If you’re upgrading to QuarkXPress 5, you’ll want super-fast answers about what’s new and what’s changed -- and there’s no easier place to find them than in Peachpit’s QuarkXPress 5 for Windows & Macintosh: Visual Quickstart Guide. This book’s been updated far more heavily than QuarkXPress itself, with dozens of new sidebar tips, clearer feature introductions, and a whole lot more.
Each of QuarkXPress’s most significant new features gets a sizable new chapter. To begin with, there’s one on QuarkXPress’s long-awaited tables feature. (Hey, Quark, thanks -- it’s about time.) Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas cover both methods of building a table in QuarkXPress 5: using the new table tool to create an empty table, and then populate it afterwards; or convert existing text into a table.
You’ll also learn how to create tables of pictures, or tables that mix pictures and text. Tables are, of course, especially widespread in web designs, and QuarkXpress 5 also provides a couple of additional features for web tables. You’ll learn how to export a table as an image (something you may need to do when Quark can’t preserve the complex formatting you originally created for your print document); or rasterize individual cell contents while the rest of your table layout is being converted to HTML.
Another new chapter focuses on QuarkXPress layers. These make working in Quark more convenient and efficient -- not to mention their design benefits. For example, you can use the layers palette to hide distracting layers when you’re not working on them; and you can lock layers you’re not working on so you don’t inadvertently mess up their contents (ideal when you’re creating multiple language versions of a document within the same file). As is the case throughout the book, Weinmann and Lourekas offer some tips and gotchas you probably won’t find elsewhere. For example, if you suppress printing for an individual item on a layer, then turn printing on and off again for the entire layer, Quark will "forget" that you suppressed printing for the individual item, and you’ll have to do so over again.
While relatively few rank-and-file designers are ready for XML today, that will gradually change. Whether you’re already working with XML, see it on the horizon, or are merely curious, you’ll appreciate the full chapter on QuarkXPress’ XML support. Essentially, Quark has bundled the formerly separate (and costly) avenue.quark Xtension, which converts QuarkXPress content into XML format. In this chapter, you’ll learn how avenue.quark works with your text and style sheets to do that; how to create simple Document Type Definitions (DTDs) which specify the elements must appear in your XML file; how to streamline the process of generating XML files; and more.
All the things that have always been great about Peachpit’s QuarkXPress Visual QuickStart Guides are great here, too. Simple, easy to understand overviews of color management and print prep. Concise, practical coverage of QuarkXPress "books" -- umbrella files that organize and synchronize multiple chapter files. And, not least, a clean, open, easy-to-follow design, with carefully edited, task-focused copy -- and plenty of screen captures.
For $899 list, QuarkXPress 5 doesn’t come with printed manuals (they’re on CD in PDF format). Instead of paying $50 extra for them at Quark’s web site, consider spending a whole lot less to get the superb QuarkXPress 5 for Windows and Macintosh Visual QuickStart Guide. (Bill Camarda)
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.