QuarkXPress 9 review

£935
Price when reviewed

QuarkXPress plugs another significant hole with its introduction of a Story Editor. This lets you view the copy of your current story in a word-processor-like view away from the distractions of the current layout and typographic formatting. With all overset text indicated by a red background, this makes it much easier to cut your copy to fit the layout, but the lack of a live word count and spell-checking are disappointing.

The Linkster XTension helps you divide text in linked boxes into separate stories. Previously this could cause reflow problems, but now you can select a box in the middle of a flow and split the story before, after or both, and even relink the two surrounding stories in the process. You can also quickly link multiple selected boxes to create a new story flow.

Another addition is the Cloner, whose primary function is to let you copy selected items or pages to new locations within the current publication. More advanced capabilities here include the ability to clone items or pages to new or existing layouts and publications.

QuarkXPress 9 - ShapeMaker

The last pair of new tools include the ImageGrid dialog, which enables advanced grid-style picture layouts. Set how many rows and columns you want, how images should be sized and fitted, and whether titles should be added, then pick a folder of images and a gallery is quickly created.

Finally, ShapeMaker lets you quickly create a wide range of regular and irregular shapes and save them as reusable presets. The real power of this feature is that you aren’t limited to outputting your shapes as graphics, but can instead output them as rules, text paths or as text and picture boxes.

The number of possible uses – star-shaped image masks, spiral text-on-a-path, undulating text boxes – is extraordinary and should really help users make their work more eye-catching and attractive.

Digital publishing

All these new capabilities are welcome, but QuarkXPress 9’s main selling point is undoubtedly its ability to output for smartphones and tablets. Tablets are particularly suited to reading, and with users crying out for content the potential is enormous. It’s a watershed moment and Quark has come up with a suitable slogan: Digital Publishing 2.0.

Details

Software subcategory Graphics/design software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? no
Operating system Mac OS X supported? yes

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