CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 - part 1 of 1 2 3 4

by Mike McNamee Published 01/04/2012


It is only a little over 12 months since we reviewed version X5 of this software but it comes out slightly ahead of the launch of the latest version of Adobe Creative Suite, its main rival. The CorelDRAW Suite consists of both raster and vector-based editing software along with a number of utility programs for bitmap to vector conversion, font handling, bar code generation and, most recently, a website building program called WebsiteCreator. Also included is a utility for duplex printing. In essence you can do anything on the graphics design front with CorelDRAW but at significantly reduced cost compared with the Adobe product. The catch comes because of the lack of universality (which Adobe has), but today's use of pdf workflows gets around much of this. Providing you stay within the Corel Suite you can do almost anything and get it out as a pdf file.

One of the strengths of CorelDRAW has always been the richness of resources that come with it. The latest version follows that trend with over 1,000 Open Type fonts and 10,000 clip art images. This is backed with 350 document templates, 2,000 motor vehicle templates (including buses, vans and cars) and 1,000 photographs. Many times at Professional Imagemaker we use the clip art as a starting point for page layouts. For example the runners, bus, van and Windsor Castle on last year's Convention livery is all CorelDRAW. All started within Corel before being transferred to Illustrator, then to InDesign and finally out as pdf files. It is a bit of a rigmarole, but one we trust and are confident will survive through to the pre-press RIP. Font navigator is also supplied and, following the demise of Adobe Type Manager many years ago, it remains one of the few ways of organising and recovering fonts from your systems for use.


TOP: Corel clip art was used to create much of the background for the 2012 Convention.

ABOVE: Although this pdf opened in CorelDRAW X5 it crashed the X6 application (left).

In the program itself the main difference for this version is the implementation of 64-bit coding throughout. This should bring both speed and stability benefits although we were unable to benchmark this. Certainly the RAW file handling remains slow and a little clunky, although it did get the job done.

Although CorelDRAW is not favoured by many printers we do know a few who use little else. One of the issues is the stability and robustness of the pdfs. For example when we attempted to open a pdf made to 'pass4presss' standards (the most common for the magazine/periodical industry) - the application crashed. The same pdf was successfully opened by CorelDRAW X5. This suggests that there is work to be done to debug the program as this is a serious flaw, at the moment it is unusable with this issue unresolved.

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