QuarkXpress 10 and 2015 - talk to me

So I’ve used pretty much every page and publication tool out there, most to fully professional levels, and like a huge part of the industry I now use InDesign as my day-in, day-out tool.

The one tool among a dozen that I never had to use more than briefly was QuarkXpress. It was Mac-only, then it was an aging port, then it was more or less sidelined by developments in other tools. I know it’s always held onto some segments and has a dedicated user base, but…

I have a potentially long-term client that’s produced a magazine on QXP for more than a decade. Their three regular production people are all daily users. They are about to upgrade to v10 and then to 2015 - or something a bit like that - and my first round of tasks for them would be overseeing the update of a huge library of templates and boilerplate. Supposedly 2015 has a good conversion tool but docs need to be opened, checked and touched up before the conversion can be trusted.

Okay. Great. Boring but that’s the breaks. I’ve done this before. (Ask me about converting 2,000 technical documents from Ventura to FrameMaker some time.)

So: my impression is that Quark is the WordPerfect of the trade; once mighty, now subsisting on bread crumbs of a market that loves it. Did it ever get any better? Is it a sensible investment even for an established user? Or is this the moment to suggest that all the conversion and update and training and so forth be put into InDesign with a few of the magazine plug-ins?

They also have CC and know the tools - they’re just secondary. So as the hotshot expert, should I go in and do what they want done, or nudge them into rethinking the plan to move forward to a more industry-standard tool from a bigger, more reliable provider that has a better future all around?

Put more simply, is it in any way sensible for them to remain with Quark at this juncture?

Prepress superior here. I stopped updating quark after version 7. I only have one client (out of hundreds) that still uses it. Quark finally can produce acceptable pdf’s. That’s the only realistic way they can stay with it. Then, of course, you need to have pitstop or some other pdf editing tool.

I can’t believe Quark is still in business. There is no good reason to continue using it, over InDesign.

Thanks. That was pretty much my impression but I was willing to consider that I was comfy in Adobe’s lap and ignorant of other segments.

It’s going to be a tough choice. It’s an established niche magazine focused on a very non-tech field, and being in Nwingland only compounds the “well, we’ve always done it this way” sensibility.

I suspect the husband and wife owner/managers would be subject to a little pressure, but their three long-time, no doubt elder ‘graphics’ people are going to balk at changes.

Have to think about whether the headaches are worth the commission.

Further thoughts about how shiny and new v2015 might be solicited.

I wish Quark was still a viable option. Adobe is becoming the Microsoft of DTP.

Why? (As OP, and as the question’s been adequately answered, we can shift gears here.)

I’ve been doing this a long, long time, and with only a few minor exceptions, every release of the toolset makes me all Christmas-morning squee-ey. InDesign is the tool I would have designed, given unlimited budget and development ability. The uber-meshing of the tools and file types has speeded my workday immensely. And very little of it is broken, marketing-driven or useless (the odd oddball experiment like Muse aside, and let’s forget about GoLive entirely).

There’s no competition for Photoshop because there’s no need for it. Next to no competition for Illustrator and DreamWeaver, ditto. No need to use any tool inferior to InDesign.

Other than general anti-monopoly and choice reasons, and the fact that these tools aren’t freeware or open source, what’s the problem?

Pricing, mainly.

Well, yeah, it’s not cheap. Except to a professional. Way, way worth $50.49 a month. (I do wish they’d throw FrameMaker in there, though.)

Also I’ve got years of quark files archived when it was the go-to layout app. Now I just have 1 workstation with quark 7 to deal with old files.

Yeah, I’ve had archives like that, most of which finally aged out and I could get rid of CorelDRAW 3 or whatever.

That’s the situation with this client. They have a huge archive of component pages and files, and since they can’t stay with Quark 8 any more, they have to move one way or the other. I can see why Quark 10/2015 looks like the best move, but I am going to see if they’ll put other options on the table before they invest many $k in a software and document update that’s really anything but.

Maybe not. So I get paid a whole bunch to acquire some quick QXP2015 mastery I’ll never use again. :slight_smile:

ETA: And that’s why PDF is the graphics industry’s gift from the gods. :slight_smile:

Marksware makes a converter but only handles older versions. I have used

but files need a lot of massaging to work out. NG for longer documents.

That’s where they’re at - apparently 10 and 2015 have built-in conversion, but it’s not trustworthy so someone (hi, there!) has to review each one and fix it up for ready use.

I once converted 2,000 Ventura documents to FrameMaker (one of the times Word with VBA was absolutely invaluable), and the company still uses that library 15 years later. I hate taking a paycheck to do something so useless as a QXP->QXP update when we could move it all to a modern platform with the same effort.

Okay, I am supposed to talk to this client on Friday, and I am going to give them the option of talking to me with my Outside Contractor Who Does As Directed hat on, or my much more stylish Outside Contractor Who Has Some Advice For Them hat. I don’t much care; check’s the same in either case.

But I’ve snagged a copy of Quark 2015 and my concerns about their choice to stay with QXP are even deeper. I am fumbling a bit with features that are mapped a little differently from my recent experience, but I can’t find ANYTHING that gives QXP unique value - a feature that, say, InDesign doesn’t have or doesn’t do well. It looks very much like a slightly stripped copy of ID, with some different approaches to things like font/paragraph formatting and other details. It has what looks like a simple subset of DreamWeaver tools embedded, to enable e-book development. It comes with no predefined colors except CMYK… weird. It has only a few page sizes predefined. Weird. Many of the essential menus and palettes are on-demand only… I can’t pull them out as a permanent side palette, as I can in Adobe tools. (I tend to work with one very large “working” screen, and a large side screen holding ALL the menus and palettes… I don’t have the patience to pop out tools one by one any more.)

Head to head, I can’t see ANY reason to choose QXP over InDesign and the other Adobe tools that will be needed for graphics and publication work anyway.

For a shop that’s been QXP based for a long time, I can’t see any big difference in the hurdle to v2015… or InDesign. A few days of absorbing ID’s different concepts of element management, and the rest is the same.

If they really want me to go in and assist with the upgrade of the shop to QXP 2015, I’ll take their money. But I think I have to make a good-faith attempt to advise them of the (same, better, or much-better-with-a-much-more-assured-future options). Which will likely honk them off, and they’ll choose some rabid Quark maven to help them instead. (Okay.)

What really disturbs me is that the Quark company seems to be very small and in something a lot like panic mode. You can get a 3-day trial version for the download, but I really needed longer to evaluate the package and help this client in the next few weeks. So I filled out the 30-day trial form, being specific about my intent… and ended up spending 30 minutes on the phone with a rep who had to be assured I wasn’t out to steal their product, or do some large commercial project with my temporary license, or any of a number of things. To me, that’s an utterly unproductive and unnecessary effort, one only a company in a slight hysteria about their vanishing market could waste time on.

Anyway, final question: are there any experienced, current QXP users out there who have a comment on all this? Am I missing something about the new version that makes it a better choice than I can see with my admittedly Adobe-ized view? If this company is going to make a big upgrade jump from QXP 8, is a jump to v2015 instead of InDesign in any way sensible?


Thanks. I do have discussions going on in other venues, some more targeted than this one… but as much as it may surprise some, I have a lot of trust and respect for the brainpower assembled here.

After years of pushing quark over Pagemaker, I now push Adobe CC on my clients. I have done onsite training and support at no charge just to make my life easier. I’d like to keep current in QXP, but my resources are limited.