All-in-one design powerhouse | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

All-in-one design powerhouse

This powerful design software includes standard vector illustration features, along with a bevy of supplementary features and apps, including screen capture, photo retouching, font managing, and even bar-code creation

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is an impressive collection of powerful design software that can tackle all sorts of design jobs. Included in the package are: CorelDRAW, the main application for vector design and layout; Corel PHOTO-PAINT, for editing and retouching photos, Corel CAPTURE, for screengrabs; ConceptShare, a collaboration service; and the Bitstream Font Navigator. There are also a bevy of smaller utilities such as a bar-code wizard and an app for helping users optimize two-sided printouts.

With a suite that includes that many programs and features, it's essential to have solid in-program help, and CorelDRAW is loaded with dynamic hints, video product tours, and hands-on project tutorials that will have you designing elements in no time. Expert advice from professional designers walks users through specific practices such as airbrushing logos and creating textile patterns.

The templates for professionals are diverse and presented in a nifty interface that provides all sorts of useful information. You can sort templates by type--such as brochures, posters/signs, business cards, and newsletters--or by industry, although that list was empty except for "Landscaping." The interface also includes a space for accessing your own saved CDT templates, which can be created easily through the File menu.

Whether the CorelDRAW package is worth its price tag is up to each individual consumer, but a full-featured 15-day trial should give users plenty of time to get acquainted with the application. It's necessary to register for a free Corel account to use the trial, and each program requires you to click a "Continue Trial" button before launching, but those small annoyances aren't enough to prevent this bountiful design suite from earning a top rating.

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