Quark has released a beta version of QuarkXPress 5.0 for US systems.

It's available from Quark's site as a free download, though Quark warns against installing the beta on non-US systems. The company will release XPress 5.0 betas for international operating systems a Quark representative confirmed.

Quark's communications co-ordinator for Europe, Paola Chopard, said: "An international beta passport version will follow soon."

The beta is the public's first chance to take a look at the new Web features incorporated into the industry-standard desktop publishing product.

Quark 5.0 will export or import in 26 popular file-formats, helping Web publishers create content for a variety of media.

Quark is not offering any support for beta testers who encounter problems in a live production environment. The company is requesting that potential customers take a close look at the application: "As you explore the software, please keep an eye out for bugs and other problems and report them using our 5.0 Beta Bug Log Form. We appreciate your help."

Since the weekend announcement, Quark's Web site has been hit with heavy traffic, causing download delays.

Take a look at Macworld's QuarkXPress 5.0 sneak peek.