PROS / The help and support available for this application is astounding.
CONS / Because the suite consists of several applications, there are an overwhelming number of tools and features; it may take you quite a while to learn how to use them all to achieve maximum results.
VERDICT / Once you become familiar with this application, CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 has some powerful offerings, coupled with an easy-to-navigate interface.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks in our lineup. The original review is below, but check out our current top products about Graphic Design Software here.
In 1989, Corel introduced CorelDraw as the "first graphics software for the Windows platform," according to the Corel website. These days, CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 is brimming with ingenious features and tools designed exclusively for delivering quality results in the graphics industry. Designers around the globe continue to benefit from Corel's continuous drive to be the best graphic design software, as they offer new technology, including mobile applications and 3D technology, and standout features, such as vector illustration, raster effects and layout.
Corel's mantra, "If you can dream it, you can design it," has definitely served it well, as it caters to the hundreds of millions who use their graphic design software. This product incorporates the best that this design software company has to offer into a powerful graphics suite. The X7 suite embraces interactive design tools that will enable you to pump out professional results in the following design areas:
- Vector illustration
- Page layout
- Digital editing
- Web graphics and animation
This graphic design software includes six applications, each catering to specific design needs:
- CorelDraw X7 – Vector illustration and page layout
- Corel Photo-Paint X7 – Photo editing
- Corel PowerTrace X7 – Bitmap-to-vector conversion
- Corel Website Creator X7 – Designing and managing websites
- Corel Capture X7 – One-click screen capture
- Corel Connect X7 – Content browser and file management tool
Although you must open each of these applications separately to access their individual tools, all include similar elements that build upon one another. For example, if you are using CorelDraw but need to edit an image, you can use Corel Photo-Paint. Once you have tweaked your images in this application, you can drag it over to CorelDraw without having to save and reopen the image.
Ease of Use
Corel has successfully created an application for the masses, while still providing industry standard solutions powerful enough for professional graphic designers. While testing this software, we felt somewhat overwhelmed with the amount of information on each of the applications. A beginner view simplifies the interface for newcomers to design, but we were almost obligated to read (or scroll through, at least) the hundreds and hundreds of pages in the user manual provided by Corel before we could do anything advanced in any of the Corel applications.
Yes, CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 is a bit difficult to use if you have never used design software before, but honestly, all of the best graphic design software packages have a vast number of tools, which is actually a good thing. You won't be overwhelmed forever. You will read the manuals, you will watch the video tutorials, you will visit community forums. You will become an expert soon enough.
Included in the CorelDraw Graphics Suite is Photo-Paint X7. This raster-based application is an excellent solution for editing photos. Industry standard tools, such as layers and color management, as well as a full menu of filters and effects, ensure quality editing and retouching. The Smart Carver tool, for example, allows you to remove unwanted elements from any photo, and the application will automatically adjust the aspect ratio of the edited photo. There are also a number of other notable tools and features, including:
- 3D imaging
- Creating and editing movies
- Creating for the web
- Color tone
- Drawing, painting and filling
- Smart filter effects
- Embedding objects and text
- RAW camera support
Corel has expanded Photo-Paint's digital content library to bring you more fonts, customizable templates, artistic media, clipart and bitmap images and full-color fills.
Photo & Image Editing
When you first open this graphic design software to create a new document, a window will appear asking you what kind of document you would like to create. You can choose the typical page size, 8.5 x 11 inches, or choose from a list of options, including letter, tabloid, envelope, broadsheet, web page, web banner and more. You can also set your own custom dimensions if you'd like.
Creating an aesthetically pleasing document that appeals to your audience can be a difficult chore if you do not have the correct tools available. This graphic design software has innumerable tools and features for you to use to create an eye-popping graphic layout, but it is missing some of the basic elements, including initial setup options. We are disappointed in the lack of column setup. Other graphic design applications allow you to choose a layout with two, three, four (or more) columns, ideal for newspapers and magazines.
Page layout is an essential component for graphic design software. And, as we discussed above, this application allows you to format text according to your layout preferences: magazine, newspaper, newsletter, etc. CorelDraw graphic design software will allow you to import text sources from most major document formats, including Microsoft Word and Excel. You can make the textual elements on your page come to life with images, and you can easily and gracefully wrap text around any object or shape.
If you are creating a multi-page publication, there is no other feature that you will come to appreciate more than Master Pages. Many newspapers and trade publications feature page numbers, graphics, copyright information and other information on each page. Instead of inserting this information repeatedly, you can place your desired information on your master page, which is actually a virtual page and it will not be printed. The application will then apply the information from the master to every page, saving you time (and a headache).
Because CorelDraw specializes in creating page layouts and vector illustration, you will have the opportunity to work with some of the following:
- Objects, lines and shapes
- Web graphics
- Drawing tools
- 3D effects
- Complex script support
- Tables, rulers and guides
A large library of templates set to industry specs and laid out by trained graphic designers is available for you to use. We love the idea of templates because they will help you achieve the results that you crave and allow you the freedom to exercise your creativity, while still helping you learn the ins and outs of the design software.
While testing the CorelDraw graphics software, we discovered a few features that quickly became our favorites, as they really let our creativity run wild.
Smart Fill tool –You can create shapes with the object tool and then use the Smart Fill tool to create stunning or funky designs great for print and advertising. And if you create shapes that overlap – a rectangle, a circle and a triangle, for example – each intersecting section can be a different color or pattern.
Eyedropper tool – How can you capture those jaw-dropping colors seen in nature, fashion and more? With the Eyedropper tool, you simply hover over any color in a photo, image or object. The eyedropper will appear to fill up on the sampled color, and you can see the RGB color modes for this color. You can also apply this technique to any photo.
Artistic Media tool – Probably our favorite of the favorites, the Artistic Media tool features several of its own tools, including the brush, calligraphy, splatter, symbol, texture, sprayer, pen and pressure. Let's take the brush, for example. With one stroke from your mouse, you have added an artistic detail to any page you are working on. You don't need to be a seasoned artist to create great additions, such as complex lines and patterns.
CorelDraw offers a very clean and usable interface. All the standard tools are available to let you create sleek, smooth and colorful graphics, including logos, cartoons and interface designs. Plus, this application features an alignment guide that will help you position objects quickly and efficiently. CorelDraw also offers raster-based effects without requiring that you open a separate raster-based application.
Help & Support
If you are using CorelDraw for the first time, you can choose to have the Learning Tools window become the default Welcome screen. This way, you can jump right into the support section each time you launch the application.
CorelDraw, like many of the best graphic design software applications, has an overwhelming amount of features in its arsenal – so many, in fact, that it takes hundreds of pages in the user guide just to explain them all. And remember, this is just one of the applications you have access to in the CorelDraw Design Suite X7. You can access the Learning Center and detailed user guides online at Corel.com. Here, you will find online tutorials, live training, webinars, tips and tricks.
There are more than five hours of video tutorials available as part of the CorelDraw purchase.
"If you can dream it, you can design it," says the Corel website. So, armed with some of the best graphic design tools, we say: Get dreamin'. CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 brings some real solutions for the designer to the table. You can use this design software if you are a professional graphic designer quite easily. If you are new to the world of graphic design, you will experience a steep learning curve. However, Corel does offer a huge array of training materials that will make the process less painful.