ACD Systems Canvas X review

£350
Price when reviewed

For more advanced collaborative workflows and for organisations needing to tie in graphical work to external data sources, whether for creation or approval, Canvas X adds a new Create ActiveX Control tool. This ability to add Excel charts or PowerPoint presentations directly within a file is intriguing, but the real power under the bonnet is the ability to integrate custom controls, so you can create whatever’s needed to produce project-specific solutions. But unless you’re already a skilled developer, it’s unlikely to add much appeal.

ACD Systems Canvas X review

In terms of new creative power, Canvas X adds a 3D Emboss command to apply a raised or sunken appearance to vectors, bitmaps and text, and a new Trim to Path command to create non-rectangular bitmaps – but that’s it. Even these effects aren’t exactly exciting: you can already create masked images with a clipping path, while the 3D Emboss command isn’t likely to see much use, especially as it produces its effect as a bitmap.

This is seriously disappointing. At the end of our review of Canvas 9, we were left hoping the next release would concentrate on boosting the program’s core creative power, but that certainly hasn’t happened. Instead, ACD Systems has added a handful of advanced and esoteric capabilities that only a few users will benefit from, or even notice. In the past, Canvas lost out as an all-rounder, now it’s become too much of a specialist.

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