Publishing Software Review: Digital Dots Prepress Ace on IDMarkz App

Paul Lindström (@Paul_DD_UK), Technical Editor/Journalist/Consultant for prepress technology testing at Digital Dots, reviews IDMarkz publishing software by Markzware:

Be able to use content from a newer InDesign version document in a previous InDesign version, including InDesign CS6! In IDMarkz, InDesign CS6 macOS users will be able to open a file created in a higher version InDesign file.

Markzware provides quality software for print, publishing, and graphic arts file users. Markzware’s IDMarkz is a stand-alone application that lets you preview InDesign files (including CC 2020) and open InDesign files in earlier InDesign versions, as well as in QuarkXPress, Affinity Publisher, Acrobat PDF, Illustrator, PNG, JPEG, TIFF, and GIF.

The “Paul Lindström of Digital Dots on IDMarkz for InDesign” video is on YouTube at

DAVID: Okay. There we are. We have Paul Lindström on the line. Paul, how are you, today?

PAUL: Well, very good. Thank you.

DAVID: Very good. Very good. Thank you for taking the time to dial in, with us here…

PAUL: No problem.

DAVID: … from the English countryside, correct?

PAUL: Yeah, it is beautiful, in Sussex.

DAVID: Excellent, excellent! Now, Paul. We’ve known Paul for years. I think many of you know Paul, but we’ll let Paul introduce himself. But, Paul, just so people know, is going to talk about, in a moment here, his experiences with beta testing IDMarkz, the new application out from Markzware, to preview, export, and convert InDesign files.

PAUL: Yeah.

DAVID: Yeah, Before we jump into that, Paul, maybe you could tell the watchers about yourself.

PAUL: Yeah. I started out to be a part-time printer and I was doing the pre-press department, managing files for all kind of clients, publishers. And, then, I was asked to do freelance work as a journalist, testing software and hardware. So, that was my entry in, to become a more full-time journalist and, on top of that, then, at night, I was asked to teach at the University in Copenhagen and MoMA. So, teaching production managers expected to go out in printing and publishing companies. So, I’m combining teaching, consulting, and training with trying out all the new and latest software and hardware, and that’s been quite good fun, over the years.

And pre-flight software from Markzware was one of the software I had the students try out and use, as an example of all-round pre-flight software that could not only open PDF files, but actually open native files, QuarkXPress or InDesign. So, I’ve known Markzware products, from early on, and always brought them to the students to try out, and was really intrigued with the new software, so, of course, jumped on the chance to test it in an alpha beta version.

Adobe InDesign CC 2017 logo 250x250

DAVID: Right, right. And I noticed, well, I don’t know if I’ll put this in the video, but I noticed you have a cool hobby of beekeeping. Is that correct?

PAUL: Yeah, that’s… I was actually interested in getting bees when I retired, but our neighbor came and asked me, “Paul shouldn’t we get bees?”

And I said to him, “Yeah, we’ll do that, but when I retire.”

“Oh, no. Let’s do it together and it should be cool.” So, I was persuaded to start earlier than I expected. We now keep some colonies and they are amazing creatures. And many people sympathize with trying to do what you can, to help the bees survive, because they are under stress.

DAVID: Right.

PAUL: They are under great pressure, from modern farming, etc., etc., and pesticides.

DAVID: Yeah, pesticides, yeah.

PAUL: So, we have three colonies, which is a small library, but that’s enough to get some honey and watch them at work. It’s really relaxing to sit by the bees and see what they’re doing.

DAVID: Awesome. Yeah, very cool. Yeah. I really find that interesting, as well. But we’re not here for the bees, right now, but that is very interesting.

PAUL: Yeah.

DAVID: Maybe you can tell us, Paul, more about your first experiences with IDMarkz and what you thought of it.

PAUL: Yeah. Yeah. I know Markzware have and had solutions, from before, to conduct between QuarkXPress to InDesign, and vice-versa. But, when I heard about the brand new software, of course, I wanted to see how that works. And it was a very straight-forward, easy user interface. You open a file, and it comes up. And the InDesign file, in my case, because I don’t use Quark much anymore, opened up nicely, and you have a nice preview, as if you were in InDesign.

And you also have, which I note, that was a little extra bonus, you get the pre-flight summary, which is a nice feature, I think. So, then, you can decide to export to where you want the file and you can either export, with the backward compatibility to an older version of InDesign, which could be useful for lot of publishers with legacy data, but I also note that you have an Export route to the fairly new software from Affinity Publisher. And I suspect quite a lot of designers are tempted to check out an alternative to InDesign and, not least, else who might be not so happy with the Adobe subscription model.

