April 2004

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MacWaves MUG
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Reviews by
Suzanne Thomas

Markztools 5.5, Markzware, $199

QuarkXPress has the nasty habit of corrupting files and once that happens and the “Bad file format” alert appears when you try to save the document, there is often nothing you can do to save your changes, much less your file. Unless, of course, you have this indispensable utility. Markztools 5 will nullify the corruption and allow you to save the document. It also allows you to open QuarkXPress 6 files in versions 4 and 5. This means that if your QXP 6 file becomes corrupt, using Markztools 5, you can open and verify the document in an earlier version of QuarkXPress. Multiple layouts will be merged into a single layout document, but at least it’s all there. For anyone working in long documents or with documents that are graphics-intensive, this program can save you from sudden death when it looks like your file is dead. Think of Markztools as a lifesaver around every Quark document because that’s exactly what it is.

The Adobe Illustrator CS WOW! Book, Sharon Steuer, Adobe Press, $49.99 w/CD

Filled with glorious examples of what you can do with Illustrator CS and clear instructions for creating your own art, this book continues the WOW! series Illustrator books which teach you how Illustrator “thinks” and thus how to use the expanded function set more efficiently. The new 3D and Scribble effects are covered especially well and novice as well as experienced users will find much to learn (and copy) from this comprehensive book. The accompanying CD is a treasure trove of goodies. Packed with art files to deconstruct, third-party programs and plug-ins that add enormous functionality to Illustrator along with extra illustrated lessons and information on using Illustrator for print and Web, it alone is worth the price of the book.

Before&After Page Design by John McWade, Peachpit, $24.99

For those of us who have been long-time subscribers to John McWade’s wonderful newsletter, Before&After, reading this book is like getting multiple issues all at once. With his emphasis on good, communications design and his clear directions for achieving it, the John McWade has saved many of us from creating pages that say nothing. In this book he takes the reader through a series of projects chosen for their practical value to today’s graphic designer such as corporate identity packages, resumes, product brochures, advertisements and more and shows us how good design principles function. Learn why one typeface is better than another, how to place photos for dramatic effect and strategies to capture the reader’s eye. There isn’t anything in this beautiful book that isn’t worth learning.