Xara Designer Pro X365 Review

Xara Designer Pro X365
Xara Designer Pro X365 received the SimplytheBest Gold Award
SimplytheBest Gold Award Software Reviews

Xara Designer Pro X365 is the solution for all types of graphic design work, whether it's vector illustrations, DTP, photo composition, Web graphics or Flash animation. Xara Designer Pro achieves faster performance with no program switching, lower memory and computing requirements, an easier learning curve, higher productivity and significantly better value for money. It's the ultimate all-in-one creative software.

It has the world's most sophisticated, highest performance vector rendering engine. For the user this speed means less wait, and a more satisfying working environment. It also means more productivity and the ability to create more complex drawings, in less time. Many graphics packages will keep you waiting a few seconds while objects are drawn on the screen. In a complex document that can mean you waste a significant amount of time. When you create an image it appears instantly on the screen. Speed isn't just restricted to creating and moving objects though - any time you manipulate an object by using one of the Direct Action Tools or the Color Editor, any changes you make also appear instantly.

This release brings new vector-based Art Brushes, offering real time 'painting' of complex vector or bitmap brush designs along an editable freehand vector path. A range of realistic textured brushes are included. In addition there are vector shape processing plug-ins to manipulate vector shapes and lines (third party API to be published later). The Transparency Tool introduces five new W3C standard, web-safe and PDF-safe blend modes. New plugins include a Spiral SmartShape tool.


GENERAL

  • Speed
  • Import and Export
  • PSD Support
  • PDF Support
  • Direct Action Tools
  • Drag and Drop
  • Solid Object Editing
  • Undo / Redo
  • Zoom
  • Anti-Aliasing
  • Color support
  • Text handling
  • Multi-page documents
  • Printing
  • The Designs Gallery
  • Spell Check
  • Templates
  • Page and Layer Gallery
  • Shortcut key configuration
  • PANTONE® color support
  • Color Separation Support
  • PDF/X export
  • XPS Support
  • Multi-core processors

PHOTO

  • Photo Handling Overview
  • File Size
  • Magic unlimited undo
  • Maintaining Photo Quality
  • Integrated Photo Tool
  • Easy photo enhance
  • Crop & Rotate
  • Photo Panoramas
  • Red Eye Removal
  • External Photo Editors
  • Content-Aware Scaling and Zoom
  • RAW photo import
  • Bitmap Tracer
  • Adobe Photoshop® Plug-ins
  • Levels control
  • Magic Photo Erase tool
  • Direct Action Tools
  • EXIF info
  • Perspective Correction
  • Shape Eraser
  • HD Photo import
  • Panorama Studio
  • Shape Builder

ILLUSTRATION

  • Illustration Overview
  • 3D Extrude
  • Drawing tools
  • Transparency
  • Blend tool
  • Soft vectors
  • Shadows
  • Bevels
  • Contours
  • Fills
  • Live effects
  • Molds / Envelopes
  • ClipView
  • Brushes
  • Pressure sensitivity
  • Profiles
  • Opacity masks
  • Line length and area information
  • Live copies

WEB

  • Web Overview
  • Animated Flash Export
  • Flash export (.swf)
  • GIF Animation
  • Dreamweaver integration
  • Hexadecimal RGB web color
  • Image slicing
  • Image maps
  • Exporting and optimizing
  • Linked stretching
  • Web Templates
  • Photo Galleries
  • Free hosting
  • Widget Support
  • HTML Website Creation
  • Navigation bars & menus
  • Stick at Top
  • Parallax Scrolling Effects
  • Pop-Ups and Slideshows
  • Presentations & Webinars

WHAT'S NEW

The popular Font Awesome collection has been updated, and is now supplemented by a collection of Google Material Design Icons making more than 1500 symbols in total.

New Shadow and Highlight Controls - two great new options within the Photo Tool that give you precise control over specific areas of your photo that are in deep shadow or bright light. Simply use the sliders on the InfoBar to lighten/ darken those areas, without affecting the brightness levels of the rest of the photo.

Select & Enhance Colors - a new Color Select option within the Enhance Photo Tool provides a fast and intuitive way to perform any enhance operation - such as a change of brightness, contrast or color - based on a selected color in your image.

Panorama Tool Improvements

PhotoLooks Plug-in - now bundled with all copies of Designer Pro X365.

Bonus Software - MAGIX Online Photo Album free for one year and a free copy of MAGIX Photo Manager.

Auto-Rotate of Photos on Import

32 bit plug-in support

Responsive Web Design - Designer Pro X365 introduces a RWD solution that allows you to create a single file containing variants of your site at different widths, so that you website responds dynamically to the screen size of the viewer, presenting the design most appropriate to their device.

