Will QuarkXPress 2015 tempt you to ditch InDesign?

The ability to create fixed layout interactive ebooks is a headline feature

Adobe may have a near monopoly of professional design software, but it still has to watch its back. Recent alternatives to Illustrator CC 2014 in the form of Serif's Affinity Designer and Bohemian Coding's Sketch mean that you no longer need a Creative Cloud subscription to get pro-level vector graphics software. And while Serif's equivalents to Photoshop and InDesign are still in development, an old favourite has just popped up again to challenge the latter: Quark Express.

First launched in 1992, QuarkXPress once dominated the market for page layout software, with over 95 per cent market share among professional users.

But that all changed in 1992 when Adobe launched InDesign as the first Mac OS X-native desktop software, bundled it with Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat in the Creative Suite, and quickly cornered the market as a result.

64-bit performance is at the heart of the new release

Now though, Quark is back, with QuarkXPress 2015 coming in "the first quarter" of the new year. And its makers have taken an unusual approach to choosing new features to add to the latest version – getting users to vote for them.

The top 10 most-requested enhancements will be included in the new version, along with a range of additional customer-requested features for designer-controlled automation, print and digital production, productivity and more.

What's new?

So what's on offer? Well, to be brutally honest, there's nothing here that will really wow anyone who's already using either QuarkExpress or InDesign. But the company is clearly hoping that those designers unwilling to get on board with Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription model will be keen to give QuarkExpress (which you can still buy for a one-off fee) another look.

New automation features include automatic footnotes, a faster table tool and text variables for automatically populating reoccurring fields like running headers

To be more specific, here are the headline enhancements and new features contained in the latest release:

  • 64-bit performance
  • Larger page sizes
  • Dedicated orthogonal line tool
  • Fixed layout interactive eBooks
  • Custom paper sizes
  • The ability to relink any picture in the usage dialogue
  • Collect for output for complete project
  • User-definable shortcut keys on Mac
  • Table styles
  • Format painter
  • Yosemite OS X Support
  • Tool palette, measurement palette and palette group docking on Windows

You can learn more about QuarkXPress 2015 and new limited-time offers here.