CorelDraw X5

Overall CorelDraw and PhotoPaint still beat out Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign for general and a wide variety uses. Especially in the areas of sign making, producing files for cutting machines, engraving, multi-page documents short of a fifty pages, for small businesses and non-profits.

CorelDraw still surpasses Illustrator with a shorter learning curve, importing and exporting of files, and just as capable as Illustrator. But it really shines with an ease of ability to produce most any kind of graphic or business document. Merge capabilities and imposition of documents just makes CorelDraw that much more worthy.

The integration of CorelDraw and PhotoPaint still reigns supreme.

PhotoPaint, gaining several improvements this round, remains a good program and is a terrific complement to CorelDraw. On its own it is quite capable but lacks the outstanding tools or capabilities that make Adobe’s Photo Shop a more productive tool for full time professionals.

But as for mass photographic work, Adobe Lightroom, PhotoShop & Bridge prevails – especially since the integration of Dreamweaver and Flash that are now products of Adobe.

Is CorelDraw X5 Worth the Expense?

Without a doubt! Especially if you are just getting started, a small business or non-profit that needs graphic design capabilities, a screen printer, an engraver, a sign maker, an engraver, or you make booklets, lots of graphics based in vector art, for page layouts, or just as a hobby. Or if money is a consideration. Comparable products to take the place of CorelDraw X5 Graphics Suite would easily cost you three times as much.

Is CorelDraw X5 Worth the Upgrade Price?

The older the version you are currently using makes it more feasible. I’d definitely suggest an upgrade if you are using CorelDraw X3 or older. For those of us using CorelDraw X4, I’m not so sure. However if you work in color managed work flows - then upgrade yesterday!

Reviewing the program did not solidify my confidence that X5 is worth the cost of an upgrade, I’d be more tempted if we were not already using CorelDraw X4.

In my first look of X4 I mentioned that I'd review X4 for a possible upgrade. Well my company did not upgrade, but X5 is now budgeted!


CorelDraw X4 Box- First Look X4


This first look is using the Corel Draw Graphics Suite X4 Trial running on Windows XP.

CorelDraw has always been an exceptional program since CorelDraw 2.0 in 1991, and X4 keeps CorelDraw very alive. To gain the same capabilities as CorelDraw you would need a couple of other programs and then some.

Many compare CorelDraw to Adobe Photoshop, but it is no Photoshop, it is so much more. Another comparison revolves around Adobe Illustrator, while they have many things in common, CorelDraw has always had more capabilities than Illustrator. The better comparison would be with Adobe Indesign, but that comparison is simply unfair to both programs.

I’d like to note that there is nothing that can be accomplished in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop that you cannot do in Corel Draw. I use all of the programs for their strengths. Corel is simpler and quicker in designing vector art, most page layouts and producing short publications, that neither Illustrator nor Photoshop can accomplish without extraordinary effort and time. CorelDraw X4 further separates itself from its competition by building on its strengths.

Corel continues to bundle some great items with Draw like fonts, clipart, pictures and other programs. Over the years included programs have come and gone but in X4 as with several of the past versions, PhotoPaint, Corel Capture and Bitstream Font Navigator have continuously been included. CorelDraw Graphics Suite offers a level of interoperability that Adobe products have just implemented in the last two or three versions.

That being said, this first look is not all positives. Yet, do not take any of my comments as reasons not to use the program. I can’t think of a software program I use that I don’t have things I’d like to see included nor one that does not have some shortcomings. And CorelDraw is in fact a better product and a far better value than buying three other programs that can do what CorelDraw does.

First Two Things I Noticed

Rebooting after installing CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4, a Windows service produced an error notification when Windows was shutting down. The service is PsiService_2.exe as listed in Windows Task Manager and Protexis Licensing V2 in the Windows Services dialog. This is a Windows service included to run with some Corel products, and you cannot disable this service in Windows XP as CorelDraw and Photo Paint will produce an error screen that the program was not properly installed and shutting down the program.

I tried setting service to manually start and blocked internet access for it. But I had to place the service back in automatic. It does seem to only try and access the internet when the program loads. This is bothersome to me but not a hindrance since the program does not connect to the internet constantly.

Why Corel felt this was necessary I don’t know – it sure does not help my computing experience. (2010 Note - Activation and programs checking validity now seem to be the norm)

Thumbnail Previews

To have thumbnails show in Windows Explorer you need to select an option in the Install menu. It is under Utilities and then "Windows SHell Extension." Now how come I can't relate thumbnails to a shell extension?

New Changes

CDX4 Welcome ScreenWelcome Screen

Some nice changes here! A facsimile book with tabs along the right side for Quick Start, What’s New, Learning Tools, Gallery and Upgrades.

On the Quick Start page on the left side you can select a recently opened file and see a large preview and details of the file. There is a list of recently opened files that increase previous versions size several times.

On the What’s New tab, on the left page, there is menu item below the image, Corel Photo-Paint New Features Tour or CorelDraw New Features, respective to the program. This menu item is linked to a video produced by Scott Georgeson who runs the Click-n-Learn web site and has made some fantastic training videos for CorelDraw and Photo Paint. It would also seem that Scott has made the videos that are included on the CorelDraw X4 DVD.

I’d highly suggest you watch the videos from the What’s New tab and I’m looking forward to viewing his videos that included on the DVD, especially if these are as good as Scott’s previous work.

The User Interface




The user interface has undergone some nice tweaking, nothing I'd call "New." First thing is the color icons and the second is the Object Manager has a new Object Managerlook (much better) and most importantly you can add layers that are only relative to a page along with guidelines that only on that page. So we now have a true Master page that goes across all pages of a multi-page document and separate layers as well for each page. Really Great!

master layersOh, oh. I just when to take a master page and turn off the item for one page. That capability no longer exists! Not good - in fact for the work I do very bad. Back to the old work arounds!

What the Font?

Select some text and you’re supposed to be able to go to What the Font web site and have it analyze your text, providing information on what font it might be.  When I tried this I was using Corel Capture and a dialog box opened telling me that the hot key was already in use to choose another hotkey. So if use this function, have Corel Capture closed.

I tried it and it worked as far as Corel linking to the web site and uploading the image. I tried both a screen shot of the text and using Corel’s What the Font? function and I got to differing results. Neither one selected the correct font but both were close. So it is nice added functionality, but something I think Corel could have forgone to work on other features that have been asked for quite a few versions.

On the next page I finish up the First Look and have provided links to some images of CorelDraw from Corel Corporation in one of their virtual press kits.

CorelDraw X4 First Look - Page 2