Affinity Publisher

I mean there has been lot of controversy over the years, whether that is reasonably priced. I can’t say. It’s a nice suite of software but, yeah, you are locked into a subscription model. But, anyway, for anyone who wants to look at alternatives, the IDMarkz is a bridge, to convert old legacy documents into other desktop application desktop publishing software. So, quite straight-forward and looked very handy to me.

DAVID: Right, right. Yeah, that’s so the preview and the file info will go hand-in-hand, where people can first get a visual idea of what the file is, with a small, little, mini pre-flight, or file info.

PAUL: Yeah.

DAVID: So, they can decide what they want to do next, or maybe a small file…

PAUL: Yeah, I think, if there are some signaling or some arrows, of course, people might have or want to buy the big full-version of the preflight software, to really go into the details, but that’s…

DAVID: Right.

PAUL: This is just a hint that you might need to check these files, before you do more with it. Yeah.

DAVID: Right. And was there any… Did you try… Did you use any of the “Open In” features? Did you do any of the Open In InDesign, or Acrobat, or anything like that?

Open in Acrobat

PAUL: Yeah, yeah, I did and it seemed quite a more or less seamless integration, immediately when you export. If you have the Adobe Creative Cloud software on your computer, it opens up, immediately. So, you can check if it’s been converted in a way you’re happy with, so… And the same, like about… You immediately get it opened. If I… If you export a PDF, you get it immediately opened in Acrobat DC. I see many, many types of users that would appreciate this kind of commercial software.

DAVID: Another thing is, potentially for the people, with flakey files that are doing strange things, you just quickly open it in IDMarkz, export IDML, and you’ve sort of cleaned your file, in most cases. So, you can then, open in InDesign, more safely.

PAUL: Yeah.

DAVID: That’s another…

PAUL: The IDML format seems to be accepted by quite a lot of web authoring tools. So, that’s one route, to do it, that seemed to be quite a stable format, the InDesign Markup Language file format.

DAVID: Okay, so on that, I mean, I think it’s pretty clear, but would you recommend IDMarkz to people potentially wanting to buy it?

PAUL: Yeah, I think hopefully people who need to do those kind of conversions will find their way to the software, because it’s a must-have, if you sit in a production stream and have files you can’t open, for different reasons. Then, of course, if you can’t open the file, you try to find a conversion tool, and this is one for InDesign files and you have other conversion tools to convert QuarkXPress files, etc.

Open in QuarkXPress

So, they’re really handy and nifty tools to have at hand for, let’s say, a pre-press production manager or technical support, in a bigger publishing house, or big PR company, with one or two people who are really good at fixing files from colleagues or customers or clients. So, for those type of troubleshooters and problem solvers, this is a tool they should have and know of and invest in, because it’s reasonably priced and does really unique work. It’s, when you need it, it’s what you need and, then, you have to have it.

DAVID: Right. Good. Very good point. Yeah, this is perfect for potential users, indeed. Another point, Paul, is the QuarkXPress users can benefit from this, because of the IDML import feature, in the newer Quark 2019.

PAUL: Yeah, yeah.

DAVID: Now, they can just open it, right up, through IDMarkz, even directly. So, it’s a very handy tool for QuarkXPress users who are working in an InDesign mixed workflow.

PAUL: Exactly. It takes care of many conversion scenarios, so really, really useful and handy, as I see it.

DAVID: Right, cool. Now, what I want to do is see if I can share my screen with you. Let’s see if… I don’t know how you do that, actually. Call Layout. For the folks, real quick here, your file in IDMarkz, because it’s a very… It’s a nice file. It’s a real-life scenario file. It’s… What is the file, actually? Maybe you can tell people what that file is.

PAUL: Yeah, it’s a guide to how to use ISO standards in print production workflows. So, several years ago, we started to do certification, back in Sweden and England, in the UK, teaching printers how to, first of all, to teach printers and publishers that there are many ISO standards that tie into a quality managed print workflow.

ISO 20067-2 is amongst the most well-known and the proofing standard, but there are other pre-press standards on how to calibrate the monitor, etc. And we tie that up to the whole package. Which ISO standard should you use, for example, to, when you buy viewing booths, then, ISO standard 3664, I think it is. And we wrote this guide, the manual, to check the whole workflow from monitor calibration, image retouch, plate making, CTP, calibrating presses, and finally printing, with what ISO standard you should know about and apply.

And we collected that to a set of guides that we call Production (SPP). And that was one of the documents I just, by chance, was curious to see would IDMarkz open that? And with some hiccups in the beginning and some fixes from your excellent programmers, we got it to work. But, I mean, I just tried that, in your alpha software, so…

DAVID: Right. Right.

PAUL: I wasn’t surprised if I… It happens quite often, with me, when I test software and hardware, I seem to manage to stumble on some box and report them back to the software. In the best case, it is welcomed as an opportunity to fix something you didn’t know you needed to be fixing. And I was impressed that your people very quickly took on the challenge and also, within a day or two, saw what was needed and fixed it. So, …

DAVID: Right.

