Quark has announced a 30-day Test Drive of QuarkXPress 9, the upcoming new version of its flagship page-layout and graphic design software. The test drive is available for download now from Quark's Website.
With the evaluation software—which is actually the gold master shipping version that will be commercially available on April 26th—users can try out the new features of QuarkXPress 9 before committing to a purchase.
Any projects created in the Test Drive version will be compatible with the retail version of QuarkXPress 9, which will cost £779. Upgrades from QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 are £279. The software will be available for purchase through authorized Quark resellers and through the Quark Store.
The Test Drive software is fully functional for 30 days, and includes the ability to save and print, as well as open QuarkXPress documents from version 3 and above. After 30 days (or beginning on April 26th), users will be able to convert the Test Drive version into a full retail copy by purchasing QuarkXPress 9 and entering their validation code.
Digital publishing and automation
QuarkXPress 9 features new tools for advanced design automation as well as the ability to create content for delivery to digital devices like the iPad. Within 90 days of April 26th, App Studio for QuarkXPress 9 will also be available as a free update to all QuarkXPress 9 users. App Studio for QuarkXPress will give designers a dedicated environment within QuarkXPress 9 for creating content for the iPad.
With QuarkXPress 9, designers have multiple options for publishing to digital devices, including all devices pre-installed with the Blio eReader. The Blio e-reader is a free multiplatform, multi-device application that viewers can use to read full-color e-books and multimedia-enhanced content on a wide variety of devices. It is not yet available on the Mac, but is slated for release on the Mac platform sometime this year. Similarly, an iOS version of Blio is under review with the Apple App Store, but there's no indication of when it will be available.
Designers can also convert QuarkXPress print files into reflowable e-books using the ePub format to publish to Apple’s iBooks, the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, Amazon Kindle, and others.
The new Quark version also includes new features that help automate the design process by eliminating a number of manual and time-consuming tasks. These include the ability to set automated styling rules; Microsoft Word-compatible bullet and numbering features; and advanced callout and linking functionality. QuarkXPress 9 also makes it easier to edit text, clone design elements, create image grids, and duplicate objects or entire pages
Anyone who purchases QuarkXPress 8 at the regular price until April 30, 2011 is eligible to upgrade to QuarkXPress 9 for free. Customers who purchased QuarkXPress 8 between January 1, 2011, and February 23, 2011, are entitled to a complimentary upgrade to version 9. Those who qualify should complete the QuarkXPress 9 upgrade redemption form. Buyers who wish to redeem the free upgrade need valid serial numbers and validation codes established between January 1, 2011, and April 30, 2011.
QuarkXPress 9 runs on Mac OS X 10.5.8 or higher and requires an Intel processor.