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QuarkXPress 2016 review: New features help your documents look their best

Jay J. Nelson | May 27, 2016
Converting PDF, EPS, Adobe Illustrator, and Microsoft Office items to native QuarkXPress items highlights this fast, stable upgrade.

You have to hand it to Quark: every few versions they add a major new capability that has never existed in any program before. With QuarkXPress 2016 they’ve added the ability to—cue drum roll, please—convert imported PDF, EPS, and Adobe Illustrator files to native editable QuarkXPress objects. You can even convert objects or entire pages from Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), CorelDraw, Affinity Designer, and other apps.

QuarkXPress 2016 has other innovative new features, many of them based on requests from users. QuarkXPress 2016 is also impressively fast and stable, and those upgrading will be delighted that XTensions written for QuarkXPress 2015 also work with QuarkXPress 2016 (as long as the XTension doesn’t conflict with a new function). And unlike Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress doesn’t require an ongoing subscription. Its perpetual license lets you use the program forever.

Convert PDF, EPS, or Adobe Illustrator files to native QuarkXPress objects

Surprisingly, it takes only a few seconds for QuarkXPress 2016 to convert every object in a PDF, EPS, or Adobe Illustrator file to a native QuarkXPress object. You don’t have to convert an entire document; if you import the file into a QuarkXPress picture box and crop it, only the area showing in the box will be converted. You also have the option of keeping the original picture box intact and converting a copy.

The importance of this capability cannot be overstated. Designers often work with charts, graphs, and PowerPoint slides that almost never use the correct colors or fonts for a company’s brand. Conveniently, when these items are converted to native objects in QuarkXPress 2016, their colors are added to the Colors palette where they can be replaced all at once with your brand-approved colors. The text in these graphics is also converted to native QuarkXPress text, so you can easily format it to match the brand by using Style Sheets.

Speaking of text, when converting from these other formats, QuarkXPress does an amazing job of putting text that belongs together into one text box. In contrast, converting these files in Adobe Illustrator breaks the text into so many text objects that it’s almost impossible to edit them. (Many designers prefer to rebuild artwork from scratch rather than wrestle with this mess.)

After converting, vector graphics become native QuarkXPress objects and Adobe Illustrator paths become QuarkXPress paths with the exact same Beziér anchor points as in Illustrator. You can then use the Beziér (pen) tools in QuarkXPress to adjust them.

Here’s one timesaving use for these conversions: Publications almost always receive advertisements in PDF format, and once they’re converted to native QuarkXPress objects, the publication can update prices, dates, and colors inside the ad. That’s never been possible in a page layout program before.

 

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