I'm looking for jobs all over the interwebs and I keep seeing postings by companies saying that applicants need to be well versed in most Adobe creative solutions softwares and then QuarkXpress.

But, when I look at actual studio ads (small studios looking for a new designer) they only mention strong Adobe skills.

Is QuarkXpress still relevant? Or is it a legacy software that only gets mentioned because at one time in the past it was one of the best softwares to use?

I know this might be a very subjective question, but I'm looking for those who ave been in the design world a lot longer than I have to give me insight (I've only just begun my design career).


8 Answers 8


I haven't seen a QuarkXpress file in 8-10 years. When I do see a QuarkXpress file, I simply use the Q2ID plug in and convert it to Indesign. But that's my office. QuarkXpress is very much still in use for large production houses where they've been using it for 15+ years.

Essentially if a business, or designer, started before the development of Adobe Indesign (Circa 1999) then they may still prefer QuarkXpress. This may be primarily to support older files or because workflows are dedicated to QuarkXpress features. And there are some places which simply don't like Indesign. Many use Indesign because it's bundled with Photoshop, Illustrator, etc and it just makes sense to stick with Adobe rather than pay the additional $1k US for a separate layout application.

While my office has little or no interaction with anyone using QuarkXpress today, QuarkXpress is still very valid for many positions.

Also, realize most help wanted ads are placed by the Human Resources department who know nothing of the software or requirements. They may have a standard ad they place for a position which includes QuarkXpress because it was needed 15 years ago even if it's not needed today. If I were looking for employment, I wouldn't let the mention of QuarkXpress or Indesign sway me away from a position. If you know one well you can transition to the other. It may take a bit more study, but if your'e worth hiring, it's doubtful that knowing Indesign over QuarkXpress (or vice versa) would prevent you being hired.

  • 1
    FWIW I use inDesign mostly for freelance, but Quark at work because we have a huge library of legacy stuff. I think Quark is superior from a document navigation and useability standpoint: there are some tweaks which Adobe could do to the tool selection and navigation.
    – horatio
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:17

According to the Wikipedia article, the last reliable report on marketshare for the 2 products was in 2004. It stated that Quark was 8 times more popular than InDesign. As 2004 was almost a decade ago I'd have a tenancy to believe ID has eroded that substantially. When I was going through school from 99-01 they were still teaching Quark, but even then I started using ID 1.5 seeing it's potential right away. Once you started using Photoshop and Illustrator Quark quite obviously was a square peg, round hole in that trio. ID was just natural to use, especially if you had learned AI. Many of the short keys were similar and the learning curve smaller compared to Quark. My guess is that the change really occurred when Adobe introduced Creative Suite. The education system is always pinched for funds, what are you going to buy licenses for, Quark or CS which has an app like Quark along with 4 or 5 other teachable apps? Once Quark started losing that battle it was all over. All that's left is really the dinosaurs of the industry using it.

I last worked doing straight graphics in 2007 and the change was already starting. Co-workers who had worked in Quark for eons were starting to be forced to use ID as submitted files started coming in that format. As we were a print shop we had to basically handle every file that was thrown at us, you could see the transition happening from the client side.

Take this for what you will, but searching Google there are 47m results for InDesign and if I search just search Quark(not excluding for the particle or Star Trek character) and there are 27m results, 9m if I search for QuarkXpress.

  • +1 for looking for objective evidence. I'd favour Google Trends over search results for a rough snapshot, e.g. google.com/trends/… , it's based on what people are looking for rather than what people have written about and shows the trend over time Jan 14, 2013 at 9:43
  • Bear in mind that could be mostly people who don't know what they are doing looking for tutorials. I expect that Quark has a much smaller market share for amateurs and pir8tes, if only because of word of mouth.
    – horatio
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:21
  • In the current day and age it just seems Quark isn't even on the popular radar. I know I follow tons of design accounts on Twitter and can't even recall a time where I've seen someone mentioning Quark. It's all InDesign. If looking at pirating, ID is part of Creative Suite, I'm sure one of the more popular pirated software packages around. Quark is on the outside of that CS workflow and that is the reason for it's loss of market share. Learning Quark in this day and age is like learning WordPerfect instead of MS Word.
    – jbwharris
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:50
  • Exactly. However, the question is geared towards professional work and workers. If a lot of the google trend is about how to make a circle, we should be cognizant of that when evaluating the data point.
    – horatio
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:54
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    Like it or not. Piracy is quite often driving the next generations. You can see this in trends. Software with no piracy tend to crash and burn about 10 years later, can not remember the link to the study. But in my experience its about right. Note that even superior and cheaper tools succumb to this feature. So piracy is a double edged sword more money today is less users tomorrow.
    – joojaa
    Jul 1, 2014 at 5:04

Short answer: No. It's mostly a legacy application in environments where a significant workflow investment was made long ago. Newspaper and some other publishing environments are the only scenarios I've run into. I think they're coming to the end of that road as well. QXP doesn't have much time left on it's publishing life support system.


