Review: Quark XPress 10

Pros: Vastly better picture previews, lots of feature improvements.

Cons: Performance can suffer with lots of high-resolution pictures.

Rating: 8/10

When an application as mature as QuarkXPress gets a new version number, you can expect a few big improvements and a whole lot of smaller ones. For big improvements in version 10, Quark chose to take on graphics display and handling, and a complete rewrite of their code for Mac OS X. Then they tackled a long list of user-requested smaller improvements, and added a few surprises.

Here’s a partial list of improvements:

• An entirely new “Xenon” graphics engine, which provides crystal-clear, pixel-accurate previews of all page items, including imported graphics such as PDF, EPS, PSD, AI, TIFF, JPG, PNG, and more.

• Full PDF transparency (“pass through”) support.

• Support for HiDPI displays, such as Apple’s Retina display.

• Rewritten for Mac OS X as a native Cocoa app, with dramatic speed improvements and access to special OS X features such as Recent Items, Dictation, File List in Dock, etc.

• Master pages can now have Layers!

• Palettes that automatically dock to the edges of the display, and automatically show/hide.

• Full-screen display of your document.

• An improved Measurements palette that completely replaces the old Modify dialog.

• A Quick Response Code (QR Code) generator.

• East Asian typography in all editions of QuarkXPress 10.

• Import pictures and hyperlinks from Microsoft Word documents.

• Maintain QuarkXPress formatting when updating linked tables from Excel.

• Copy and paste items while retaining Layer information.

• A new Print Preview with thumbnail page previews.

• Select a Key item for Space/Align to align to.

• Highlight missing fonts.

• Easily join, extend and close paths created with the Pen tool.

• Apply a style sheet to the current paragraph as you create the style.

• Flip shapes horizontally or vertically.

• Set default tool preferences from existing objects.

• More than 50 additional productivity enhancements.

Any one of the features above can justify the upgrade cost, depending on how you use QuarkXPress.

Quark claims that QuarkXPress 10 has a “Native and deep understanding of image and vector files: PDF, AI, TIFF, JPG, PNG, PSD, and more.” To demonstrate their improved image preview, here’s an example of a photo in the standard display quality in QuarkXPress 9 vs QuarkXPress 10:

Some additional benefits arrive with the new Xenon graphics engine: other page items such as gradients, blends and patterns also now look pixel-perfect, and QuarkXPress 10 can manipulate TIFF color channels and clipping paths directly.

When you need to precisely position elements on the page in relation to a graphic, you’ll appreciate the vastly improved imported PDF display — unlike InDesign, when you move a PDF graphic it remains sharp and detailed. Also, because QuarkXPress 10 now understands PDF at a deep level, QuarkXPress objects can now interact with transparent objects in imported PDFs.

Here’s an imported PDF file as seen at the standard display quality in QuarkXPress 9 vs QuarkXPress 10 (high-resolution previews are always on in version 10):

Unfortunately, if you work with a large number of high-resolution pictures in a lengthy document, moving around can get a bit sluggish (depending on your hardware, operating system, color management settings and so forth). I tested performance by importing about 200 high-resolution TIFF images into picture boxes on 16 pages (12 per page), and found that the first time I scrolled from page to page, it took from three to six seconds to view the new page. Also, the first time I clicked to see page thumbnails, it took 27 seconds for them to display. Subsequent scrolling was faster, possibly due to some kind of image caching. Quark plans to release a fix for this behavior in October.

The Measurements palette also received an overhaul, finally eliminating the old Modify dialog box. Now, everything you could formerly do in modal dialog boxes is available under these reorder-able tabs:

While some users will cheer at having everything in one place, some old-time users are likely to squawk about having to learn a new way of interacting with page items.

Working with color swatches in QuarkXPress is now a lot easier, due to the GIANT color swatch picker:

The Print Preview dialog now not only shows actual thumbnails of your pages, it also shows how the page will fit (or not!) onto your current paper choice:

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Posted on: October 4, 2013

Jay Nelson

Jay Nelson is a printing, design, and publishing industry veteran. As editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly for 21 years, he chronicled publishing's evolution from manual paste-up to iPads. He loves fonts and font technology, manages PhotoLesa.com and publishes e-books at TheSkinnyBooks.com.

15 Comments on Review: Quark XPress 10

  1. Je comprends parfaitement toutes les améliorations évoquées. Mais les utilisateurs de Windows sont laissés pour compte. Pas de nouvelles palettes. Les couches alphas ne fonctionnent pas correctement avec les couches contenues dans des fichiers Photoshop (par ex. pour réaliser une couche de vernis sélectif sur un calque Xpress (nouvelle palette de contrôle avancé d’image). Pas d’aperçu avant impression. Pas d’affichage plein écran. Pas de vignettes pour apercevoir les pages du document. Il n’y a plus de cadres enrichis (filets simples ou pointillés uniquement). Pour moi, donc beaucoup de déception malgré les améliorations que vous citez. 

    Cordialement.

    Translation from Google Translate:

    “I fully understand all the improvements mentioned. But Windows users are left behind. No new pallets. The alpha layers do not work correctly with the layers contained in Photoshop files (eg. To produce a layer of clear varnish on Xpress (new range of advanced image control) layer. No print preview. No full screen display. No thumbnails to see the document pages. There are more enriched frames (simple or broken nets only.) for me, so much disappointment despite the improvements you cite.”

  2. Ah Yvon, vous n’êtes pas le seul. Quark n’a vraiment rien compris, et recommence à ne pas tenir compte de ses utilisateurs… Je crains que ne soit la fin, et pour ma part je ne risque pas de passer en version 10 : la version 9 (avec ses nombreuses imperfections) me suffira amplement !

