Developer(s)Quark, Inc.
Initial releaseMarch 31, 1987; 36 years ago (March 31, 1987)
Stable release2024 (20.0.0) (November 14, 2023; 2 months ago (2023-11-14)) [±]
Operating systemClassic Mac OS, macOS, Microsoft Windows
Available inmultilingual
TypeDesktop publishing

QuarkXPress is desktop publishing software for creating and editing complex page layouts in a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) environment. It runs on macOS and Windows. It was first released by Quark, Inc. in 1987 and is still owned and published by them.

The most recent version, QuarkXPress 2024 (internal version number 20.0.0), introduces two new palettes: Font Manager and Picture Links, and has compatibility with macOS Sonoma, as well as the option to export to IDML format.

QuarkXPress is used by designers, publishing houses and corporations to produce from printable to multimedia projects. Recent versions have added support for ebooks/flipbooks, Web and mobile apps.

Non-destructive image editing in version 2017


Founded by Tim Gill in 1981 with a $2,000 loan from his parents, with the introduction of Fred Ebrahimi as CEO in 1986.

The first version of QuarkXPress was released in 1987 for the Macintosh. Five years passed before a Microsoft Windows version (3.1) followed in 1992. In the 1990s, QuarkXPress became widely used by professional page designers, the typesetting industry and printers. In particular, the Mac version of 3.3 (released in 1996) was seen as stable and trouble-free, working seamlessly with Adobe's PostScript fonts as well as with Apple's TrueType fonts. Quark's AppleScript support was a significant factor in both Quark's and AppleScript's success.[1]

In 1989, QuarkXPress incorporated an application programming interface called XTensions which allows third-party developers to create custom add-on features to the desktop application. Xtensions, along with Adobe's Photoshop plugins, was one of the first examples of a developer allowing others to create software add-ons for their application.

Although competitors like PageMaker existed, QuarkXPress was so dominant that it had an estimated 95% market share during the 1990s.[2] After QuarkXPress 3.3, QuarkXPress was seen as needing significant improvements and users criticized it for its overly long innovation cycles.

Gill sold his 50% stake in the company in 1999 for a reported $500 million.

The release of QuarkXPress version 5 in 2002 led to disappointment from Apple's user base, as QuarkXPress did not support Mac OS X, while Adobe InDesign 2.0—launched in the same week—did. QuarkXPress also lost marketshare due to an increasing price gap between it and InDesign. InDesign CS cost $699, while QuarkXPress 6 cost $945. The later Adobe Creative Suite (2003), which users purchased for access to Photoshop and Illustrator, included InDesign.[2]

In response to a shrinking user base, Quark started to lower its pricing levels in 2004. In December 2006, Quark licensed the Windows version of QuarkXPress 5 to be distributed for free on the cover of a UK computer magazine, Computer Shopper, with the idea of enticing consumers to upgrade to later versions.

Having arrived late with a Mac OS X version, Quark took a different approach to porting to Intel-native applications on Mac (Universal Binary), and released its Universal Binary version 7 months before Adobe ported InDesign.[3]

QuarkXPress 9 won Product of the Year in 2011 (MacWorld Awards 2011: Grand Prix Winner[4]).

From 2015 to 2022, QuarkXPress updated on an annual cycle. Since 2023, QuarkXPress releases on a bi-annual basis.[5]

Use and features

The package provides the basic functionality of font, alignment, spacing, and color, but it also provides its users with professional typesetting options such as kerning, curving text along a line, and ligatures.

A QuarkXPress document contains text and graphics boxes. The boxes can be reshaped, layered, and given varying levels of transparency and text alignment (runaround).[6] Both box positioning and graphic or text positioning is allowed within a box with an accuracy of one-thousandth of an inch.

Color control allows the full-use of printing-press standard Pantone or Hexachrome inks, along with a variety of other color-space options. Draft output can be printed on conventional desktop printers. Process color (CMYK) separation films can be produced for printing-presses. QuarkXPress also offers the ability for composite work-flows, both with PostScript and PDF output.

QuarkXPress offers layout synchronization, multiple undo/redo functionality, XML and web page (HTML) features, and support for direct PDF import and output. Documents can be verified (pre-flight) before printing. This high-level print preview automatically identifies conflicts and other printing problems. Adobe has a similar feature in InDesign.

