QuarkXPress, the most popular granddaddy DTP (Desk Top Publishing) package of them all, has included 160 new features in this upgrade to version 7.1.
If you're a new user of QuarkXPress on the Mac, you will not be impressed with the interface. It looks deceptively simple. But seasoned users will feel in familiar territory, preferring content to eye candy. But why can't we have both? Looks and brains!
QuarkXPress uses a single row of icons through which all the main functions are accessed. The content-sensitive palettes allows for a clean uncluttered environment. If you want more floating palettes you can first customize a set by creating a group to keep at your fingertips to hide or display with a single keyboard command.
The Drop Shadow Tab on the Measurements Palette gives you the options to control the following aspects of the drop shadow: color, opacity, angle, skew, size, how it falls off the edges. Inherit Opacity links the shadow's opacity to the opacity of the object it is attached to, so as to control whether the drop shadow has its own opacity or increases and decreases its opacity along with the object it's attached to. Check the box next to Item Knocks Out Drop Shadow and you can see the shadow itself decreasing the opacity of the object. You can control seeing the shadow through the object or not. Your choice.
The Runaround Drop Shadow allows the text to run around the shadow. If unchecked, the text runs around the object and runs into the drop shadow.
Synchronize Angle makes all the shadows on all the objects in the spread appear to come from the same light source. All the angles will be the same.
Multiply Drop Shadow controls how the shadow blends with the items behind it.
In this version Typography supports character sets and Unicode. Myriad is a Unicode font; therefore in a recipe, which uses fractions, you can set true fractions. But if you change the font to a non-open type font the fractions are not permanent. They revert to regular numbers because the font isn't open type.
Because Open Type supports Unicode, QuarkXPress can perform some amazing tricks. Unicode allows up to 49,194 glyphs in a font, with a unique numerical identifier for every Glyph. This makes it possible to include all the characters in complex 2-byte languages like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Middle Eastern fonts. QuarkXPress can perform Font Fall Back, which is useful when importing or pasting text with characters not included in your current font. If Fall Back is not enabled the text box will remain empty.
QuarkXPress 7 has included a new Glyphs palette to help you find special characters and insert them with a simple double click. This palette is found in Window>Glyphs. It lets you choose all the glyphs in a font or just the symbols, the numbers, and so on. A Favorite Glyphs panel lets you store your favorite glyphs from multiple fonts for easy access at any time.
I loved the split view horizontally or vertically and the way one can click and drag content from one view to the other.
I created a sign for an upcoming MUG event in just a few minutes. It wasn't a complicated ad but the ease of use was a pleasant surprise because it included text, typography with color, and pictures. I thought I was going to have to design the lettering in Photoshop for my ad but I did it all in QuarkXPress using the Freehand text-path tool, and applied Drop Shadow. Check it out at http://mlmug.org/DrMDin.html In the box you will find the install CD and the updater CD to v 7.1; a Guide to QuarkXPress 7 - 434 pages to get you started; a Lynda.com training video; and a booklet called "What's New in QuarkXPress 7?"
I am looking forward to exploring more features in this version of QuarkXPress like alpha masking, expanded image effects, multi-user page composition, job control with Job Jackets, new synchronization options, better layout management, superior palette controls, improved locking, improved color management, expanded output options and output styles, ligatures on the fly, measurement palette enhancements, and many more.
The OpenType, transparency, drop shadow, and layered Photoshop file support do justify the upgrade for those who work alone in QuarkXPress. But the power of the upgrade is useful to multiple users working on a project with a new technology called Job Jackets. It is designed to make sure that set parameters stick.
I would love to have more powerful tools for text design - maybe in the future. Many of the features in this version had to be bought as plug-ins before. The lower price is welcome.
Review by NCMUG member Maria O. Arguello