Quark Express versus InDesign CS for the MS Publisher-addicted

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Westside guy, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #1
    Hello,

    I am thinking about recommending to my mom (note: NOT forcing!) that she get a Mac laptop when her current Dell laptop dies. There is one possible sticking point though - she currently uses Publisher to lay out flyers, posters, etc. for her work developing and supporting conferences, so she'd need the ability to do this on a Mac as well.

    <sidenote>Please don't tell me how much professional printers hate Publisher-generated documents. I already know that. :D </sidenote>

    What I'm curious about is this: Is there a consensus regarding which program is easier to learn and/or use for the non-expert? Since she is by no means an advanced user, it probably doesn't matter which program is more powerful - I'm sure both would do everything she needs, and more.

    Thanks!
     
  2. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

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    #2
    Suggestion

    I vote for InDesign in a heartbeat. I have used both, and InDesign just seems more intuitive and is very similar to Pagemaker (which publisher reminds me of).
    Also, if you ever have the itch to use any other adobe products (photoshop, for instance) the CS suite has such similar interfaces it makes learning the new program much easier.
     
  3. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Both products are pretty spending. For what she does, I bet Pages would work fine.
     
  4. tech4all macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #4
    While both will get the job done, my vote goes for InDesign. Just works better, IMO. With InDesign you can import Photoshop and Illustrator files, where as in QuarkXPress you must convert Photoshop files to TIFFs and Illustrator files to EPS files. Then if you want to change the raw file then the TIFF/EPS file, which can tend to be a hassle after a while. Plus you can make PDFs right from InDesign - however I am not sure if Quark changed that in their latest version.

    Course if she doesn't use Photoshop or Illustrator, then really either would be good.
     
  5. geeman macrumors regular

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    #5
    ID CS

    Has to be InDesign CS. Spend a few minutes Googling and you'll see that publishers and designers have been dropping Quark in favour of ID CS all over the place. The latest casualty for Quark will be Japan. Quark haven't updated the Japanese version since XPress 3.3!!! Now that the Japanese design and publishing communitiy are migrating to OS X, it ain't Quark they're going to...

    Quark still won't kick out a 'decent' PDF file that a printer could use.

    If you're Mom is printing all of this stuff out herself to her own color laser or inkjet printer; then sure - she could use Pages. If she's giving files to a commercial printing company, then don't even think about it. You can't even output a CMYK PDF file from it, and the RGB PDF file is FAR from perfect (from a professional printing perpective, that is. It's fine otherwise). That's not a knock at Pages, since we're not comparing like with like here. Pages is the price it is because it's pitched at a different market.

    And if you're convinced in going the ID CS route - don't buy a copy yet (wink-wink)....
     
  6. Westside guy thread starter macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #6
    I did think about that, but as I see it there are a couple issues (feel free to correct me if I'm misinformed though).

    - She sometimes needs to send stuff out to a print shop, such as when she's got to get a thousand flyers printed

    - (Related to the above) If these shops hate Publisher, I'd guess they won't even look twice at Pages output! They grit their teeth and deal with Publisher simply because it's so widely used.

    Also since I work at a university I can get either of the "spendy" products at a significant discount.

    Edit: Looks like geeman was typing something along these lines at the same time! :p

    I appreciate everyone's feedback so far - thanks all!
     
  7. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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    #7
    If the printshop she uses will handle .pdf (and most do these days), then she may well get away with Pages. Otherwise (and I'm saying this as a former Quark Xpress user) I'd have to say InDesign is the way to go.
     
  8. Westside guy thread starter macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #8
    Hehe. Well her Dell is currently still operational, in any case. But it's showing its age - not fast enough IMO, since WinME has got to be the worst version of Windows EVER. But at some point in the reasonably near future I expect it will die.
     
  9. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #9
    On cost grounds alone: InDesign $700 vs. $920 or higher for Xpress.

