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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.

In addition, Quark has dropped support for the bitmapped frames available in earlier versions of QuarkXPress. When you open a legacy document that uses one of these frames, QuarkXPress 2015 alerts you that these frames are no longer supported. There is no easy workaround.

The small improvements

Every mature application benefits by refining the ways its daily users interact with it. Having completely overhauled the QuarkXPress interface several versions ago, Quark has now improved many of the rough spots identified by its users. The first change is that there is no installer--instead, you simply drag the application to your Applications folder. Another under-the-hood change will be enjoyed far longer: QuarkXPress 2015 is now a 64-bit application, so it can make better use your computer's RAM. This results in dramatically faster viewing of imported graphics and exporting of PDFs, and since the text engine is now multi-threaded, you can more fluidly work with complex text objects such as tables.

Pages can now be much larger: up to 224 by 224 inches instead of the previous limit of 48 by 48 inches, and you can now save named, custom size presets for new layouts. To accommodate these larger page sizes, you can now scale pictures up to 5000 percent.

Additional small improvements make creating your layouts much more fun. For example, a new Format Painter lets you copy attributes from text and apply them to other text. You'll find it in the Home and Character tabs of the Measurements palette, and it also has keyboard shortcuts. Speaking of which, you can now assign or change keyboard shortcuts for menu items or other actions, and save them as custom sets.

You can now filter the items in the Style Sheets, Colors, Hyperlinks, and Content Variables palettes by name, which is handy since these palettes can often be quite lengthy. Thankfully, WYSIWYG font menus can once again be disabled--QuarkXPress 10 had inexplicably removed that ability.

Other practical improvements include automatically viewing a PDF after exporting it, and collecting all the assets from all the layouts in a project using Collect For Output--previously, only the assets from the current layout could be collected. You can now use the Usage dialog to relink any imported picture to a different picture file, and the Usage dialog now displays file names without cropping long names to fit.

Bottom line

QuarkXPress 2015 is a valuable upgrade for QuarkXPress users who make ePub files, work with lots of tables or footnotes, or need running headers. By also providing the top 10 most-requested feature improvements, Quark has made this an upgrade every user will want.


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