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Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 07:05 pm PT (10:05 pm ET)

Quark to target InDesign with QuarkXPress 6.5, 7.0

With Adobe hot on its heels, Quark is pouring additional resources into the development of QuarkXPress and will soon begin firing off updates to the world's leading page layout software at a more rapid pace, AppleInsider has learned.

The Adobe Effect

The company is currently preparing for the release of QuarkXPress 6.5 and is expected to follow up with a completely overhauled QuarkXPress 7.0 in early 2005. Additionally, sources report that the company is actively shopping around for an advertising agency for the first time in its corporate history.

So what has inspired Denver-based Quark to accelerate its efforts and increase engineering by over 33 percent in the last year? One of the major motives, insiders say, has been rival Adobe's startling competitiveness in the desktop publishing field, led by the success of its InDesign product.

Unwilling to accept the competition blindly, Quark will ease into its battle plan with a revision to QuarkXPress 6.0 that will ship this summer. Although it had originally intended to release the update as version 6.2, sources say that an extensive list of new enhancements may prompt the company to market the software as QuarkXPress 6.5.

QuarkXPress 6.2 (6.5)

The new version will introduce Quark's integrated online Font Store, which will enable users to quickly purchase fonts that are missing from documents obtained from third parties or via the internet. As part of the store launch, the company will be giving away $1000 worth of fonts to lucky license holders.

QuarkXPress 6.5 will also include Citrix Server support and an integrated QuarkVista image editor that provides non-destructive image filters, allowing the user to change filter parameters at any time without losing image data or quality. Tables will gain rotate, auto-page grow, header and footer enhancements, while the application's XML implementation will acquire roundtrip support and shed the need to retag on export.

Other features of the new version include "XT aware" styles that allow the user to set bleed and OPI settings on print styles. Meanwhile, the update will also include support for guides on pasteboards and master pages and reveal path information in the "Edit Original" function on Windows PCs.

Sources also said that the update would integrate with a new "iMuse" online image store and Creo's "Tokens" peer-to-peer file sharing software, but offered few details. Earlier in the week Creo's announced that Quark had joined its Networked Graphic Production initiative that is devoted to increasing efficiency in the print production cycle through automation, integration, and cross-vendor interoperability by utilizing the CIP4 JDF standard.

The most welcome feature might be the addition of dual-machine licensing, allowing the user to install the software both at the office and at home.

Quark is expected to release the update both online and in retail box form.

QuarkXPress 7.0

In early 2005, Quark will follow up with an official release of QuarkXPress 7.0. Although sources have been mum on the complete feature set, the software will reportedly include a very "InDesign-like interface" and a completely rewritten PDF engine.

About Quark

Since January, when Quark named Kamar Aulakh its new CEO, the company has revitalized its QuarkAlliance sales consultancy program; focused on standards and on participating in industry groups; offered a heavily discounted education pricing model; and allied with Hewlett Packard to bring variable printing workflows into the mainstream.

Quark released the current version of QuarkXPress (6.1) for Mac OS X in February as a free upgrade to registered owners of QuarkXPress 6.0.