Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite 12

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Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite 12
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite 12
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite 12
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite 12

Bottom Line

New tools speed creation of precise drawings, but Photo-Paint has barely changed.

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With version 12, Corel's venerable CorelDraw Graphics Suite hasn't undergone a sweeping makeover. In fact, most significant tweaks are focused on one goal: speeding the creation of precise drawings in the namesake CorelDraw illustration program. The suite remains a good bet for business and technical users who want lots of graphics tools at an attractive price, and its improvements will please many existing CorelDraw fans. But those seeking meaty new features, especially in the Photo-Paint image editor, may be disappointed.

Among CorelDraw's useful precision-oriented enhancements are Dynamic Guides, similar to Smart Guides in Adobe's Illustrator CS: Drag a drawing object around the page, and the guides pop up to show you the object's distance and angle in relation to other items on the page. The new Smart Drawing tool lets you doodle an approximation of a square or another shape, then turns it into a tidy geometric form. Existing tools like object snapping, text alignment, and file importing and exporting now work more precisely.

As for the suite's other applications, R.A.V.E., the Flash-compatible Web animation program, shares many of CorelDraw's enhancements. But Photo-Paint has only one important addition: a handy Touch-up Brush tool for erasing minor blemishes.

Both CorelDraw and Photo-Paint still lack some slick features available in the latest versions of their Adobe rivals, which are more squarely aimed at professionals; examples are the 3D tools of Illustrator CS and the shadow/highlight correction tool of Photoshop CS. Then again, the $399 Corel suite is more aggressively priced: You get CorelDraw, R.A.V.E., and Photo-Paint for $100 less than Adobe Illustrator alone.

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