PAUL: That was good.

DAVID: Yeah. Thank you. Well, that’s why we need people like you, without a doubt, with real-life production files, like this, and just I think people just saw what I did, when you were describing the file. It’s really easy to use IDMarkz. You just take your file and drop it on either the icon, down below, in your Dock or up here, in the interface. And in a matter of literal seconds, you get a complete preview of this 24-page, 13-spreads document. And you can zoom into any part and get crisp details of the file. And you saw, well, I think I did too much here. Well, there we go. You saw how you can take any thumbnail of a page and drag-and-drop it, out to the side.

Export PDF

So, you can take any thumbnail of a page and drag-and-drop it onto your Desktop and get an instant PDF of that file. So, this would be a great case, where you can take this file and use it in social media, or in pre-press, send it back to the customer and say, “Hey, this page has a problem.”

PAUL: Yeah, proofs, proof cycles, etc. Yeah.

DAVID: Yeah, exactly. So, …

PAUL: That overly anxious that are minor conversion issues, because, let’s face it. If you do a conversion from one application to another, the reason why you do it is probably because you want to update the document. So, you have a legacy document and you need to do some corrections and I would accept minor tweaks and touch-up because, in the end, I need to do some other edits to the document, probably in the new software, be it…

DAVID: Right.

PAUL: … Quark or Affinity Publisher.

DAVID: Affinity, yeah.

PAUL: There are probably other things you want to do with the document. Then, you’re just grateful you can bring most of it over to this new platform.

DAVID: Right, right.

PAUL: Then, continue from there. So, …

DAVID: And just to show folks, yeah, I don’t have Affinity Publisher on this machine. On my other machine, I do, but you can just click now, any one of these, now … Well, you can export to multiple formats, including PDF, which is quite handy, the entire document, which is nice. Of course, IDML and many image formats but, also, you can just click, like here, “Quark”, and it will now actually fire up QuarkXPress and open the document right up, in QuarkXPress, for us, which is really cool.

QuarkXPress Logo

And we’re getting it. Quark is launching now for me, and we’ll see what happens here. I didn’t test this, before. So, you never know. Exciting. Yeah. There we go. Yeah, of course, I’m fine. I don’t have all the fonts but, in any event, there it is, in QuarkXPress. Alright, Paul. Well, any final thoughts, before we go, here?

PAUL: No. Let’s hope people find their way to this really useful, handy tool, because it is really a godsend, for when you send and have legacy files that you don’t know what to do with and need to, instead of remake the whole design, which takes days and weeks. Within minutes, you have it, and that should be really useful for lots of people. Excellent! So, good luck with that.

DAVID: Yeah. Thank you. And thank you, for all the testing. And we look forward to any more feedback you might have.

PAUL: Yeah, thank you.

DAVID: And thank you very much for the time.

PAUL: Very good. Thank you, David.

DAVID: Thank you, Paul. Have a good day!
[End of Transcript]

IDMarkz Export IDML [Dark Theme]
IDMarkz Export IDML [Dark Theme]

• save time previewing, opening, and converting InDesign files
• save money on a centralized solution for InDesign file processing
• have easy-to-use InDesign macOS software, without Creative Cloud restrictions, without waiting for a server, without installing or launching an InDesign program

Position yourself to quickly share InDesign files between InDesign versions or as a variety of file types. Using IDMarkz, you can extract InDesign text from an InDesign file (via PDF), without loading Adobe InDesign.

FEATURES in IDMarkz let you:
• See a basic overview of your InDesign document.
• Export your InDesign document as IDML, PDF, TIFF, PNG, JPEG or GIF.
• Open multiple InDesign files at one time.
• Open your converted file, manually or as a permanent workflow feature.
• Edit text in PDFs.
• Create PDFs from older InDesign files to annotate in Acrobat DC and then open in InDesign.

With Markzware‘s IDMarkz, you can do a fast check of your InDesign files and see previews as thumbnails, which can be dragged out of the preview window, to create a PDF. Export an InDesign page as an image or PDF, batch convert InDesign files to IDML, quickly open InDesign files in any of several integrated file formats, and more!

You can buy the IDMarkz Mac subscription, which includes IDMarkz updates throughout your 12-month subscription, via the IDMarkz page. Need more solutions for desktop publishing files? Visit the Products page on the Markzware website.

You are welcome to subscribe to the Markzware Mailing List and to post with Markzware on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and on websites which publish content for graphic designers, printers, and publishers. Join us on social media and let us know what you think about IDMarkz.

Publishing Software Review: Digital Dots Prepress Ace on IDMarkz App

Title: Publishing Software Review: Digital Dots Prepress Ace on IDMarkz App
Published on: December 12, 2019
David Dilling

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