  3. I used to use QuarkXPress for all my page layout design work from 1989 to 2002. Then Quark took 2 years to come out with a version that worked on OS X and I finally moved to InDesign. I see nothing in QuarkXPress to make me want to move back in any way whatsoever. What I find laughable is that Quark is touting the new high-resolution display of imported images in the new version 10! It’s 2013 and they’ve finally brought this feature to QuarkXPress that’s been available in InDesign since 2001 or 2002, over ten years earlier. Quark lost its position as top dog in print design because they consistently paid no attention to the requests and problems faced by their users. I’m delightfully happy to have moved away from Quark’s software and into InDesign, which I find elegant, easy to use and extremely capable.

    Now, if Adobe could only figure out a way to convert InDesign files to ebook format without it losing all its formatting — but that’s another story entirely.

  4. I have been waiting for any support for font “auto-activation” plugins. No one appears to be addressing this situation. Extensis is actually asking its members to let them know if a plugin for QuarkXPress 10 should be considered. After a lengthy investigation, I received an insider tip as to a probable reason for no font auto-activation as of yet: “…however, the developer’s kit for Quark 10 was released pretty late, which is why it is now taking some time until we have the plug-ins finished.”

  5. A service bureau I used to do work with (anyone remember Linotronic Printers?), used to refer to this program as Quirk Distress. It almost always caused them problems.

    Try InDesign (smarter workflow, tight integration with the rest of Adobe Creative Suite, better interface & features). You might like it.

  6. With QXP 10.0.0.2 Quark has released a ridiculous “anything” that does not allow professional work at all. I’m using QXP since 1991 (I think it was Version 2 …) – and with every new update Quark had created several new problems … more or less. But there has never been a release with malfunctions comparable to the X-version. Comments from Quark? No. Explanations? No. Upgrades? No. This is not funny. I have deleted my copy and decided to wait for the upgrade 10.5. I’m afraid though, Quark might not survive this disaster.

  7. I updated my Quark to version 10 and it has been nothing but a disaster.  First, the platform is unstable and crashes repeatedly.  And, the bigger the file the more it crashes.  Second, their tech support, while always gracious, does nothing to resolve problems you have.  Oh, they are great with suggestions like, “Well, try this or try that.”  I don’t want tech support to guess how to solve a problem.  I want them to know how to solve a problem.  And, they very well could know, but they are not about to tell YOU.

    In 30 years of computer software use, I have never been more disappointed than I am with Quark version 10.  Want a good suggestion?  But Adobe InDesign.

  8. Toatally unusable peice of software if you want pictures on your page

  9. La version 10 même avec sa mise à jour récente, reste une catastrophe. Je regrette d’y être passé et vais revenir à la version 9 et passer à InDesign après 20 ans de fidélité à Quark !!

  10. Je viens de mettre à jour avec la version 10.0.2. Je constate aucun changement. L’importation de PDF est catastrophique. Même la boite de dialogue ne prévisualise pas correctement certains PDFs. Je ne vois pas à quoi sert la palette de contrôle d’image avancée. Elle ne gère pas les couches. La version Windows n’offre pas d’amélioration par rapport aux versions antérieures. Certaines fonctions sont toujours absentes. Fidèle aussi à Qurak depuis 20 ans, je suis très très déçu par la version 10 qui semble bâclée. J’ai signalé ces dysfonctionnements à Quark, mais ne s’améliore. Pourtant le site Quark vante avec toujours autant de positivité la suprématie de son logiciel. Je ne suis pas certain de poursuivre avec Quark moi-aussi!

  11. Ao comprar o Quark 9 para “ganhar”o 10, perguntei a vendedora quando teria a licença do 10 e ela me respondeu: “vou verificar, pois a Quark é meio travada”. Passei a usar o Quark na versão 3 e o achava muito bom, concorria com o PageMaker que era muito ruim. Pois é o tempo passa, o Indesign surge e a travada Quark afunda um bom programa. Tiram ferramentas que você demora um tempo para aprender e usar. MEIO TRAVADA? TOTALMENTE TRAVADA. A Apple poderia comprar a Quark e salvar o software.

  12. Ao comprar o Quark 9 para “ganhar”o 10, perguntei a vendedora quando teria a licença do 10 e ela me respondeu: “vou verificar, pois a Quark é meio travada”. Passei a usar o Quark na versão 3 e o achava muito bom, concorria com o PageMaker que era muito ruim. Pois é o tempo passa, o Indesign surge e a travada Quark afunda um bom programa. Tiram ferramentas que você demora um tempo para aprender e usar. MEIO TRAVADA? TOTALMENTE TRAVADA. A Apple poderia comprar a Quark e salvar o software.

  13. But it has a good spell checker.

  14. Carmen Sorvillo

    October 17, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    There needs to be a class action lawsuit filed for all those print professionals who shelled out $100s of dollars for a product that is unusable since v8.5. Q9 with the introduction of eBooks 7 app studio was full of glitches for those working in print. It was a huge pain in the butt. I was overjoyed when Q10 was released so soon after, but it was even worse. Whenever I try to produce spot color PDFs for the printshop a given color will appear as spot in one location on the page & as CMYK in another location. I’ve spent many hours on the phone with tech support during this past year. They offer suggestions & workarounds that don’t help & will not admit that the product just doesn’t work. With each new revised version I hope thatthe situation has been addressed but It still doesn’t work.  I have been using Q10 for the much better interface, but I have to export a Q9 file to use for PDF exporting. Maybe the soon to be released Q10.5? I’ve tried InDesign & I really hate it. Thinking of just retiring so that I don’t have to deal with it!

  15. carmen sorvillo

    October 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    * ebooks & app studio

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