First Look At QuarkXPress 7

2005
Feb
18

At the TypoTechnica 2005 conference in London Thursday, Quark Inc. showed off QuarkXPress 7, which it characterized as “the most significant upgrade in the product’s history.” In an hour-long demonstration to press, type designers, font technology developers, and graphic communications professionals Quark’s Gavin Drake, UK director of marketing, and Scott Weiseler, the Quark product analyst […]

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At the TypoTechnica 2005 conference in London Thursday, Quark Inc. showed off QuarkXPress 7, which it characterized as “the most significant upgrade in the product’s history.”

In an hour-long demonstration to press, type designers, font technology developers, and graphic communications professionals Quark’s Gavin Drake, UK director of marketing, and Scott Weiseler, the Quark product analyst spearheading Unicode and OpenType programming for XPress 7, demonstrated the first significant improvements to XPress’s type engine since version 3.

Said Drake of XPress 7: It is “the biggest rewrite we’ve ever done, and the most significant upgrade we’ve ever done.” The core text engine has been rewritten into compartmentalized sections that afford Quark developers faster, simpler feature additions in 7 and later.

“By supporting Unicode and OpenType, QuarkXPress 7 will offer a considerable increase in the range of typographical options for our customers,” he continued.

New XPress 7 Typography Features Revealed:

  • OpenType
    Including access to OpenType fonts entire table of more than 65,000 glyphs.
  • Support for 23 OpenType Features
    Including: standard ligatures, discretionary ligatures, swashes, fractions, superscript and subscript, and alternate numeral sets–tabular lining, proportional oldstyle, proportional lining, and tabular oldstyle.
  • Font Fallback
    If a Unicode font does not include a full set of glyphs for non-Roman characters, XPress 7 will “fall back” to a back-up font that does, substituting in the layout characters from the first font with those in the second. This option will not be user-configurable in 7, but in future releases may allow users to specify a list of fonts to fall back upon.
  • Glyphs Palette
    Nearly identical to the Glyphs Palette in InDesign and Illustrator CS, and rumored to be standard across all Adobe Creative Suite point products in version 2.0, the QuarkXPress 7 Glyphs Palette will present a full tablular view of any Unicode font’s (including OpenType’s) glyphs. Individual glyphs may be chosen from the current or alternate typefaces and inserted into the XPress layout.

    The Glyphs Palette will also feature a pop-up menu for selecting groups of related glyphs and the ability to create a custom set of often-used glyphs called “Favorites.”

  • OpenType XPress Tags
    XPress Tags will be upgraded to preserve and use OpenType fonts and features during import and export of tagged files.

What’s Missing

Two typographical features Quark users envy of InDesign that will not be in QuarkXPress 7 are hanging punctuation, which pushes punctuation like quotation marks into the margins and gutters of columns for improved readability and optical alignment, and a multi-line composer. InDesign’s multi-line composer makes decisions about a paragraph’s word and character spacing, hyphenation, and word arrangement based upon the affect each action has on the entire paragraph, thus increasing readability and reducing distractions like consecutive hyphens, overly spread out words and characters, and, most notably, rivers. Quark’s single line composer assembles lines of text in a paragraph without regard for what effect the assembly has on the lines above and below.

Passport Required?

With QuarkXPress 7 support for Unicode and OpenType, the viability of Quark Passport, the multi-language version of XPress is in doubt. Since Unicode is a double-byte format, as are non-Roman language characters like Japanese, Cyrillic, and Arabic, the single language version of XPress 7 will carry the same core layout language-support functionality as the current version of Passport. The only remaining difference between them will be the languages available to users in the interface–whether the palettes and dialogs display labels in English, Russian, Dutch, or one of a dozen other languages.

Whether Quark Passport continues as a separate product, and, if so, in what form, has yet to be decided. Since the XPress code base will feature the functionality of Passport, Drake foresees a unification of the programs’ code bases, which would make the future of Passport purely a a marketing decision. “Do we sell just one package, with support for all languages,” he said. Or “allow users to select which languages they want, and sell them exactly that?”

QuarkXPress 7, as first reported by Quark VS InDesign, is slated to ship summer 2005, though Drake would only confirm a release date of “this year.”

[via Publish Magazine]

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