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QuickDraw GX

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QuickDraw GX was a replacement for the QuickDraw (QD) 2D graphics engine and Printing Manager inside the classic Mac OS. Its underlying drawing platform was a resolution-independent object oriented retained mode system, making it much easier for programmers to perform common tasks (compared to the original QuickDraw). Additionally, GX added various curve-drawing commands that had been lacking from QD, as well as introducing TrueType as its basic font system.

Eventually replaced by Quartz after the NeXT merger and the development of Mac OS X.


In 1994, Apple introduced QuickDraw GX, a Macintosh system software extension that provides powerful new printing features, as well as advanced graphics, type, and color capabilities. With QuickDraw GX, Apple creates a new standard for desktop graphics computing, and reaffirms the place of Macintosh as the premier publishing platform in the personal computer industry.

QuickDraw GX enhancements in printing functionality and document portability work with existing Macintosh applications and fonts. The following features of QuickDraw GX are available immediately upon installation:

  • PostScript integration.
  • Customizable, extensible printing.
  • New printing interface, including desktop printer icons and print queue controls.
  • Printer sharing and password protection.
  • View and print documents without the original application or fonts.

QuickDraw GX is designed to help software developers provide advanced color, type, and graphics features in their products. As such, QuickDraw GX will play an important part in the creation of business documents, exacting commercial color publishing projects, and future electronic publishing work by addressing these major user needs:

  • Consistent, predictable, easy-to-use color input, display, and output. QuickDraw GX incorporates Apple's ColorSync color management technology which allows color devices and applications to input, display, exchange, and output color information consistently and predictably.
  • More sophisticated, legible typography-automatically. QuickDraw GX fonts (True Type or Type 1 fonts with a special QuickDraw GX resource) can contain instructions about proper kerning, justification, and special character selection (such as ligatures) which are followed automatically by QuickDraw GX-savvy applications. QuickDraw GX also provides extensive, system-level capabilities for the display and printing of any combination of international text systems, such as Arabic or Kanji.
  • Resolution-indpendent graphics. Applications that make extensive use of QuickDraw GX color and graphics can display information on-screen more accurately, resulting in more predictable print output. As the electronic delivery of information becomes more commonplace, QuickDraw GX resolution-independent graphics will prove highly "repurposeable," and easily adaptable to a variety of electronic media.

Enhanced PostScript integration

PostScript integration has always been a QuickDraw GX design goal. QuickDraw GX simplifies and enhances a number ways of working with PostScript:

  • Enhanced font management. Apple will ship Adobe Type Manager GX (ATM GX) with QuickDraw GX to provide complete support for Type 1 fonts. QuickDraw GX will allow users to work directly with Multiple Master fonts, eliminating the need for specially created and named weights and instances. And TrueType and Type 1 fonts now share a single font file format.
  • Smarter printing of type. QuickDraw GX controls the downloading of all font formats, including TrueType, to PostScript printers. QuickDraw GX downloads only the characters needed from any font, allowing more fonts to exist in the printer RAM, thus allowing more documents to print successfully.
  • Extends functionality of existing PostScript devices. QuickDraw GX has a number of advanced features that have no PostScript equivalents, including real-time color interaction between objects (transfer modes), perspective transforms on graphics and type, and high-level type features. QuickDraw GX can print these features on existing PostScript devices without any upgrades to the output device's hardware or software.

Customizable, extensible printing

QuickDraw GX will allow Macintosh users to customize their print process, providing increased control, security, and feedback. Users will customize their printing processes with QuickDraw GX printing enhancers, background applications that further modify a print job once the primary application has finished with a document.

For example, a general-purpose QuickDraw GX printing enhancer could print virtually any number of pages of a document on a single page, thus saving paper. In a corporate environment, a QuickDraw GX printing enhancer could print a grayed-back "Confidential" on every page of sensitive or secret project documents. A print shop or service bureau could write custom printing enhancers for a wide range of uses. For example, a printing enhancer could display a dialog box asking for a client's name or job number before executing the print command. The same enhancer could continue to track the number of pages in the print job-and automatically update the client's job file to bill back the cost of consumables and processing time. Another printing enhancer could automatically route print jobs to available output devices, avoiding print queues and maximizing output device use.

New printing interface

QuickDraw GX makes Macintosh printing even more powerful and convenient.

  • Macintosh desktop printer icons. Selecting a printer with the QuickDraw GX Chooser creates a printer icon which represents an actual printer, much as a hard disk icon represents a real hard disk. Users can create individual printer icons for each of the output devices they commonly use. To print a document from the Finder, users can simply drag the chosen file to the desired printer icon. Because multiple printer icons can appear on the desktop, users can send a document to any number of printers without invoking the Chooser.
  • Print queues. Double-click on a printer icon, and a print queue status window appears. Users can reorder the print queue postpone a print job, or transfer print jobs to other printers by dragging document icons to a new location or printer icon.

Printer sharing and password protection

With QuickDraw GX installed on their Macintosh computers, users will have more options for working with their existing output devices. These include:

  • Printer sharing. With desktop printer icons and System 7 file sharing, users can share any output device attached to an individual Macintosh across an entire network. Access to the output device is controlled with the Users and Groups Setup dialog box.
  • Password protection. Users can control access to output devices, such as film recorders, to control the use of costly consumables, such as color film, color toner, or expensive types of paper.

View and print documents without the original application or fonts

QuickDraw GX supports a new document file format, known as a portable digital document (PDD). PDD files, which can be created by any application using any kind of font, retain all of the graphics and typographic information of the original document, and can be opened, viewed, and printed from any other Macintosh with QuickDraw GX installed-whether or not that Macintosh has the same application or typefaces that were used to create the document in the first place. PDD's are resolution-independent, and maintain absolute document fidelity. Because PDD's are generally not editable, they're very useful when distributing documents electronically for review. Print shops and service bureaus could send PDD's to their clients for approval instead of faxes, photocopies, or actual document files.The client can output the PDD to get a high-resolution print for more accurate review, but cannot inadvertently make changes to type, graphics, or color settings on the page.


See Also