QuarkXPress is a page layout application for Mac OS X and Windows, produced by Quark, Inc.. Quark can be considered one of the founders of Desktop Publishing (beside Aldus, Adobe Systems and Apple Computer). The first version of QuarkXPress was released in 1987.
QuarkXPress incorporated an innovative 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.
Beside QuarkXPress, Quark Inc.'s other notable product is "QuarkXPress Passport", which is QuarkXPress with the added ability to use multiple language UI, hyphenation and spell-checking.
Although similar to desktop publishing applications for the home and small office market such as Adobe PageMaker, Microsoft Publisher, QuarkXPress is seen as one of only two page layout applications for the professional market, the other being Adobe InDesign.
The first Mac-only version of QuarkXPress was released in 1987. A Windows version came in 1992. In the 1990s, QuarkXPress quickly became the worldwide tool of choice of professional page designers, the typesetting industry and printers. In particular, the Mac version of 3.3 (released in 1996) was seen as stable and trouble-free, working seamlessly with Apple's TrueType fonts and it remained an industry standard well after subsequent versions of the software were released.
Having gained a market share of approximately 90% in the 1990s, Quark was criticized as being monopolist with overly long innovation cycles and too high prices. This inspired Adobe to launch Adobe InDesign in 1999. The release of QuarkXPress version 5 in 2002 led to a rift with Apple, as it did not support Mac OS X, and InDesign 2.0 launched in the same week, did.
Due to increased competition Quark has changed its pricing levels since 2004 and has been releasing more frequent updates (e.g. QuarkXPress 6.5 was free to 6.x users). 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, the idea being to entice consumers to upgrade to later versions.
QuarkXPress is a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG page layout program. It handles text and graphics as different objects (text boxes and image boxes). Both types of boxes can be reshaped and layered in quite complex ways, and in varying levels of transparency and runaround. QuarkXPress has two distinct operating modes: content (e.g. most actions are within a text box and affect text layout) and object (e.g. box positioning and box characteristics). The two modes allow access to different menu options and alter the actions of keyboard shortcuts. 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.
Additionally QuarkXPress offers layout synchronization, multiple undo/redo functionality, XML and web page HTML features, and support for direct PDF import and 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.
The current version, QuarkXPress 7, adds support for OpenType, Unicode, JDF and also PDF/X-export. QuarkXPress 7 also allows unique features, such as native transparency at the color level.
QuarkXPress 7's composition zones feature makes it the only layout application with multi-user capabilities by allowing multiple users to edit different zones on the same page.
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).
QuarkXPress 7 is available for Mac OS X 10.4 and Windows XP. The Mac version is a Universal binary that runs natively on PPC- and Intel-based Macs.