Technologizer

CorelDraw Turns Sixteen

  • Share
  • Read Later
Corel

Corel’s flagship software product, CorelDraw, has been around since 1989, making it among the most venerable packages in the business. I’ve been using it nearly that long (since version 2 or 3, I think). Today, the company released CorelDraw X6 — and since the “X” stands for “10,” that means this is the 16th major release of the vector-drawing software for Windows.

When software’s that mature, it’s hard to radically improve it in ways that actually do improve it. And I don’t think Corel really wants to impose sweeping change at this point. Its software has plenty of loyal users, and it wants to keep them loyal by letting them work in a more modern, efficent version of they software they already know.

CorelDraw’s user interface is mostly the same as it’s been for years, and much of what’s new involves technical updates: CorelDraw is now now a 64-bit app that supports multicore processors for better multitasking. It also supports OpenType fonts for more sophisticated typography, and handles Adobe’s CS5 file formats.

There are a bunch of new features, mostly designed with speed and precision in mind — better alignment guides, for instance, and the ability to create different templates for each page of a multi-page document. (Unlike its perennial rival, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw has long done desktop publishing as a sideline along with single-page drawing.) Several new vector-drawing tools, including smear, twirl, attract and repel, let you nudge around the points in an object to quickly distort them.

Photo-Paint, the image editor that comes with CorelDraw, was once a serious alternative to Photoshop; it hasn’t evolved much in many years, though, and these days it feels more like a minor bonus than a major reason to pick up the package. But I do like Smart Carver, a new feature which lets you change a photo’s aspect ratio by painting out parts of it and then letting Photo-Paint squish the image without leaving visible seams.

I could go on — the list of additions is lengthy even if none of them are huge — but using X16, I realize that I’m probably a relatively undemanding CorelDraw user. I like the same things I’ve always liked, including the straightforward interface, the Swiss Army Knife-like versatility, the well-done help and examples, the bevy of bundled content (including 1000 OpenType fonts). For everything that’s changed about how I use computers in recent years, here’s one thing that hasn’t: When I’m doing graphics on a Windows computer, I use CorelDraw.

The new version is $499 for the full version and $199 as an upgrade; it’s available as a download now and will arrive in boxed form later this month.

0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest