Quark 6.1 -- yes, 6.1 -- Easter Eggs

February 19, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

In the previous issue of DesignGeek, one of my stories was about how a Quark staffer leaked to the Quark listserv that their long-awaited 6.1 update was going to be released "pronto-like." Right before I sent out the issue, I checked Quark's site one last time so I could provide a big scoop, but there was no announcement.

Two hours after I sent it out, a bunch of DesignGeek subscribers e-mailed me to say that the free 6.1 update was just put up on Quark's site. Ah well! … there went my Jimmy Olson dreams, heh. But, I take comfort in the hope that the story prompted subscribers to check Quark's site and discover it on their own…

It's a 60+MB download, so if you're on a modem, you may want to have them ship you the update on a CD, which is free, but takes 6-8 weeks to arrive. You'll need the QuarkXPress 6.0 Install CD to run the updater, but you won't have to re-activate the program again.

Briefly, the update fixes a bunch of bugs in 6.0 of course (that's the point of these incremental updates) for both the Mac and Windows platforms, but also makes it compatible with the current Mac OS, 10.3 (Panther). Feature enhancements seem sparse — you can import an Excel chart as a Quark table, and it comes with the Edit Original XTension (which you could always download for free from the Quark site to use with 6.0).

More info and tips on 6.1 when I've had a chance to play with it, but for now, let me mention a couple Easter Eggs in Quark 6.X.

(Newbies: In the parlance of computer geeks, "Easter Eggs" are hidden goodies in programs — little animations or pictures, sometimes even full-fledged arcade games, that the programmers inserted for fun. Users can only reveal them through arcane keyboard and tool combinations. Not every program has an Easter Egg, but many do: <http://www.eggheaven2000.com/>)

First, for Mac users, the Alien Delete, present in v4 and v5 but gone in v6.0, has returned:
1. For best effect, change the View to Fit in Window
2. Select any text or picture box (best if it's a small one in the center)
3. Press Command-Option-Shift-K
4. An alien marches in from the side of the document and deletes the box with a multi-colored zap gun, then disappears. Cool sound effects too.

Windows users who follow those steps (press Control-Alt-Shift-K) will see the selected box "melt away" instead of an Alien Delete (and no sound effects). I'm pretty sure that's not new for Windows Quarkers, though.

Mac users who were aware of the alien in previous versions knew that if they did this five times in a row, a second easter egg appeared (a larger alien comes in from the other side, and shoots a bazooka at the first alien — no I'm not kidding), but latest reports from geeks in the field feverishly trying this out say it hasn't returned. Yet. (Maybe 100 repetitions?)

And for both Mac and Windows users, try this v6-only Easter Egg (thanks to David Blatner for cluing us in, though he says you didn't hear it from him):
1. Select any item
2. Choose the Rotate tool
3. Press Command-Option-Shift-~ [that's a tilde], on Windows press Control-Alt-Shift-~

I'll leave it up to you to see what happens. David suggests you try it with the Caps Lock key on too.

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