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Product: Corel Draw! 10
Company: Corel
Estimated Street Price: $549.99 (Upgrade: $239.99)
Review By:
Julien Jay

Corel Draw! 10

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Corel Draw!
3: Corel PhotoPaint
4: Corel RAVE & Extras
5: Conclusion

    Before launching Corel Draw 10, you’ll surely remark that all the icons of Corel programs have been revamped and are now more stylish. For those of you who don’t know yet, Corel Draw is the main application of the graphic suite and is dedicated to the creation of vector graphics and page-layouts just like Adobe Illustrator. Corel Draw still comes with a wealth of powerful features to help you deploy your creativity. If Corel Draw still features a similar user interface don’t let it fool you… Many changes are under the hood! As usual when you start the program a welcome splash screen appears and lets you choose by which activity you want to begin your working session. Choosing to create a new graphic, the dialog box disappears and a letter-sized canvas appears. You can thankfully change the size of this page to fit your production’s needs. The main interface of Corel Draw shows in the left corner a vertical toolbar that contains all the graphic tools you’ll be able to use. On the left, the color’s palette is displayed vertically and with a click of a mouse you can scroll the available colors to choose the one you want. Finally under the menu bar you’ll find standard horizontal toolbars with usual commands like open, save, cut, copy, paste, etc.

Corel Draw! 10 (click to enlarge)

    One of the strong advantages of Corel Draw that remained over the years is that it features a Windows compliant interface so basically if you know how to use Word, you’re ready to use Corel Draw! You can open several documents at a time with Corel Draw 10, and switching from documents is very easy thanks to the tabs. New to Corel Draw 10 is the fact the whole interface is drag-and-drop customizable. A right click on a toolbar or on a menu bar and you can add or remove commands through the contextual menu displayed. Corel Draw 10 menus show icons in front of the commands just like Office 2000 do so you can spot the command you’re looking for faster and if you’re running Windows 2000 you can set this menus to be transparent (so they don’t totally cover your graphic work while you’re surfing in them).

Corel Draw! 10 Menus with Icons (click to enlarge)

    Corel Draw 10 lets you add several objects to your composition such as frames, shapes, circle, text areas and more. The text tool lets you draw a text area whereever you want on the page and so you can type your text with the same power, Word offers. A spell checker is even included! For each object you put on your page, you can resize it to your mood, using the anchors or even rotate it freely using your mouse. Just like in Adobe software, you’ve got the famous quill pen tool that lets you draw vector lines that follow the movements of your mouse. The Artistic Media tool will change a scribble into art. Make a smooth banner by simply waving your mouse. With the Interactive Transparency tool you can make amazing transparency effects with simple and easy to understand options. Of course you can create simple shapes, and the familiar tools are there as well, such as the outline tool, eyedropper, zoom, and selection. You can apply to each object colors very easily by simply selecting first the so called object and clicking the color you want in the color’s palette. You can position very accurately each object using the x & y coordinates so you’re sure to produce precise layouts. The object manager docker has been fully reorganized to improve usability: the docker displays layers, master layers and objects within the layers using a very interesting hierarchical tree view. Users can rename pages, layers and objects as well as modifying objects’ properties, order, styles, overprint attributes and more.

Corel Draw! 10 Text Formating & Objects Manager (click to enlarge)

