CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor developed and marketed by Corel Corporation of Ottawa, Canada. It is also the name of Corel's Graphics Suite. Its latest version, named X4 (actually version 14), was released in January 2008.
CorelDRAW was originally developed for Microsoft Windows and currently runs on Windows XP
and Windows Vista
. The current version is X4 released (ver. 188.8.131.527) on 22nd of January, 2008.
Versions for Mac OS and Mac OS X were at one time available, but due to poor sales these are now discontinued. The last port for Linux was version 9 (released in 2000, it didn't run natively, instead it used a modified version of Wine to run) and the last version for OS X was version 11 (released in 2001). Also, up until version 5, CorelDRAW was developed for Windows 3.1x and OS/2.
In 1985, Dr. Michael Cowpland
founded Corel to sell Intel-based desktop publishing
In 1987, Corel hired software engineers Michel Bouillon and Pat Beirne to develop a vector-based illustration program to bundle with these desktop publishing systems. That program, CorelDRAW, was initially released in 1989. The program was well received, and Corel soon focused on software alone.
CorelDRAW 1.x and 2.x runs under Windows 2.x and 3.0. CorelDRAW 3.0 came into its own with Microsoft's release of Windows 3.1. The inclusion of TrueType in Windows 3.1 transformed CorelDRAW into a serious illustration program capable of using system-installed outline fonts without requiring third party software such as Adobe Type Manager and also was the first all-in-one Graphics Suite, which combined a vector graphics software with a photo editing program (PhotoPaint), a font manager and several other pieces of software included with each version.
Several innovations to vector-based illustration originated with CorelDRAW: a node-edit tool that operates differently on different objects, fit text-to-path, stroke-before-fill, quick fill/stroke
color selection palettes, perspective projections, mesh fills and complex gradient fills.
CorelDRAW differentiates itself from its competitors in a number of ways:
The first is its positioning as a graphics suite, rather than just a vector graphics program. A full range of editing tools allow the user to adjust contrast, color balance, change the format from RGB to CMYK, add special effects such as vignettes and special borders to bitmaps. Bitmaps can also be edited more extensively using Corel PhotoPaint, opening the bitmap directly from CorelDRAW and returning to the program after saving. It also allows a laser to cut out any drawings.
CorelDRAW's capability to handle multiple pages from within the main program provides a major benefit compared to Adobe Illustator (up to CS3). Multipage documents are easy to create and edit and the Corel print engine allows for booklet and other imposition so even simple printers can be used for producing finished documents. One of the useful features for single and multi-page ducuments is the abilty to create linked text boxes across documents that can be resized and moved while the text itseld resets and flows through the boxes. Useful for creating and editing multi-article newsletters etc.
Smaller items, like business cards, invitations etc, can be designed to their final page size and imposed to the printer's sheet size for cost-effective printing. An additional print-merge feature (using a spreadsheet or text merge file) allows full personalisation for many things like numbered raffle tickets, individual invitations, membership cards and more. A bit like microsoft publisher but a lot more flexible and user friendly.
CorelDRAW's competitors include Adobe Illustrator and Xara Xtreme. Although all of these are vector-based illustration programs, the user experience differs greatly between them. For instance, CorelDRAW and Xara Xtreme can work with multi-page documents directly; Illustrator only offers a single-page layout view, but it will allow you to divide that large layout in the print options so that it prints on multiple pages. While these programs will read their native file types and vice versa, the translation is almost never perfect. CorelDRAW can open Adobe PDF files: Adobe PageMaker and InDesign, Microsoft Publisher and Word, and other programs can print documents to PDF using the Adobe PDFWriter printer driver, which CorelDRAW can then open and edit every aspect of the original layout and design. CorelDRAW can also open PowerPoint Presentations and other Microsoft Office formats with little or no problem.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite
Over time, additional components were developed or acquired and bundled with CorelDRAW. The list of bundled packages usually changes somewhat from one release to the next. There are several mainstays that have remained in the package for many releases now, however: PowerTRACE (a bitmap to vector graphic converter), PHOTO-PAINT
(a bitmap graphic editor), and CAPTURE (a screen capture utility).
The current version of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, X4 (actually version 14), contains the following packages:
- CorelDRAW: Vector graphics editing software
- Corel PHOTO-PAINT: Raster image creation and editing software
- Corel CAPTURE: Enables several methods of image-capture
- Corel PowerTRACE: Converts raster images to vector graphics (available inside the CorelDraw program).
Features by version
- Ver. 2 (1991): Envelope tool (for distorting text or objects using a primary shape), Blend (for morphing shapes), Extrusion (for simulating perspective and volume in objects) and Perspective (to distort objects along X and Y axes).
