Corel packs new features into CorelDraw 9

New features in the latest version of the CorelDraw Graphics Suite gives artists and designers even more control over their creations, according to Ottawa-based Corel Corp.

The CorelDraw 9 Graphics Suite — which also comes with Corel Photo-Paint 9, CorelTrace, CorelTexture, CorelCapture, Bitstream FontNavigator and Canto Cumulus Desktop — also gives users greater control over the production process, said Denise Zutrauen, brand manager for CorelDraw in Ottawa.

That’s because both CorelDraw and PhotoPaint now give users the ability to publish to PDF. “We had a team that essentially created a distiller-like engine written exactly to the PDF specs that Adobe issues,” Zutrauen said.

“Using PDF, [users] can create their soft proof, and send that down to pre-press or do their checking using a soft proof either on-screen or transmitting it over to the pre-press centre that’s going to output their files.”

The PDF engine also includes job ticketing. PDF files sent out of house can come with special instructions – something that was not possible in CorelDraw 8, Zutrauen said. Both CorelDraw and PhotoPaint also feature enhanced EPS and PSD file format support, more colour palettes and the ability to see more than one colour palette at the same time, embedded ICC profiles and support for Microsoft Corp.’s Visual Basic for Applications 6.0.

“Where we see the main value [of VBA 6.0] is for system integrators or system developers to take our product and create customizable solutions around whatever existing workflow they may have,” Zutrauen said.

PhotoPaint 9 features support for QuickTime 3.0 VR, “for creating neat panoramas that you can display on the Web,” Zutrauen said.

New features specific to CorelDraw 9 include so-called “preflight warnings” that gives uses feedback or suggestions about print jobs, enhanced imposition layout and the addition of docker windows to simplify the user interface, including Link Manager Docker window, which gives users a listing of URLs and externally-linked bitmap images.

CorelDraw also boasts several artistic enhancements, including mesh fills, an artistic media tool for adding effects to line segments, a new erase nib shape and the ability to do perspective drop-shadowing.

The latter has been particularly useful to Hal Eisenberg, a New York-based graphic designer who uses CorelDraw 9 and PhotoPaint 9 in a PC environment. “To me, one of the greatest tools is the interactive drop shadow, where you simply select the object, then run the interactive drop shadow tool right over the object…and you can have the drop shadow come from an edge, or have it reversed, or have it right in the centre.”

Eisenberg also likes the PDF engine and the preflight indicator feature. “I found [the preflight] invaluable, because so often I print for proof to an Epson printer, and the Epson printer wants to have at least a half or three quarters of an inch on the lagging edge, and if I’ve selected the printer beforehand…it shows me what the problems are and how to adjust them.”

Mario Lacroix, a political cartoonist in Chicoutimi, Que., started using CorelDraw to help him draw cartoons for the daily newspaper Le Quotidien. Lacroix uses a combination of versions 8 and 4, the latter because it includes animation capability. Though he’s tried competing software and said he prefers CorelDraw, he isn’t planning to upgrade to CorelDraw 9.

“CorelDraw is so big,” Lacroix said. “I don’t have the time to go through every part of the software. There’s a lot of things (about it) I don’t know yet…there’s a lot of things to learn.”

CorelDraw 9 Graphics Suite ( is now available. Current users of CorelDraw, as well as users of other Corel products and select CorelDraw competitors, are eligible for the upgrade price of $299. New copies sell for $949.

Corel recommends users have at least a Pentium 133MHz PC running Windows 9x or NT 4.0, 100MB of free hard drive space, 32MB of RAM, a 4x CD-ROM drive, and an SVGA monitor.

Corel Corp. in Ottawa is at (800) 772-6735.