Quark's not dead: QuarkXPress 2017 is here, aiming to be faster to use than InDesign

A new version of QuarkXPress adds better typographic features and more ways to edit images without going out to Photoshop.

You might be forgiven for thinking that QuarkXpress had gone the way of PageMaker - but it's still being developed, and there's a new version coming soon, QuarkXPress 2017.

Between 10 and 15 years ago, the whole design industry - or so it felt at the time - moved from QuarkXPress to Adobe InDesign for page layout. However, there are still a core of committed users of 'Quark', as we called it, who will be excited to use it.

Could it tempt you back from InDesign? Those hit by the recent price rises of Adobe Creative Cloud could be tempted by it's fixed price (which can be as low as £319/US$349 if you've got a old copy of QuarkXPress in a drawer somewhere, even back to the 27-year-old Version 3).

You'd need to lose Photoshop and Illustrator too, but for many users Serif's Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer can give them the features what they need from those Adobe applications (for a fixed price of £48.99/US$49.99 each).

Quark says that for many photo-editing tasks, you won't need to go out to Photoshop, as new features let you edit images inside QuarkXPress. Read on to discover what these are, and other new tools.

New image-editing tools in QuarkXPress 2017 include the ability to add effects and adjustments including Brightness/Contrast, Channels, Levels, Selective Color, Threshold and Unsharp Mask.

These are all applied non-destructively - so you can go back and adjust them later.

You can also apply blending modes to images, for example as shown here to quickly composite a photo with a white background using a Multiply blending mode.

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All gradients in QuarkXPress 2017 can now include multiple colours - which you can also apply to lines and borders (sparingly, please).

There's a new eyedropper tool for picking effects to be applied to other objects, as traditional eyedropper tools do with colours.

Also new are more shape drawing tools, including a Spiral tool.

You can apply strokes to text, with different colours for stroke and fill if you wish (the fill can also be transparent). 

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Text Shading allows you to put blocks of colour behind words up to paragraphs or complete columns - and you can make it offset from the text.

Similarly, Text Framing helps you to highlight text with lines, dashes stripes or gradients. Again this can be offset from the text, and Text Shading and Text Framing can be combined. 

Headlines and crossheads within multi-column text boxes can now span multiple columns.

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Other new features include a new flatter UI on MacOS, snapping palettes on Windows, and a list of last-used fonts (a much-requested feature according to Quark).

QuarkXPress 2017 can also output responsive HTML5 from layouts.

QuarkXPress 2017 is due in the second quarter of 2017. It costs £799/US$849. Upgrades from QuarkXPress 2016 cost £159/$179. Upgrades from earlier versions (back to v3) cost £319/US$349.

Current owners of QuarkXPress 2015 can upgrade to QuarkXPress 2016 now for £159/$179 and will get QuarkXPress 2017 for free. Owners of older versions can do the same for £319/US$349.

You can buy new versions of QuarkXPress and upgrades here.

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