- Ver. 3 (1992): Included Corel PHOTO-PAINT* (for bitmap editing), CorelSHOW (for creating on-screen presentations, CorelCHART (for graphic charts), Mosaic and CorelTRACE (for vectorizing bitmaps). The inclusion of this software was the precedent for the actual graphic suites.
- Ver. 4 (1993): Included Corel PHOTO-PAINT* (for bitmap editing), CorelSHOW (for creating on-screen presentations, CorelCHART (for graphic charts), CorelMOVE for animation, Mosaic and CorelTRACE (for vectorizing bitmaps). The inclusion of this software was the precedent for the actual graphic suites.
- Ver. 5 (1994): This is the last version which was made for, and works on Windows 3.x. Corel Ventura was included in the suite (and then sold as a separate program). It was a desktop publishing application akin to PageMaker, Quark Express, or InDesign.
- Ver. 6 (1995): This is the first version which was made exclusively for 32-bit Windows. New features were customizable interface, Polygon, Spiral, Knife and Eraser tools. Corel Memo, Corel Presents, Corel Motion 3D, Corel Depth, Corel Multimedia Manager, Corel Font Master and Corel DREAM (for 3D modelling) were included in the suite.
- Ver. 7 (1997): Context-sensitive Property bar, Print Preview with Zoom and Pan options, Scrapbook (for viewing a drag-and-dropping graphic objects), Publish to HTML option, Draft and Enhanced display options, Interactive Fill and Blend tools, Transparency tools, Natural Pen tool, Find & Replace wizard, Convert Vector to Bitmap option (inside Draw), Spell checker, Thesaurus and Grammar checker. The suite included Corel Scan and Corel Barista (a Java-based document exchange format).
- Ver. 8 (1998): Digger selection, Docker windows, Interactive Distortion, 3D, Envelope and tools, Realistic Dropshadow tool, interactive color mixing, color palette editor, guidelines as objects, custome-sized pages, duotone support. Corel Versions was included in the suite.
- Ver. 9 (1999): Mesh fill tool (for complex color filling), Artistic Media tool, Publish to PDF features, embedded ICC color profiles, Multiple On-screen Color Palettes and Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications 6 support. The suite included Canto Cumulus LE, a piece of software for media management.
- Ver. 10 (2000): CorelR.A.V.E. (for vector animation), Perfect Shapes, Web graphics tools (for creating interactive elements such as buttons), Page sorter, multilingual document support, navigator window.
- Ver. 11 (2002): Symbols library, image slicing (for web design), pressure-sensitive vector brushes, 3-point drawing tools.
- Ver. 12 (2003): Dynamic guides, Smart Drawing tools, Export to MS Office or Word option, Virtual Segment Delete tool, Unicode text support.
- Ver. X3 (2006): Double click Crop tool (the first vector software able to crop groups of vectors and bitmap images at the same time), Smart fill tool, Chamfer/Fillet/Scallop/Emboss tool, Image Adjustment Lab. Trace became integrated inside Draw under the name PowerTRACE.
- Ver. X4 (2008): Whatthefont font identification service linked inside CorelDraw, ConceptShare, Table tool, independent page layers, live text formatting, support for RAW camera files.
Read / Write between the versions
...read files ...write files CorelDRAW was
CorelDRAW saved in the in the native designed for
version X native format format for use with
can... of version X version X Windows X
--------- --------------- --------------- --------------
1 1 1 2.1 (1.2 also for Win30)
2 1,2 1,2 3.0
3 1,2,3 2,3 3.0, 3.1 (preferred)
4 1,2,3,4 3,4 3.1
5 1,2,3,4,5 3,4,5 3.1
6 3,4,5,6 5,6 95
7 3,4,5,6,7 5,6,7 95, NT4.0
8 3,4,5,6,7,8 6,7,8 95, NT4.0
9 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 5,6,7,8,9 95, 98, NT4.0
14 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 XP, Vista
- The software mascot was originally a moustached man with a hat called Waldo. "Waldo" was the code name for the first version.
- The first versions of CorelDRAW included its own proprietary fonts, which had the extension .wfn (Waldo fonts).
- CorelDRAW can actually be used to create TrueType fonts since at least version 4, although the creating of kerning pairs still cannot be adjusted inside the program. Later CorelDraw versions can export also PostScript and OpenType fonts.
- In 1998, a vector illustration of Hedy Lamarr's face was used by Corel Corporation on the packaging and in the publicity for its CorelDRAW 8 software. Lamarr sued Corel for damages relating to unauthorized use of her likeness. The case was resolved in 1999 and settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, under terms that allowed Corel five years of exclusive rights to the image.
- South Park characters, scenery, and props are drawn using CorelDRAW.
Notes and references