CorelDRAW Home & Student Suite X8
• Easy for beginners to use
• Effective vector tools
• Easy-to-use photo editing
• Customizable workspace
• Lack of more advanced features
The easy-to-use CorelDRAW package bundles together effective, all-in-one software to create reports, logos, photo projects, posters, and more. It’s a solid package with much to recommend, whether you are a complete beginner or more experienced. The ability to customize your workspace is particularly interesting and useful.
CorelDRAW Home & Student X8 is a more budget-friendly version of the commercial offering, though no less useful. It’s a complete graphic and photo design suite with features for illustration, photo editing, page layout, and graphics. We looked closely at what you get when you purchase the Corel design solution.
CorelDRAW has an impressive roster of photo editing features, although not as many as the Xara package. The tools include the ability to remove images from the background, remove unwanted areas without distorting the perspective, retouch and adjust images, and straighten images. New camera effects for the latest version include sepia, Time Machine, Bokeh, and Colorize.
Image editing tools such as the Smooth tool also help to achieve interesting and effective final results. Smooth simplifies vector shapes using brush strokes, and is used in combination with other brush tools to edit vector shapes.
In addition, the software includes a quite substantial collection of free images and art – 1,300 clipart images, 100 hi-res, royalty-free photos, 100 fills, 125 fonts, 100-plus templates for design projects, and 75 photo frames. Not as many as with the commercial version, but still enough to give you ideas and solve some design problems.
CorelDRAW allows you to set up documents ready for printing to your desktop printer, with a variety of paper sizes and projects ready set as templates. There is a lack of compatibility with color management for professional printing, however, as this is the home and student version of the package and not the version for commercial use.
It’s quick and easy to turn bitmap images like photos into vector objects with the PowerTRACE tool, which automates the process and makes it more manageable, even for complex images. Once you have a vector object, position it precisely on the page with improved layout features and an alignment guide, plus outline position options. The Object Coordinates docker – the tool bar for drawing and editing – is the place for specifying the attributes of the object and its position.
The fills feature is comprehensive, with vector patterns, fountain, and bitmap pattern fills easily controllable and creative. Brushes are easy to use and creative, too, and you can make easy adjustments to the transparency and feathering. The Liquid tools are interesting – Twirl, Repel, Smear, and Attract are all useful for adding special effects to designs.
Importing & exporting
CorelDRAW Home & Student Suite is compatible with a range of modern file formats for import and export, including PDF. Common files formats include PSD, JPG, PNG, SVG, TIFF, DOCX, PPT and RAW files. There’s a preview setting where you can see the final output in various file types.
Ease of use
CorelDRAW works well for people that like customization options and there are two set workspaces – Lite and Default – that you can choose from to make it easier to work with images and files. Lite is designed for beginners, with Default being the setting for more experienced users. In addition, you can further organize how the elements appear in your workspace, and how big they are, which is great for creating a personalized layout that really works for you.
The software is ideal for using on multiple screens as multi-display support is included. And the images and interface show up crisp and clear on high DPI displays. In all, Corel makes it easy to design – this is a simply laid out package and an effective use of the interface to make life easier for you.
Help & support
The Quick Start Guide is excellent for beginners and helps when you want to make efficient inroads into a new project. There are plenty of learning tools included in the package, such as webinars, hours of video tutorials, expert insight features, case studies, and even lesson plans for students and teachers. Support options are also good - start an online chat, email a support ticket, or call to get help with technical issues or installation.
CorelDRAW Home & Student Suite X8 is an excellent, all-in-one product for graphic design which is particularly suited to beginners, and people wanting a quick solution to design and drawing needs.
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