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QuarkXPress 7 finally has soft drop shadow support.
Adobe's InDesign has been pummeling QuarkXPress with a superior feature set and aggressive pricing. But finally, with QuarkXPress 7, Quark has landed a solid counterpunch directly on the chin of its adversary. Quark has released an update to its flagship page layout app that has several useful new features, many improvements to old features, and raises the bar in the battle for page layout supremacy. QuarkXPress 7 close the features gap with InDesign and, in some cases, include options unique to QuarkXPress.
The ability to make objects translucent (opacity control) and to apply soft drop shadows to text and objects are among the most appealing InDesign features that previous versions of QuarkXPress lacked. QuarkXPress 7 has not only implemented both of these features, it has embellished them with options that aren't available in InDesign. For example, you can apply opacity to anything that has color applied to it - box backgrounds, pictures, frames, and even individual characters. When creating drop shadows, you have the option to synchronize the angle of all drop shadows in a spread, to specify a scale and a skew (slant) value, and to wrap text around a shadow. While we're on the topic of transparency features, it's worth noting that unlike InDesign, QuarkXPress 7 does not let you apply blending modes to items.
Although QuarkXPress 7 doesn't include much in the way of new typographic features, it how has full support for OpenType fonts (previously, you could access only 256 characters within an OpenType font.) Also new is the Glyphs palette, which lets you choose a font and displays all of its character forms or subsets of characters; you can also save favorites. Typographic improvements include the option to apply ligatures as character attributes, plus cross-platform ligature support.