DTP software ripens at 25!
anno 1985…

History of Desktop Publishing or DTP software
Aldus, Adobe, Macromedia and Quark – 25 years in the making…
— Timeline of DTP —


  • 1985 – Aldus Corp releases PageMaker for the Macintosh in July 1985, and relied on Adobe’s PostScript page description language.
  • 1986 – This year sees PageMaker PC come out; Mac is by then de-facto standard in Desktop Publishing.
  • 1987 – QuarkXPress jumps into the page-layout scene in 1987!
  • 1987 – In 1987 Adobe Illustrator is brought on the scene.
  • 1990 – This year sees Adobe’s Photoshop spring to life (Wow, 20 year anniversary for .psd!).
  • 1990(?) – FreeHand is created by Altsys and licensed to Aldus and brought to illustrators around the globe!
  • 1990’s – The 90’s see Quark becoming the most used application in DTP, helped by their partners program for XTension developers, like Markzware, one of the longest standing still operating today.
  • 1993 – PDF 1.0 and Acrobat 1.0 comes from Adobe.(see)
  • 1994 – September 1994 sees Aldus merging with Adobe and PageMaker get’s new wings, but largely stays caged.
  • 1995 – ’95 sees Patrick Marchese and Ronald Crandall launching FlightCheck at Seybold S.F.
  • 1996 – In 1996 QuarkXPress v 3.3 released, with stable handling of Adobe’s Postscript fonts as well as with Apple’s TrueType fonts, makes Quark the undisputed king of desktop publishing of that era.
  • Quark had 90% market share in the 1990s, but was highly criticized for not innovating enough (Believe it or not, the users wanted MORE Upgrades!).
  • 1997 – November 24, 1997, Markzware files for and is granted US Patent # 5,963,641 for Preflighting.
  • 1999 – “K2” is released by Adobe as InDesign v1.0 in 1999!
  • 2001 – In April of 2001, PDF/X-1 and PDF/X-1a become ISO standards internationally.
  • 2002 –  We see a Quark conflict with Apple and the release of Adobe InDesign 2.0, working smoothly.
  • 2005 – December 3, 2005 Adobe gobbles up competitor Macromedia, solidifying the new standard in graphic arts software.
  • 2005 – Version 3.0 of InDesign included in Creative Suite (CS) by Adobe with Photoshop, Illustrator and Adobe PDF Acrobat.
  • 2007 – In 2007 we see InDesign CS3 and Creative Suite 3 come to market. Many say, including myself from the number of CS3 files we get in, that CS3 is still the most widely used software in DTP today.
  • 2008 – QuarkXPress v8.0 comes out in 2008, but the masses are rapidly switching to InDesign.
  • 2008 – CS4 and Adobe InDesign CS4 released into a rough economy.
  • 2010 – ???
    Sources: [FreeHand] [Aldus] [QuarkXPress] [Macromedia] [Adobe] [PDF] [PDF/X] [FlightCheck] [preflight] – Note: If you have any corrections or additions, please comment below and let us know!


So, is Quark the Aldus of today?  DTP 25 years in the making; no surprise thus that the Macintosh Computer is 26 years old, now is it…

macintosh 128k first apple

Johannes Gutenberg would be amazed how easy a layout is to make these days, but perhaps disgusted on how many printing-problems can arise from “using software” as well! Thanks Willy for the comment which promoted this post!

To see the full post, please view:

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