Composition zones feature makes it the only desktop application with multi-user capabilities by allowing multiple users to edit different zones on the same page. Composition Zones pushes collaboration a step further than just simultaneous text/picture (as possible with Quark CopyDesk since 1991), as it allows layout and graphic elements to be edited outside the layout application.

User-defined rules, output specs, and layout specs can be used for intelligent templates and enable resource sharing (for example, server-based style sheet definitions).

Version 6.5, released at the end of 2004, added enhanced support for the Photoshop format (PSD). The PSD integration and picture manipulation features led to QuarkXPress receiving a number of awards, such as the Macworld Editor's Choice for 2004.

Version 7 added support for OpenType, Unicode, JDF, and also PDF/X-export. QuarkXPress 7 also added unique features, such as native transparency at the color level.

QuarkXPress 8 introduced a completely new user interface, support for drag and drop, PDF 1.7 import, AI Import and a global file format. Design grids can be assigned to pages and boxes to allow unlimited baseline grids. Hanging characters can be applied and customized by character and amount to hang outside the box. This is the first version to include built-in Adobe Flash authoring. Designers can create Flash content including sound, video, animation and interactivity without programming. In October 2008, QuarkXPress 8 won the MacUser Award for Print Publishing Software of the Year.[7]

With version 9 QuarkXPress extended its crossmedia publishing approach and can be used now to also export to eBooks (ePub3 and Blio) and native apps (for the iPad). With App Studio, which is shipped with QuarkXPress, designers can even create and design their own apps.[8] Additionally QuarkXPress 9 offers cascading styles (stylesheets based on text content), callouts (anchored objects that flow with the text based on position rules), create complex ad editable Bézier paths using a wizard (ShapeMaker), bullets and numbers (with import and export from/to Microsoft Word) and more.

The Mac version of QuarkXPress 9 is for Intel processors only, making QuarkXPress 8.5.1 the last choice for PPC-based Macs.

QuarkXPress 10, was described by Quark as a major re-write of the software on the Mac platform in particular to move it from the older Carbon API to Cocoa. It also included a new, modern graphics engine, Xenon. During the lifecycle of version 10, new features included Retina Display support, PDF pass-through transparency, notes, redlining, increased zoom (8000%) and the ability to create HTML5 animations for inclusion in App Studio tablet and smartphone apps.

QuarkXPress 2015 was the first version to use a different naming scheme. It was completely 64-bit and added fixed-layout ePub and Kindle export as well as exporting layouts as PDF/X-4. Quark claimed to have added the top 10 of all user-requested features.[9]

QuarkXPress 2016 included the ability to import and copy and paste from other applications and file formats to native QuarkXPress objects. The release also includes revamped digital capabilities including being able to create HTML5 Publications. Top user requested features include multi-gradient blends and a color picker tool.

QuarkXPress 2017 continued the new naming scheme and established an annual release cycle. The headline features include non-destructive image editing, various typography enhancements such as text stroking and text shading, responsive HTML5, and unlimited iOS apps for no additional cost (outside of the Apple Developer fees). Other user-requested features included adaptive layout conversion for print, smart quotes, and proportional leading.

On March 1, 2018, Quark announced QuarkXPress 2018,[10] stating it would be available on May 16, 2018. The headline features in version 2018 include new OpenType controls, hyphenation strictness, support for color fonts, IDML import (to convert Adobe InDesign documents to QuarkXPress) and the ability to create unlimited Android apps for no additional cost (outside of the Google Play fees).

On November 14, 2023,  the company released QuarkXPress 2024’s, including integration with 1,500 Google fonts, a new Visual Fonts and Picture Links palette, macOS Sonoma compatibility, image format support for WebP, HEIF and HEIC, local image libraries support, IDML export format, GREP support, and enhanced Right-to-Left language capabilities.

Server version

In the beginning of 2003 Quark released a server version of QuarkXPress,[11] originally called QuarkDDS. Renamed in 2006 to "QuarkXPress Server",[12] the product is now primarily sold with Quark Publishing Platform – the central hub of the company's content automation solutions. QuarkXPress Server is a Java application that takes content components (text, images, video, data, charts, etc.) and automatically assembles them into different formats from PDFs to responsive HTML and Web apps. As the content is assembled into templates using granular content components, the output can be highly customized for different audiences in terms of the content and the brand. The system relies on XML.

Extensions and tools

Quark Interactive Designer

Quark Interactive Designer is an extension and tool for creating Adobe Flash context from QuarkXPress documents.[13][14] It enables the export QuarkXPress projects in SWF (Flash) file format.[15][16] This allows documents created for print or web production to also be output as a Flash advertisement. No knowledge of timelines or ActionScript is necessary for this purpose. Since QuarkXPress is natively capable of creating HTML projects, this allows web designers to design and build their HTML and Flash elements and combine them all in a single application. Resulting files can be exported as SWF Flash files or standalone Projector applications for macOS or Windows. Quark Interactive Designer makes use of palette-based actions, similar to those found in PowerPoint, in order to animate text and graphics. It also allows some use of button-triggered behaviors and embedding of QuickTime and Flash Video, and audio files.

Version history

See also


  1. ^ Waldie, Benjamin S. (2006). "Introduction to Scripting QuarkXPress". MacTech. 22 (10). QuarkXPress was one of the first applications to support AppleScript, with version 3.2. In fact, it is believed by some that QuarkXPress is actually partially responsible for AppleScript being around today. Rumor has it that, at one time, Apple had planned to do away with AppleScript, but received such a backlash from the publishing community, who threatened to move to PCs if their scripted workflows were taken away, that it was decided to keep AppleScript around.
  2. ^ a b Girard, Dave (2014-01-14). "How QuarkXPress became a mere afterthought in publishing". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
  3. ^ "Quark 7 goes Universal". Engadget.
  4. ^ QuarkXPress 9 Wins Two Macworld 2011 Awards – The Seybold Report
  5. ^ "QuarkXPress Version Comparison". Quark Software. Archived from the original on 2020-05-30.
  6. ^ "Ia. State QuarkXpress Tutorial". Archived from the original on 2010-06-19. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  7. ^ MacUser names 2008 Awards winners Archived 2012-09-13 at archive.today
  8. ^ QuarkXPress 9.1 boosts mobile app publishing power, but the process is far from easy | Macworld
  9. ^ Nelson, Jay J. (23 June 2015). "QuarkXPress 2015 review: Chock full of new features requested by you". Macworld.
  10. ^ "QuarkXPress 2018 is coming, and it's bringing emojis". Digital Arts.
  11. ^ "Quark Dynamic Document Server Launched". DPCI.
  12. ^ "Quark announces Print Collection and QuarkXPress Server 7". Engadget.
  13. ^ "Flash-y Design Tool". Mac Life. May 2007. p. 61. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  14. ^ Shaffstall, C. (2008). QuarkXPress 8: production tricks and experts' tips. Design professional series. Course Technology. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-615-24991-9. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  15. ^ Shaffstall, C. (2008). QuarkXPress 8: production tricks and experts' tips. Course Technology. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-615-24991-9.
  16. ^ "Quark Interactive Designer". Macworld España. page 84. (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Review: Quark XPress 10 - CreativePro.com". CreativePro.com. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  18. ^ Graphics.com: New features of QuarkXPress 10.1 and how it relates to InDesign Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "QuarkXPress 2015 review: Chock full of new features requested by you". Macworld. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  20. ^ "Review: QuarkXPress 2016 - CreativePro.com". CreativePro.com. 2016-05-30. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  21. ^ "Review: QuarkXPress 2017 - CreativePro.com". CreativePro.com. 2017-05-24. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  22. ^ "QuarkXPress 2017 Known and Resolved Issues" (PDF). Quark Software.
  23. ^ "QuarkXPress 2018 is coming, and it's bringing emojis". Digital Arts.
  24. ^ "On February 2, 2022, Quark Software announces the release of QuarkXPress 2022". Quark Software. 2 February 2022.
  25. ^ "Quark Unleashes Design Efficiency, Accuracy and Productivity with QuarkXPress 2023". Quark Software. 16 November 2022.
  26. ^ "New Release of QuarkXPress 2023 Includes Arabic, Hebrew and Urdu Language and Apple Silicon Support". Quark Software. 7 April 2023.
  27. ^ "Quark Boosts Artistic Creativity and Productivity for Maximum Design Impact with New QuarkXPress 2024". Quark Software. 14 November 2023.