The 14th version of CorelDraw Graphics Suite sees the established graphics suite with significant and practical new features.

As the centerpiece of Corel's Graphics Suite X4, CorelDraw X4 ships with significant new features that, while not flashy, are practical, and substantial enough for professionals to find the upgrade worthwhile. Even the interface has been redesigned to present a clean, intuitive workspace.

CorelDraw Graphics Suite is the well-established "other" vector drawing program, covering the same ground as Adobe Illustrator does. You can use it to create illustrations for signs, logos and technical and industrial designs, and for specialised printing like engraving. Draw also works for designing multipage publications.

The growing ranks of people who double as the designated designer in multitasking work environments will appreciate the extensive set of easy-to-modify templates and the intuitive help screens. CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4 ships with a substantial library of royalty-free artwork, including 1,000 high-resolution photos suitable for commercial projects.

And CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4 meshes smoothly with Windows Vista Instant Search to sort quickly through images on your computer or network from within Draw's Open Drawing dialog box.

More improvements

Among the more substantial enhancements is a connection to the WhatTheFont website. Within CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4, you can paste in bitmap captures of type to identify fonts. This is helpful, for example, for a designer who is asked to duplicate a print brochure's unidentified fonts.

Also, you can now preview type flow around images instantly. Publishers who generate data-driven output can use the print/merge features to generate customised publications - so a product press kit, say, could have customised fields that generate a personalised kit for each reviewer.

Draw has always had an advantage over products in Adobe's design suite in that it is both a full-fledged vector drawing program (like Illustrator) and a solid desktop publishing package (like InDesign). Desktop publishing features in CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4 now let you create and edit independent layers on each page of multipage documents, as well as implement master layers throughout a publication for repeating elements (such as page numbers or headers).

NEXT PAGE: bitmap-trace feature and Photo-Paint > >

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The 14th version of CorelDraw Graphics Suite sees the established graphics suite with significant and practical new features.

Illustrators who convert bitmap files to CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4's vector format will spot changes in the bitmap trace feature that allow, for example, combining of colours to simplify trace results. Users who found the trace feature in CorelDraw X3 unpredictable will notice improvements here.

The other significant application in Corel's Graphics Suite X4 is Photo-Paint. Almost abandoned in version X3 of the suite, this bitmap-editing application has some new features, including support for the RAW camera format and interactive histograms for previewing image adjustments. But while CorelDraw is a professional alternative to Adobe Illustrator, Photo-Paint is not a professional photo editing app.

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CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4: Specs

  • Pentium III, 800MHz processor or AMD Athlon XP
  • Windows XP SP2 or later/Vista (32-bit or 64-bit editions)
  • 512MB RAM
  • 430MB hard disk space
  • 1,024×768 or better monitor resolution
  • DVD drive
  • mouse or tablet
  • Pentium III, 800MHz processor or AMD Athlon XP
  • Windows XP SP2 or later/Vista (32-bit or 64-bit editions)
  • 512MB RAM
  • 430MB hard disk space
  • 1,024×768 or better monitor resolution
  • DVD drive
  • mouse or tablet

OUR VERDICT

Illustrators and designers who don't use Adobe products (a niche community) will find the improvements in CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4 worth the upgrade.

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