Quark Releases Feature-Rich QuarkXPress 7

Quark's first major release in two years offers transparency and other new features, but faces stiff competition from Adobe and a rapidly changing marketplace.

Quark announced May 22 the release of QuarkXPress 7, the first update to its QuarkXPress graphic layout program in two years. The full release is available for trial download on Quarks Web site.

With this release, Quark is attempting to rejoin the desktop publishing battle with Adobe. Quark has been losing mind share to Adobe, of San Jose, Calif., ever since the latter company launched its InDesign software in 1999.

XPress 7 offers several eagerly awaited new features, including composition zones, job jackets, transparency, and support for OpenType and Unicode fonts.

Quark, based in Denver, said it is hoping these new features will "transform the business of creative communications" by helping creative professionals work more efficiently.

For example, the new composition zones in XPress 7 let creative professionals work on the same page, at the same time, and automatically view each others changes, according to Quark.

The job jacket feature enables workgroups to share specifications across workstations. And a synchronization palette enables teams of creative professionals to ensure that design is consistent—synchronizing text, pictures, and other items and their attributes.

The new transparency features enable users to specify the opacity of the elements that make up any item—text, pictures, blends, boxes, frames, lines, tables and the like.