CorelDRAW – a 19-year-old problem transformed

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CorelDRAW - a 19-year-old problem transformed

I’m sure that everyone has the odd infuriating niggle with the software that they use most regularly, but I’m delighted to say that I’ve just found the solution to a problem with CorelDRAW that has been driving me mad for almost 19 years.

That’s how long I’ve been producing a regular quarterly publication based on charts that I tidy up ready for print. Key to this is the ability to resize whole series of elements in the same way. No problem you might think; simply use CorelDRAW’s Transformations palette.

The problem is that this treats the selection as a group. I need to be able to change each object’s scale independently, without changing its positioning, and that’s just not possible automatically. Instead I’ve been forced to apply the transformation to a single object then select all the others in turn (Tab is useful here) and then repeat the last command (Ctrl+R). Trust me, after a hundred or so times, the attraction soon fades.

Transforming objects like this is such a common requirement and it’s such an obvious capability to add to an application that prides itself on its efficiency and productivity, that I’ve always assumed that Corel would fix it in the next release. Some dozen or so releases later, I’m not so sure.

If Corel’s not going to do it, what about the Corel community? I’ve been looking on and off for years, and finally I’ve found a solution. Hidden away in the Sawmill Creek Woodworkers’ Forums – “The biggest and best online community for woodworkers on the Internet” – is the answer.

It’s a simple macro called Transform Each written by Steve Willis based on an original attempt by Manuel Rivas. It’s pretty awkward in use and I strongly recommend that you save your file before applying, and you’ll also need to close and reopen the dialog between transformations. You’ll also have to sign up to  Sawmill Creek to download it (which might help explain the site’s popularity).

It’s certainly not pretty, but it can be made to work, letting you automatically and independently stretch, rotate and flip multiple selected objects. It might only save me 15 minutes every three months, but small efficiencies mount up. I can’t quite believe that I’ve spent two entire working days pressing Ctrl+R.

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