    But Pages would also probably be about right... it depends on how many of these documents need to actually go to press and the degree of press-quality PDF support within Pages.

    QuarkXpress is just too idiosyncratic for a newcomer to pick up easily -- that's not to say you can't produce excellent artwork with it, it just has some pretty buggy odd behaviours that can even trip up pros from time to time although I would argue that at a pinch its primary interface is easier to understand than InDesign's for a newcomer.

    Quark also forces you to build your documents properly instead of allowing you to dump all sorts of layered, blending & tricksy Photoshop/Illustrator files into your artwork that will choke many RIPs and give your pre-press person the screaming heebie-jeebies.

    But, Quark 6.5 is a terribly mangled version and many of its claimed features are so poorly implemented that it would just be an awfully deceptive tool to pick up and start using productively for the first time.

    You can download a fully functional demo of InDesign at adobe.com and a limited functionality demo of Xpress at quark.com

    But Pages might be the best bet... both Xpress & Indesign contain hundreds of features that just might be overkill in this situation.

    The other option of course, is to let her continue using the tools she's happiest with. When she's got a new presentation to do and a deadline is pressing then maybe Windows/Publisher might suit her better. The frustration of ANY learning curve when any work has to be done is not to underestimated. She may also need to share these documents amongst colleagues...

    I'm usually for most people switching but it has to be for good reasons especially where work is concerned.
     
  10. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #10
    I beg to differ -- it depends on how many hoops you're prepared to jump through. :) ;)
     
  11. geeman macrumors regular

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    #11

    You could always give it a helping hand... ;)

    Seriously, though. As has been said here, she could use either app. Most people fine ID CS easier to use than Quark (even Quark users say that) and having a similar UI to Illustrator / PhotoShop / GoLive is proving a very savvy marketing strategy for Adobe. The big publishing companies are migrating to ID CS for two main reasons: the extortionate upgrade pricing policy of Quark in the past; and ID CS's ability to import/export XML directly to and from big proprietary publishing/cataloging systems.

    ID CS is certainly cheaper and is able to create 'better' PDF files for print without having to buy Acrobat Distiller as well. However as with all apps, you have to know what you're doing. Most printing companies should happily recommend what settings to use to create PDFs that work with their prepress systems. If yours doesn't, change your printer ASAP!

    Good luck, whichever way to go.
     
  12. geeman macrumors regular

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    #12
    100% agree - but why should we have to?

    Separated PDFs? Files made purely of spot colors (i.e. no C, M, Y or K)? The "Omit TIFF and EPS" bug that's been there since at least version 3? The "inches/mm rounding error"? Not sending PS font data to a networked RIP?, The "Collect For Output" that doesn't, especially with long file names? Tell me when I can stop.... ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) :D

    I know many people who cannot output a decent PDF from Quark without outputtting a PostScript file and Distilling it. You've clearly spent the time to get around many of Quark's foibles (large respect is due!), but shouldn't Quark have ironed these things out over the past XX years that it's had the pro publishing market to itself?
     
  13. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    #13
    I'm working as a designer and prefer InDesign too. I used to learn XPress 3 years ago but since I've worked with InDesign I never came back. Just recently I had to do a job in XPress because the client gave me XPress Data and wanted it back that way and I found it a horrible and unintuitive programme.

    Also, if your mom learns InDesign she can then learn Photoshop or Illustrator (if she's interested) much more easily.
     
  14. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #14
    Stop, stop, STOP! Aargh! :D

    Edit: For your spot-colour PDFs you have to move to a Device N space.
     
  15. geeman macrumors regular

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    #15
    Actually, we just "Apple+P" PS to a virtual print queue, that's really the input of our workflow server. Or we can drop the file into the hotfolder (notice I said 'the' and not 'a'...) We can even submit stuff over a secure website.

    The system is connected directly to our job booking-in system. So it "reads" the job specs and performs whatever we want from it. We don't have to do anything, other than make the artwork and "print". It even emails us (or the client) if there's a problem.

