The most recent version is QuarkXPress 8 and it allows publishing in English ("International and U.S." ) and 36 other languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and others.
QuarkXPress is used by individual designers and large publishing houses, primarily to produce any kind of layout, from flyers to complex page layouts required by magazines, newspapers, catalogs, and similar printed materials. It is one of two products (the other being Adobe InDesign) that dominate that market space.
QuarkXPress early on incorporated an application programming interface called XTensions which allows third-party developers to create custom add-on features to the desktop application. Introduced in 1989, Xtensions, along with Apple Computer's Hypercard, were the first examples of a developer allowing others to create software add-ons for their application.
Having gained a marketshare of approximately 90% in the 1990s, Quark was criticized for having overly long innovation cycles and being too expensive, which encouraged Adobe to launch Adobe InDesign in 1999.
The release of QuarkXPress version 5 in 2002 led to a row with Apple, as it did not support Mac OS X, while InDesign 2.0, launched in the same week, did.
Due to the competition of InDesign, Quark started to lower its pricing levels in 2004. In December 2006, Quark licensed the Windows version of QuarkXPress 5 to be distributed free of charge on the cover of a UK computer magazine, Computer Shopper, with the idea of enticing consumers to upgrade to later versions.
Having arrived late with an Mac OS X version, Quark took a different approach to porting to Intel-native applications on Mac (Universal Binary), and released its Universal Binary version 10 months before Adobe ported InDesign.
The content placed in the text version of the boxes is provided with an array of typographic controls as required by professional typesetting businesses. In addition to the basic functionality of font, alignment, spacing, and color, the package also provides its users with professional level typesetting options like kerning, curving text along a line, and ligatures. As the only layout package QuarkXPress offers vertical tracking.
The software allows both box positioning and graphic or text positioning within a box with an accuracy of one-thousandth of an inch. Color control allows the full-use of printing-press standard Pantone or Hexachrome inks, along with a variety of other color-space options. Draft output can be printed on conventional desktop printers. For printing-press purposes CMYK separated films can be produced with relative ease. QuarkXPress also offers the ability for composite workflows, both with Postscript and PDF output.
Version 6.5, released at the end of 2004, added enhanced support for the Photoshop format (PSD). The PSD integration and picture manipulation features led to QuarkXPress receiving a number of awards, such as the Macworld Editor's Choice for 2004.
QuarkXPress' composition zones feature makes it the only desktop application with multi-user capabilities by allowing multiple users to edit different zones on the same page. Composition Zones pushes collaboration a step further than just simultaneous text/picture (as possible with QuarkCopyDesk since 1991), as it allows also layout and graphic elements to be edited outside the layout application.
QuarkXPress also allows the ability to pre-flight a document. It is unique as it works within the layout application itself and allows the user to jump directly to the conflicting object. Also the user-defined rules, output specs and layout specs can also be used for intelligent templates and enables resource sharing (e.g. server-based style sheet definitions).
The current version, QuarkXPress 8, offers a completely otpimized user interface, support for drag and drop, PDF 1.7 import, AI Import and a global file format. Design grids can be assigned to pages and boxes to allow unlimited baseline grids. Hanging characters can not only be applied but also customized by character and amount to hang outside the box.
QuarkXPress 8 is available for Mac OS X v10.4 ("Tiger"), Mac OS X v10.5 ("Leopard"), Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista, 32 and 64 Bit. The Mac version is a universal binary which runs natively on PPC- and Intel-based Macs.
In 2006 Quark renamed QuarkDDS to "QuarkXPress Server" It is marketed as a dynamic page publishing technology, sold through systems integrators and independent software vendors. Users can demo QuarkXPress Server technology online at the QuarkXPress Server Community web site.
Conversion tools with InDesign: