Graphic design helper

Design Web sites, animation and images using this single program.

Xara Xtreme Pro offers various design possibilities in one compact program. While novices should be wary of its complexity, Web designers, animators and illustrators will find something to like.

The program's interface is a complex spread of tiny, unfamiliar icons. Fortunately, there are several tutorial texts and even a few videos to better familiarize users with its many features. The overwhelming impression we got from its tools was that Xara Xtreme is not for beginners. While it takes great pains to teach users about its various elements, there's no hand-holding. It takes a lot of effort and thought to produce professional-looking designs. That said, Xara Xtreme offers just about every tool imaginable for creating a Web page from scratch and posting it online. The animation options are a little less inviting since its commands aren't as extensive, but it still offers several tools and framing options. The drawing option feels like Microsoft Paint; anyone could use it. The program comes with a bevy of special features, though our favorite was its Web design templates, which make the complicated process of creating attractive Web sites a little smoother for inexperienced designers. Overall, Xara Xtreme is a great choice for those who need a comprehensive design package. Those who need things spelled out for them should find a program more suited to beginners.

Xara Xtreme has a 30-day trial. It installs desktop icons without permission. This program is a liberating tool for design pros, and we recommend it.

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