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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.

Content variables

Previous versions of QuarkXPress let you repeat common text throughout multiple layouts, so that when you change one, they all change. Now you can also create Content Variables that grab information from one place and display it elsewhere. A common use is to generate a running header that displays a chapter or section title, which is pulled from document text formatted with a specific style sheet. Another is to refer to the location of an object elsewhere in the document, including its page number (even if that changes), and a hyperlink to it.

Footnotes and Endnotes

QuarkXPress 2015 can create both Footnotes and Endnotes, as well as import them from a Microsoft Word document. (Footnotes commonly appear at the bottom of a text box, column or page, while Endnotes appear at the end of a section or chapter.) This feature is smart enough to continue a long Footnote on the next column or page if it doesn't entirely fit on the current one.

Table enhancements

The table feature in QuarkXPress was long overdue for an overhaul. But rather than enhancing the existing table feature, Quark chose to create a new Inline Table feature. You can apply a Table Style to Inline Tables, which keeps multiple tables formatted similarly, and the table data can be linked to an external Excel spreadsheet.

These new tables must be placed as items inside the flow of a text box, which makes it easy to automatically export them into Reflowable ePub documents. The content of an Inline Table behaves much like the content of a picture box: you can change some qualities of its appearance in QuarkXPress, but the actual data can only changed by editing the file it's linked to. So, to change the text in an Inline Table, you must edit the Excel spreadsheet and then update the table using the Usage dialog in QuarkXPress.

Verified PDF/X-4 output

Printing professionals have been clamoring for QuarkXPress to output to the PDF/X-4 standard for quite some time. This PDF standard supports native transparency and DeviceN as the output color model, which creates smaller PDF files that print faster and are essential to some workflows. Specifically, imported graphics in PDF, AI and PSD format maintain their native transparency when exported from QuarkXPress. This issue is so important that the default PDF Output style in QuarkXPress 2015 has been changed to export native transparency instead of flattening it.

Support for legacy documents

One important issue must be noted: QuarkXPress 2015 will only open documents last saved by QuarkXPress version 7 or higher. If you have older documents, be sure to download Quark's free QuarkXPress Document Converter application that opens legacy files from version 36 and saves them in a format that QuarkXPress 10 and 2015 can open.


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