CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a jack-of-all-trades graphic design software. The suite includes interactive design tools that help you create professional-looking vector illustrations, page layouts, edited photos, web graphics and animations. That being said, it’s missing a few photo editing tools.
Note that this review is mainly focused on the CorelDRAW software. However, some tools, such as the photo editing features, are housed in the other applications in the suite. This makes CorelDRAW Graphics Suite different from the stand-alone programs we reviewed, which house all their features in one application.
This suite is one of the most expensive programs I tested for graphic design software, costing $499. Considering it comes with five programs, it’s a pretty good deal. The suite includes CorelDRAW for vector illustration and page layout design, Corel Capture for screen captures, Corel Connect for content browsing and file management, Corel Font Manager, and Corel Photo-Paint for photo editing.
You must open each application separately to access its tools. All five programs include similar elements that build upon one another, not unlike Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite. For example, if you need to add an edited photo to a project in CorelDRAW, you use Corel Photo-Paint to edit the picture then open the file in CorelDRAW to add vector elements.
Ease of Use
When you first open the CorelDRAW program to start a new project, a window appears asking you what kind of document you want to create. You can choose the standard page size, 8.5 x 11 inches, or one of many other options listed, including letter, tabloid, envelope, broadsheet, webpage, web banner and more. You can also set your own custom dimensions if you'd like.
While testing this software, I found that CorelDRAW Graphics Suite includes many of the advanced tools you get with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, so you can create similar, professional-quality work with it. However, this makes it a bit difficult to use if you've never worked with design software before. Still, all of the best graphic design software packages have lots of tools, and it's actually a good thing. You won't be overwhelmed forever – just read the manuals, watch video tutorials and visit community forums, and you will become an expert soon enough. If you'd prefer a more beginner-friendly program, we recommend Photoshop Elements.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite includes Corel Photo-Paint. It's a raster application, meaning it works with pixels instead of vectors, and it is an excellent program for editing photos. Photo-Paint has industry-standard features, such as layers and color management tools, as well as a full menu of filters and effects to make quality edits and retouches. For example, the Smart Carver tool allows you to remove unwanted elements from photos, and the application automatically adjusts the edited photo's aspect ratio. Other notable tools and features include those for 3D imaging, masks, panoramas, retouching, smart filter effects, RAW camera support, drawing, painting and filling.
The CorelDRAW program lets you import text from most major word processing programs, including Microsoft Word and Excel. You can make the textual elements on your page come to life with images as well as gracefully wrap text around any object or shape.
In addition, its interface is clean and easy to navigate. It includes all the standard tools you need to create sleek, colorful graphics, including logos, cartoons and interface designs. Plus, this application features an alignment guide to help you position objects. CorelDRAW also lets you work with raster effects without opening a separate application.
Photo & Image Editing
When I tested the editing tools, I discovered over 80 special effects filters I could quickly add to my images. In addition, there is a library with over 600 templates set to industry specs and laid out by trained graphic designers. Templates are a great resource because they allow you to achieve professional results while still letting you exercise your creativity and helping you learn the ins and outs of the design software.
There are also color correction tools to adjust saturation, hue, brightness and contrast. In addition, the CorelDRAW program works with masks, so you can do intensive editing. For all the tools this software includes, it doesn’t have HDR or panorama creation tools. However, you can stitch panoramas together using the Photo-Paint program. One thing we like about this software is its Smart Carver tool, which allows you to remove unwanted objects from your images and makes it look like they were never there to begin with.
You can place page numbers, graphics copyright and any other information on your master page for multi-page projects like magazines and newspapers. The application then applies the information from the master to every page in the layout, saving you time.
Help & Support
Corel provides forums and video tutorials online. You can also access in-program help by navigating to the Learn section of the program’s welcome screen. Further, you can contact a customer representative through email, phone or live chat should you need additional help.
CorelDRAW, like many of the best graphic design applications, has an overwhelming number of features – so many 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 Graphics Suite. You can access the Learning Center and detailed user guides online at Corel.com. Here, you will find online tutorials, live training, webinars, and tips and tricks to get you started.