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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Quark 8: First Impression

    September 12th, 2008 by Russell Viers

    Well I give Quark credit for finally admitting the software they’ve been peddling for the past decade was garbage. They may not have used those words, but the new behavior of Quark, which is more like InDesign now, says it all.

    As a Quark survivor, in full remission, I can tell you that my first launch of Quark 8 raised the question: “Will I be sucked back into this dark world in which I used to live to create my documents.” Well the answer is “no” but I can say that as an InDesign user, it’s easier to use Quark now than ever before.

    From the beginning, on of my favorite things about InDesign was the liberation from Quark’s text box/picture box structure. As a user, I was forced to create a box before I could put anything on a page. And worse, I had to decide in advance whether it was going to be a Text Box or Picture Box.

    No more. Now you can place text or pictures directly on the page and Quark creates the box for you. Just go to File> Import and choose what goes on the page. Better.

    Notice I didn’t say “Just like InDesign does….”

    Nope, it’s a ways away from being like InDesign. First off, you’ll notice Quark doesn’t offer the loaded cursor, which means that when you import text into XPress it just fits the page or column pargin…boom. Now I have to resize it. If I import a photo, it fits the page width. Yep…and I have to resize it, too. I much prefer InDesign’s approach which give me the loaded cursor and I have the option to click on a page, click over a frame or drag a frame the size I want my soon-to-be-placed photo.

    And another thing Quark trails InDesign on is the multi-place functionality. Yep, being able to select multiple items, even mixed format like a couple of text files, a few jpegs and a psd, allows me to build an entire page very quickly.

    Nope…Quark doesn’t have it.

    Another improvement in QX8 is that you don’t have to have your cursor in the text box to place text. That ALWAYS annoyed me. I’ve got a text box selected with my item tool, hit Cmmd. + E to Get Text and it barks at me. “C’mon” I used to scream at my screen. “Put the text in the box, already!”

    Now in the Ocho, you can select a text frame with the item tool, select File> Import (or your favorite shortcut) and boom…you can place your text in there.

    So even though XPress 8 has a long way to go to catch up with InDesign, I’ll accept Quark’s apology and be glad they are making strides to fix the product…although not enough for me to go back.

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