Flex layouts, new table and spring loaded cursor

QuarkXPress 2019 – New features

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QuarkXpress 2019 - the new user firendly designing platform
QuarkXpress 2019 - the new user firendly designing platform

In its newly launched version of QuarkXPress 2019, which we have also started using for the past couple of weeks for our magazines, an interesting new feature is called flex layouts, claimed to be a first in digital publishing for graphic designers. We hope to report further as we explore the new version as well as its use by a major Hindi daily in the near future.

QX and Flex layouts let designers create responsive HTML5 web pages in a WYSIWYG environment. They do not require any HTML or CSS coding skills, which eases the work of graphic designers to start creating banner ads, leading pages and microsites and perhaps even eMagazines, direct mail and eNewsletters.

The software additionally gives fast access to table styles through a new user interface. Designers can access table styles from the measurement palette, offering finer control over formatting tables at the cell level, and unlimited opportunities to format borders and shading. The new table feature offers new styling rules for table, row, column and cell-level formatting along with text styling rules. Users may apply table styles to any table regardless of whether the table was created directly in Quark or was auto imported
from MS Excel. QuarkXpress 2019 supports all PDF accessibility standards so that the user can export PDFs that are compliant with PDF/UA (ISO 14289), PDF/A and WCAG 2.0 requirements. It also allows the export of images in JPEG, TIFF and PNG formats. The user may also use the presets to control the dpi, quality, color profile, and file format while exporting QuarkXPress
layouts. It offers the flexibility of specifying a different or no space between paragraphs within the same style sheet. The new version also allows users to enlarge and shrink textboxes automatically so that they are always as large as the text inside requires.

When a user creates or adjusts boxes and lines on a page, these often need to align to specific coordinates or to other objects. QuarkXPress is known for this level of alignment and control with calculations in the measurement palette and its dynamic guides. In some cases, designers are required to specify the exact coordinates of the center of a new box, or the space between the edge of a box and the spine without using complex calculations. In order to facilitate this, QuarkXpress 2019 comes with a 9-point reference grid selector allowing designers and layout personnel to specify the exact coordinates of the center point of an object and all four corners.

Usually while making pages, it takes time to individually import images, especially in image heavy layouts. QuarkXpress 19’s new spring-loaded cursor feature can help speed up the process by loading the cursor with multiple images or text files at once and populate existing boxes or create new boxes one at a time with a single click of the mouse.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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