Markzware PDF2DTP conversion tool review

Markzware makes useful tools for page layout artists. Among them is an invaluable conversion tool to allow designs originally created in QuarkXpress to be imported and edited in Adobe InDesign. Of more general use, though, is the PDF2DTP converter, which allows you to import a PDF document into a Quark (or InDesign) layout and edit its content to fit your design.  

Much like Adobe Acrobat, PDF2DTP is able to extract individual elements of the PDF so you can manipulate them individually. You might consider £179 a lot to pay for this sort of tool. In fact, it’s exactly what you need if you’re creating a document based on a client’s marketing materials but don’t have the original source files. 

PDF2DTP converts whole pages into editable Quark documents and doesn’t baulk at processing several hundred pages at a time.  If you’ve got a hefty PDF document that needs amending PDF2DTP pulls everything into Quark, page by page. You can then tweak the layout or update the copy as required, just like a standard Quark layout. 

To use PDF2DTP, you select it from the Markzware dropdown menu that appears in Quark, then browse to the PDF you want to convert. We used the 140-page official guide to the London 2012 Festival. Conversion of this fairly image-heavy document took just shy of three minutes. We got a warning about missing fonts and the standard Quark option to use a substitute. The layout and image placement, along with the all-important Olympics colour scheme, were all preserved. 

Clipping paths and transparencies are duly accommodated and style sheets recognised. You’ll probably have to reformat tables, though (see limitations here http://markzware.com/products/pdf2dtp/)

Not everything is flawless. Though we didn’t find any instances of images being poorly rendered, Markzware warns that PDF2DTP shouldn’t be relied on for colour matching. We also had to manually select facing pages, which was a minor irritation.

OUR VERDICT

Niggles aside, we were impressed with Markzware PDF2DTP. Given an original document that isn’t locked down, it swiftly turns the original PDF into a fully formatted layout. This huge timesaver will become an invaluable addition to many designers’ arsenals.

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