Quark Ships QuarkXPress 8

Quark announced QuarkXPress 8, the newest version of its professional page layout application, on Thursday. Version 8 includes new design tools geared towards improving creative workflows and enhanced typography support for better text control.

QuarkXPress 8 added improved Bezier pen tools for vector-based illustrations, smart Item and Text Content tools that contextually change behavior, a new Measurements palette, a Picture Content tool for modifying image frames and sizes on the fly, and a redesigned interface to help users work faster and more efficiently. The new version also gained the ability to add content to documents via drag-and-drop from any drag-and-drop aware application like iPhoto, Adobe Bridge, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Microsoft Word.

The new typography tools give users more precise control over the text in their documents and finally add hanging character support for optical alignment. They include paragraph-by-paragraph text and punctuation alignment control, several alignment presets, and the ability to create custom presets.

The new version includes built in support for Adobe Flash content creation, which previously required the Quark Interactive Designer add-on package. No coding skills are required to create Flash content, and completed layouts can be exported for use in HTML documents as SWF or as self-running Flash applications.

QuarkXPress 8 also improved international support and replaced the customized file formats used in previous versions of the applicatio for a unified file format that allows users to open and edit any QuarkXPress 8 document regardless of the language it was originally created in. Users will, however, still have to purchase the appropriate version of the application based on the languages they plan to use when creating documents.

QuarkXPress 8 is priced at US$799, or $299 for upgrades from any previous version. Users that purchased or upgraded to QuarkXPress 7 between May 29 and August 1, 2008, will be eligible for a free upgrade to QuarkXPress 8.