InDesign Update Challenges Quark

SAN FRANCISCO (03/13/2000) - Adobe Systems Inc. is updating its InDesign "Quark killer" less than a year after launching the professional print page layout tool. Quark has avoided the morgue, but Adobe hopes 70 new features and work flow enhancements will prompt you to kick the Quark habit.

InDesign 1.5 ships Monday priced at $699. It adds a pen tool, better type flow, image preview, and print trapping. InDesign also supports Adobe file formats like PhotoShop, Illustrator, and PDF.

PageMaker's Role

Adobe is pushing InDesign in the professional print community and nudging PageMaker, its former Quark rival, into business publishing with new ease-of-use features.

"There are certainly people doing professional print publishing with PageMaker, but the majority of its users are on the Windows platform," says David Evans, InDesign product manager. "Future versions will be more focused on business publishing with templates and wizards."

Built around core Adobe libraries, InDesign displays type and colors in the same manner as other Adobe programs, Evans says. It can import and export PDFs, and handle color separations in that format.

"With Quark, if you want to make a change to a Photoshop file, you have to go back to the original, make changes, then flatten and export it as a .tif file," he says.

Fixing Flaws

InDesign 1.0 lacked a trapping tool, a process that compensates for color bleeds common in professional printing when plates shift. The update has built-in trapping, which spreads one color into another to let inks overlay.

InDesign 1.5 also supports trapping in Adobe's Raster Image Processor .

With its new bézier pen tool, you can create text on a path and edit that path.

With this, InDesign is playing catch-up with Quark.

"Quark already has a bézier tool," says Chris Myrick, a designer at a professional print house who uses Quark Xpress 4. Quark also has step and repeat, a feature that lets you duplicate an element multiple times, which is new to InDesign.

"I use it all the time; it's a key feature," Myrick says.

InDesign 1.5's features and operations are almost identical across Windows and Macintosh platforms, making it easier for users to exchange files, Evans says.

But most print shops run both systems, Myrick says. "I rarely take anything across platform, but Quark looks the same on either platform."

Time-Saving Tools

Beyond integration with Adobe tools, InDesign targets Quark with its image preview and automated typography. Its high-resolution mode lets you see images as they will print, not just as a low-resolution graphic.

InDesign's multiline composer looks ahead several lines when calculating line breaks, while an optical kerning engine determines the best spacing between letters.

With InDesign 1.5, you can align text vertically within a frame and then specify the maximum space between paragraphs. Quark handles those operations manually, Myrick says.

InDesign 1.5 also adds an Eyedropper tool so you can copy attributes, like color, and apply them to other objects.

From InDesign evaluators, Adobe compiled of list of reasons people don't drop Quark. "We added those features, so now they can," Evans says. Meanwhile, Quark Xpress 5.0 is on its way.

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