Corel Draw Office Edition 9

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More of a marketing exercise than a new application at least it provides users with the chance to buy Draw without Photo-Paint if they so wish.

Corel Draw Office Edition

First of all the good news: the heart of Corel's latest attempt to seize the  lucrative Office-based business graphics market is the award-winning A-List  Corel Draw. This program virtually invented the Windows-based drawing market  back in 1989 and has dominated it ever since. During this time it has changed  out of all recognition adding more and more advanced features, such as  transparency handling, bitmap effects and colour-separated print, until now it  is high-end professional design tool.

As such, there can be no complaints about Draw's lack of  power - in fact quite the reverse. In many ways there is too much power for the  intended audience with many features, such as the recent version 9 additions of  gradient meshes, art brushes and prepress PDF control, all of little interest to  the occasional user. Even worse, the slim introductory manual that comes with  the suite doesn't even mention such capabilities so there's little chance of  users finding out that they exist, let alone taking full advantage of them. If  you aren't intended to use a feature you have to wonder why it is there in the first place.At least Corel has made some attempts to customise the Draw program for the intended audience. Draw's new graphing wizard and the highlighted connector tools, for example, are certainly capable of creating impressive organisational charts. The bundling of the dedicated business graphics program, Corel Presentations, is of more debatable value, with most Microsoft users likely to stick with PowerPoint. The bundled templates intended to help users get off to a flying start, however, are frankly embarrassing. The choice is threadbare and the quality inexplicably woeful - especially compared to the selection Corel provides with its budget PrintOffice.

Corel Draw Office Edition Templates

The selection of templates provided is thin and the quality poor.

The Corel Draw Office Edition additions add little then, but sadly the omissions are more serious. Obviously to differentiate the office version from the professional, Corel has to cut some power but, instead of removing the rarely used high-end features, it has simply dropped the Photo-Paint module. In fact the suite does still retain some serious bitmap control, thanks to Draw's support for Photoshop compatible plug-ins. This means that, within the main Draw application itself, you can still apply a number of advanced filters, scan images directly and even create high-end duotones. However all edits are limited to the global so that to be able to paint or retouch a scanned photo, you will have to turn elsewhere.

Clearly the crude decision to drop Photo-Paint was taken to save Corel trouble rather than the end-user and the resulting lack of any dedicated photo-editing power immediately rules out Corel Draw Office Edition as an all-round office solution. However it certainly doesn't render the suite useless. In fact many - if not most - Draw users never actually use the Photo-Paint module any way, preferring to stick with the industry-standard Adobe Photoshop. Corel patently doesn't want to present it as such but, with the Office Edition, these users finally have the option of just paying for the program they want - Corel Draw.

Ease of Use

4

Features

4

Value for Money

5

Overall

4

ratings out of 6

Corel Draw
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System Requirements : Pentium 200 or higher, 64/128Mb of RAM, 300Mb of disk space, Windows 98, ME, 2000 or NT 4.0, SVGA, CD-ROM

Tom Arah

Jan 2000


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