Applications: graphics & 3D design, Web publishing and photo-editing
Corel Draw 7 is the latest incarnation of the popular Corel Draw series. This new version is a feature catch-up and includes several innovations that make the product easier to use than previous releases.
Aimed at the designer or high-end power user, the suite consists of three tightly integrated packages: Draw (vector- based), Photo Paint (image-processing) and Dream 3D (rendering), as well as other utilities, such as the multimedia manager, OCR Trace, Texture and colour scan. It also includes 32,000 clip-art images, 1,000 Truetype and Type 1 fonts, 1,000 photos and 250 3D models.
Corel Draw 7 is easier to use and faster than Draw 6, which should appeal to users who want more functionality than is offered by lower-end products.
In addition, integrated Web publishing makes Draw 7 ideal for creating Web documents. Businesses can use this package for creating company home pages, posters or in-house newsletters.
The main improvement in Draw 7 is the addition of a property bar. This interactive bar displays options and settings that are context-sensitive to the object selected. For example, when drawing a box, the property bar displays options for the curve on corners, positioning, scaling and other details. If you click on a bitmap, the bar offers options such as re-sampling and editing, as well as colour adjust- ment which alters the hue, saturation, and brightness. With this bar, all the options are at your fingertips, so there is no need to search laboriously through menus.
In the same way, there are plenty of hints which provide context-sensitive help. For instance, clicking on a bitmap brings up a help menu, which explains how to move an image or adjust its size. In fact, Corel has created a sup- erb environment in which to learn while you work. Beginners can quickly create images without hours of tutorials.
However, existing users will not be disappointed by the depth and breadth of the package. In particular, Kodak Digital Science is integrated into the colour management system to ensure accurate colour representation during scanning, display and printing.
Corel is keen to integrate its products into the Web, and Draw is no exception. URL toolbars assist throughout, and with Barista ? Corel?s own Web-publishing technology ? image maps can be created easily in HTML.
Although the size of the typical installation, at about 200Mb, would suggest the package might be sluggish, Draw 7 was surprisingly fast in tests.
That said, photo-editing and manipulation through Photo Paint will need more than the typical 16Mb of RAM. Draw 7 includes the new MMX code, and is also available for the Mac.
Verdict: Corel Draw 7 may be overkill for many users, but comprehensive resources and advanced easy-to-use functionality make it essential for any business ? from small companies with no design experience to medium-size and large companies, which will appreciate its range of features.
Contact: Corel on 0800 581028
Price: #495; upgrade from any graphics package is #175; Mac v6 is #399, with an upgrade available for #99
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