Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 7 review

A solid list of improvements to an already outstanding program that combines illustration, DTP, image editing and animation in a friendly interface

21 Jun 2011
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
69
inc VAT

Specifications

Photo & Graphic Designer is an illustration package in the same vein as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, where graphics are created using vector coordinates rather than bitmaps. This means that shapes are easy to edit, and that they scale up and down without degrading quality – just the thing for a range of graphic-design tasks including logos, technical diagrams and web graphics.

This package differs from Illustrator and CorelDraw in a number of ways. It's much cheaper, although Xara Designer Pro 7 (£249 inc VAT) makes for a fairer comparison as it's better equipped for commercial printing jobs. It's also much quicker to get to grips with, thanks to a streamlined set of tools and incredibly quick screen redraws, constantly updating as settings are adjusted rather than only after the mouse button is released.

It also differs in the extent to which it branches out from its core vector graphics features. Because Xara doesn't produce as wide a range of creative software as Adobe and Corel, it can afford to pack more in here without the risk of treading on its siblings' toes.

Xara text repel

Text handling is up to the demands of DTP tasks

Its text handling is good enough for desktop publishing (DTP) duties, with the ability to flow text across multiple boxes on different pages and around graphics. Version 7 is better than ever in this respect, with the ability to set separate horizontal and vertical borders between graphics and text. It's now possible to anchor graphics to a specific line or word within the text so it keeps its relative position as the text is edited or reformatted.

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