eBooks, text variables that automatically populate content such as running headers, a new table feature with Excel integration, automatic footnotes and endnotes, and PDF/X-4 output.

ePub enhancements

A large portion of Quark's user base produces corporate communications, financial reports, books, and other publications. QuarkXPress 2015 enhances these kinds of workflows. (In many companies, QuarkXPress is just one part of a multi-stage automated system that produces electronic, printed, and web documents.)

The ePub format has two variants: Reflowable, commonly used for novels, textbooks, and other simple text-and-pictures publications; and the newer Fixed Layout ePub, the preferred format for publications whose layout is as important as its text and pictures--for example, children's books, travel guides and cookbooks.

The eBook layout space in QuarkXPress 2015 supports both Fixed and Reflowable ePubs. (While you cannot export a Fixed Layout ePub from an existing Print layout, you can still build a Reflowable ePub from an existing Print layout.) There are benefits and drawbacks to this forked approach, and its value depends on your existing content and future plans. The main benefit to Quark's approach is that you can design one layout for your eBook and let QuarkXPress optimize its page size and special features for each output format.

Once inside your new eBook document, you can use all the rich layout tools in QuarkXPress, including sharing Style Sheets, Colors, Item Styles, Footnote Styles and other attributes across Print, App Studio and eBook layouts. This makes it much easier to keep an identity consistent across multiple layouts.

Four years ago, Quark's App Studio was the first user-friendly tool to convert publications into complex, interactive iOS apps. With the recent ratification of the EPUB 3 standard, Quark has now migrated their HTML5-based App Studio tools into all the QuarkXPress 2015 layout spaces (Print, eBook and App Studio). This means that you can now use the familiar App Studio interface to build interactivity into ePub files--including Audio, Video, Slideshows, Animations, 360-degree images and Buttons.

The existing Reflowable ePub features have also been dramatically enhanced. For example, you can now apply an unlimited number of Style Sheets; CSS styles are automatically generated from QuarkXPress Style Sheets; you can use the new HTML5 palette to add audio and video interactivity to items; you can include items on the Pasteboard in the reflow (for example, to use a different picture in the ePub than in the print document); you can use Callout Anchors to insert pictures into the text flow without needing to split the Story into multiple components; and you can tag and export to Reflowable ePub from App Studio layouts. A variety of tagging functions have also been streamlined to make converting to reflow a less tedious experience.

 

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