CorelDraw Graphics Suite X6 review

Price when reviewed

When working with text-heavy publications and mock-ups, the new ability to set up empty text and picture frames ready to receive content will prove handy, as will the ability to fill frames with placeholder text. You can also set up and easily insert page numbers, and set up master page layers that apply to all, or only even or odd, pages.

When working with longer publications, it makes sense to set up graphics and text styles so that you can consistently apply formatting and, when necessary, quickly update it throughout a project. Previously CorelDraw let you do this by formatting an object or some text, and then turning this into a style. Now it provides a new Object Styles panel, where you can add Fill, Outline, Character, Paragraph and Frame styles, and set up all relevant properties in the panel below.

The new panel also lets you create Style Sets, where you can link, say, fill and outline styles or character and paragraph formatting. You can set up child styles and style sets that inherit a parent’s settings but add their own overrides. And a separate section of the panel lets you manage the default formatting settings for shapes, paragraph text, call-outs and so on.

CorelDraw Graphics Suite X6

CorelDraw X6 also reworks its handling of colour styles. Drag artwork onto the Colour Styles panel and all colours are automatically turned into styles that can be edited throughout the document. On a Colour Harmonies section of the panel, multiple hues are shown on a colour wheel. Drag onto the wheel and all colours are updated simultaneously, allowing creative exploration of colour combinations live onscreen.

The new style-based handling of graphics, text and colour should be the highlight of X6, but there’s a problem. While there’s real power hidden in here, in each case the implementation is opaque, over-technical and intimidating. It also seems impossible to simply click in a headline to apply heading formatting to the whole paragraph, which is perhaps the one feature most users will be looking for from a style-based system. Corel was right that style handling was crying out for an overhaul, but X6 is a backwards step for all but the most determined power users.

After over two decades there’s no doubt the CorelDraw X6 Graphics Suite provides plenty of vector and bitmap-based creative power, and could serve new users well. But apart from the new style-based handling, there really isn’t much here to persuade existing users to upgrade.


Software subcategoryGraphics/design software

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