Quark is all but dead. I have worked in Prepress for over 15 years. Up until about 6 years ago Quark totally dominated as far as the files that crossed my desk. Now I will be lucky (or unlucky) to see 2 Quark jobs a month. I used to praise the merits of Quark (over Pagemaker, yuck!) but now Indesign just makes my job so much easier. My advise to anyone doing design work is to get Indesign.

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    Hey now, don't be hatin' on PageMaker. Some of us learned the trade on ol' Aldus. Apr 17, 2013 at 10:27
  • Some of my first jobs were with Pagemaker. Step one, find out what prepress machine your printer is using before laying out your job, step 2 bid out job, step 3..
    – horatio
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:23

Print design is a slower moving beast than interactive/web design. Many print shops are fine with their prepress setups even though they may be 5 years old or even older.

While the industry is now dominated by Adobe, there was a time when Quark dominated the prepress/print industry, and a lot of that technology is likely still sticking around (and note that Quark is still in business).

I think a better question is "how relevant is it that I know a specific piece of software?"

In some cases, it is relevant...typically in shops that really are only looking to hire a production artist who can get to work immediately.

But for a design job, I find it MUCH more relevant to understand software in general. A good, technically proficient graphic designer should be able to pick up nearly any software in a matter of a week or so. A smart company understands that and doesn't restrict candidates to specific past software experience.

  • I thought as much. I pride myself on picking up software quite well (I learned InDesign in a matter of a week because I got a job where I needed to use it and I'd never even heard of it before). Jan 14, 2013 at 4:34

QuarkXpress has always been and always will be a better tool for page layout than Indesign.

Once you've used Quark and its text tools you realise how crap Indesign truly is. Using any kind of text in Indesign is so mind numbingly frustrating, text boxes dont select, text boxes dont always link, it places random text insertions outside of boxes, it can drive you nuts when working on a deadline. Quark never does any of those things, it simply works intuitively.

The only reason why Indesign is popular, is because marketing departments like it and make pdfs without having to think. But as a pure design tool for proper designers, Quark is king.

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    QuarkXpress is really superior to InDesign as a high level productivity tool. It was built to work at high performance while InDesign is more for little flashy projects and "trial and error" kind of design. It's good for beginners. There are still very basic features InDesign doesn't have for publishing that Quark still offer. Unfortunately Quark is very expensive to acquire and the Adobe Cloud is necessary, so it makes sense designers will simply use InDesign for this reason alone. I don't like how InDesign has a busy and not very efficient interface and that's why I prefer Quark.
    – go-junta
    Jun 14, 2015 at 5:07

I was with Quark from their beginning but made the switch to Indesign almost 10 years ago! When their support dropped drastically and their lack of concern for it, it was the beginning of the end. They thought they would never fall, being the industry standard. There is a lesson there for all business. I suspect Adobe didn't like the "lack of talent", industry partnership with Quark. They smartly saw a need and filled it. It benefited Adobe and their customers as well.


As a "dinosaur" designer I agree with the above that QuarkXpress is the better tool for page layout hands down especially with looming deadlines and tight budgets. No one has time for surprise gremlins popping up in the last hour.

In an era of the "quicker and fancier the better" and "anyone can be a designer", my advise if you are just starting out in this industry, stay true to your artful self and view all software as your tool and never doubt your artistic ability based on whether you know the latest program because it is a constant.

If you see it in your mind, there's a way to create it and find what works for you but be flexible to be able to learn what you need to learn for the job.

Also, know your printers, visit the facility, get a relationship with them and respect them as they will be your best friends at 2am to rush a job that had that one last quick change or that one blooper that no one caught.

For those of us who still appreciate quality in our time of pixelated quick prints and have worked through it without it being worked out for us, I've used both and Quark has always "just worked". It's not all glammed up with useless clutter that just gets in the way.

Unfortunately it's the sign of the times and we must roll with it. QuarkXpress will always get my praises, just like walking to school in a blizzard..;0) I'm not even that old which is crazy..but I guess in the scheme of 2012 being legacy...it fits..Best of luck to you

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    Welcome to GD! As it looks, to me, this appears to be just a rant instead of an answer??
    – user9447
    Jun 30, 2014 at 21:51

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