    We publish a couple of magazine titles, plus numerous brochures and catalogs, and multipurpose much of it for web. Stuff needs to be sorted, directed, etc. into a strict folder structure, with multiple outputs, ICC profiles, UCR.GCR settings and so on. But guess what? Everything goes through ONE (albeit very clever) print queue / hotfolder.

    DeviceN? Nah, we do everything in CieLAB, and convert when we need to.

    Nice to chat to a fellow premedia pro!
     
  16. deanbo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 6, 2003
    #16
    InDesign CS

    I too would also recommend InDesign CS in a heartbeat. I would also recommend a G5 to run it.
    If you're wondering, I've also used Quark since version 4, it hasn't really improved in 8 years.
     
  17. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #17
    It has but in a really stoopid way.

    There are more features that nobody asked for (except for multiple undos and a half-baked table tool) and they've never fixed the things that people have screamed for in the meantime relying on 3rd party developers to provide Xtensions.

    When was the last time you accidentally moved an important guide in Xpress and wanted to undo that action and put it back in the same place?
    A small example but a telling one...
     
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #18
    I used to use Publisher for my employers ROP ads, and switched to InDesign. Found it pretty easy to make the transition.

    To save some money on the program and learn something in the process, she could take a course at the community college and get the CS suite for like $380 from the likes of GradWare.Com.
     
  19. Westside guy thread starter macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #19
    I understand this, and it's one reason why I was stressing that it'd be a recommendation. But (and I didn't go into this before for brevity's sake) I'm also the one who's had to do tech support for her (and the rest of my family, and close friends... when you're a computer geek you seem to just fall into that job, somehow). Quite a lot of the time I spend helping people with their computers - including her - ends up being due to various Windows-specific issues. With an old version like ME it's one set of problems, with XP users it's another set... Since I'm providing free tech support to people like my mom, and since I was a long-time Windows user and admin prior to moving to OS X (through desktop Linux BTW), I think I'm fully justified in showing her and any of my other "supportees" the options available to her/them.

    My mom is a self-employed organizer/promoter of conference, retreats, etc.; mainly dealing with various aspects of child abuse prevention and treatment. It's roughly a half-time gig. When she shares documents with colleagues/clients, it is always as PDFs - invariably they're all working together to put on a conference, and she's the single individual working on the promotional materials (so any collaboration is limited to getting feedback from other members of the group regarding the materials in question). Also, her "work" computer is also her "home" computer, which I suppose isn't surprising given the circumstances. Plus, whether it be her work or her personal stuff, when she can't figure out how to do something I'm the one that has to walk her through it.

    Please understand that this isn't just a "D00d! Macz r00lz0r! L33t!" knee-jerk thought. For the personal stuff she does on her computer (email, web, digital photos, making backup data CDs), the Mac tools are as good or arguably better (especially iPhoto). For work, she's mainly using Word, Excel, and Publisher right now. Word and Excel are available on the Mac, of course. Ease of use for the OS is a slam-dunk on the Mac. Also, I probably won't have to worry about the calls telling me "I just got an email from my friend who helpfully sent me a warning about a file with a teddy-bear icon in my Windows folder! I deleted the file and now my computer isn't working correctly!" anymore. :D
     
  20. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #20
    Know exactly what you mean. :)

    As an earlier poster mentioned, educational discounting is great on Adobe products and doing a community college course is recommended along with/or Adobe's Classroom in a Book series. This would let her work at her own pace...

    Do let us know how she gets on with the Mac & InDesign when (not if) she gets it all up and running.
     
  21. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #21
    Good luck sifting through all of these replies! I, too, vote for InDesign. Having used both programs extensively, ID is much easier to use and as a smaller learning curve. You might want to check out Pages, though, as a few other have suggested, to see if it might work for what your mom needs. Either way, I think she'll soon forget about Publisher and everything Windows, and she will thank you for helping her come out of the darkness!
     

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