    Just like every Corel Draw release Corel Draw 10 comes with filters that let you apply amazing effects to your drawing like the lens effect that put a reflection on your drawing as if it was a photo: this effect is particularly realistic. One of the new feature of Corel Draw 10 is the Real time Preview that lets you preview formatting options and effects before finally applying them to the document: so users are sure to not ruin their work by adding such effects. Another enhancement brings by this release is the color management. Indeed when you’re a professional graphic designer you need to be sure that the colors of the document on your screen and on your printer will be exactly the same when printed. Imagine if ever the pink layout, you've spent so much time to design, turns to be red on the 5000 copies, the printer delivers you... To avoid this major problem, Corel Draw 10 comes with a completely redesigned color management dialog box, that is more intuitive than ever and combines all the essential color management options. Users can choose to use one of the three built in color management styles (for World Wide Web, desktop printing or professional output). Since I consider color management to be very important here is a list of what Corel Draw 10 offers in this major domain. You can choose between Kodak and Windows Image Colour Matching (ICM 2) color management modules, because Draw 10 offers relative and colorimetric rendering intents, you can apply ICC profiles to images acquired through a Twain source. When importing or exporting images you can embed ICC color profiles in various formats (PDF, JPG, TIFF, CDT, EPS, CPT), so ICC Colour profiles can be linked to different printers so users don’t waste time assigning the correct ICC profile to the printer they’ll use once they have configured it. All these color related features ensure you’ll get the color you see on your screen when printing your documents in CMJN or by any other means. 


Corel Draw! 10 Color Management Wizard (click to enlarge)


    Obviously Corel Draw comes with a multiple level undo/redo feature now completed by docker windows that lets you undo/redo actions more efficiently since you can pick out the action you want to undo or save a series of actions as a Microsoft Visual Basic macro. Because Corel Draw 10 is so powerful it even comes with Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications that lets you entirely customize the application to fit your needs: with VBA and Corel Draw 10 you can create macros to automate your work, achieve long & painful tasks, etc. But that’s not all.  The Corel development team focused its efforts on making Draw smarter and more flexible than ever. As a result it now supports multi-lingual documents so you can have multiple languages in the same text box. If you use Corel Draw to create multi-page documents you’ll be glad to know the new page sorter will list all pages of your documents as thumbnails in a small palette so you can reorder, rename or delete them! A thing most Corel Draw users have been waiting for is at last included in this release: you can now use the Perfect shape feature to insert quickly common shapes like arrow, stars, callouts, without the need to manually draw them! Since Adobe Acrobat PDF file format has become a real standard in the industry, Corel Draw 10 lets you create smaller sized PDF files with faster rendering times due to the fact the PDF engine was reengineered. This new engine also lets you embed ICC color profile, author & keyword information and any type of file into a single PDF file. Many Corel Draw users use the software to draw graphics that are intended to be published later on the web. Corel has thought to them with the inclusion of Web Image Optimizer. This new feature lets users preview the quality of the graphic they’re about to save depending on the web image compressed file format they choose (GIF, JPG, PNG): the window shows four thumbnails of the actual image in different quality then the user can adjust the quality (while the thumbnails are refreshed) to choose the best compromise between file size and graphic quality.


Web Image Optimizer (click to enlarge)


    Corel studied Microsoft work since in the upcoming Office XP they have included to the whole suite a small applet running in the background with the mission to detect crashes and to offer the user the ability to save the work before closing the program to fix the crash. If we’d prefer that no crash at all could occur anymore this new feature is a neat enhancement to secure users’ work. Because having good looking printer documents is important, Corel Draw 10 now comes with an enhanced preflight feature. This new integrated preflight engine gives users valuable feedback (with many new warnings) during the final output warning them of potential errors of output due to hardware limitations, objects positions, etc. This feature is shared between Corel Draw & Corel Photo-Paint and can be accessed through the preflight tab in the print or publish to pdf dialog boxes. Corel Draw 10 even includes a print merge feature so you can easily print variable data based printing. The print merge wizard guides you through easy steps to create data fields, enter data records, and finally insert those data fields into your document. Who said you can’t use a drawing program to create mailings? The print merge feature is powerful enough to satisfy corporate users’ need and supports current data formats thanks to the ODBC support as well as more exotic ones like *.txt, *.csv, *.rtf, *.wab. Draw 10 comes with some new features in stock for webmasters! Users can now create interactive graphics known as rollovers. Rollovers support three states (normal, down & over) responding the web site visitor mouse actions. .Wav files can also be added to down & over states. Like in Corel Print Office 2000 or PhotoHouse, Corel Draw 10 comes with a built in web browser so users can browser the web directly while they are working (great to cheat the boss making him believe you work).


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Corel PhotoPaint -->


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