Single Page Supersites - present the whole website as one single, fast scrolling (horizontal or vertical) document using scroll or swipe to navigate.

IMPORT/EXPORT

Xara Designer supports all the common graphics formats, including bitmap types like GIF, JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and PSD, and the import of photos as RAW or the new Photo HD (Designer Pro only). Plus it supports the key vector types like PDF and AI (Adobe Illustrator)/EPS, EMF (extended metafile) and WMF (Windows metafile), SVG (export only);early versions of CorelDRAW CDR and CMX and many others that are not so well known. For text Xara Designer supports RTF (Rich Text Format). You can import and export text in RTF format so it includes style information such as font, font size, color, margins, special and foreign characters (Unicode supported).

PSD SUPPORT

Xara Designer offers full support for importing and exporting Adobe Photoshop® PSD files including layer support (Designer layers are exported as PSD layers and PSD layers are imported as Designer layers), including alpha channel and (in Designer Pro only) 16-bit color and CMYK layer conversion.

PDF SUPPORT

The PDF export tool creates super-clean, very compact PDF files. This includes support for graduated color fills, for flat transparency and graduated transparency. And when you export as PDF everything remains pixel perfect, resolution-independent vector graphics. The PDF exporter has also been designed to allow the files to be opened by Adobe Illustrator®, so providing significantly improved Illustrator compatibility which means that vector artwork including graduated color and transparency can now be imported cleanly into Illustrator versions 9 onwards. Xara Designer also offers reliable PDF import.

DIRECT ACTION TOOLS

The Direct Action Tools allow you to create effects such as transparency, bevels or gradient fills by selecting the tool then dragging over the image itself to affect the required change. For example you can drag across an object to apply a graduated color (in the fill tool) or transparency (in the transparency tool), or drag on a shadow to position it (in the shadow tool), or drag on an object to rotate it in 3D (in the 3D extrude tool). Direct Action Tools include the Bevel, Shadow, Transparency, Fill, Contour, 3D Extrude and Blend tools.

DRAG AND DROP

Many tasks in Xara Designer benefit from being able to use the drag and drop principle, which is more intuitive and a great time saver. For example, when changing the color of an object, you can just drag a color from the Color Line and drop it onto the object, or its outline. And with color gradients, you can drop colors along the gradient path and make multi-color fills. Drag and drop also comes into play when using the galleries. You can place any gallery item on a page simply by drag and drop. Designer also supports drag and drop import of files, such as photos.

SOLID OBJECT EDITING

Xara Designer offers one of the world's first live solid dragging, scaling and rotating of objects, for the ultimate in WYSIWYG editing. That means that as you reposition, resize or rotate an object the whole object moves, rather than just an outline, making it far easier to judge the effect of your edits in real time. You see a solid line or quickshape as you draw it, complete with line and fill colors and other attributes, not just an outline. Completely WYSIWYG drawing.

ZOOM

The Zoom Tool allows you to alter the magnification of the current document, giving you a closer, or more distant view. You can zoom to the whole page, so you see the complete document, you can zoom to the drawing, which magnifies just the drawn image as opposed to the whole page, or you can select an object and then zoom to that selection. Another method is to zoom to a particular area by clicking and dragging the tool over the area. The Zoom Tool is capable of zooming in to 25,601% - that's over 25,000 dpi (dots per inch).

ANTI-ALIASING

Xara introduced the world's first vector anti-aliasing to bring maximum screen quality. It still pioneers with the fastest, highest quality anti-aliasing available in any drawing program. Anti-aliasing improves the quality of on-screen images by smoothing the edges of objects. This has the effect of smoothing lines and edges and of appearing to improve the resolution of the display. Anti-aliasing is particularly useful for web graphics. It works in real-time so you can see the effect straight away. You can use anti-aliasing when working with vector and bitmap images.

COLOR SUPPORT

Xara Designer has a comprehensive color system which enables you to alter the colors of objects directly or create your own colors, with names, which you can apply to multiple objects. With Xara Designer unique Linked Colors feature, it is very easy to create a drawing containing many shades of a color and with one alteration, immediately change the color of the whole picture. Simply pick a new master theme color and all linked shades and tones adjust automatically. You can work in CMYK, RGB, HSV, greyscale or Hexadecimal RGB web color mode.

Xara Designer Pro X365 includes PANTONE® color libraries for use as both spot color and PANTONE® process color equivalents.

 

WEB SITE CREATION

Xara Designer Pro X365 includes a complete website creation feature that enables you to design multi-page websites with ease, including mouseover and pop-up effects, navbars and menus, animations and widgets. With one click objects can be stuck to any given place in the browser window while the content scrolls under. This is very useful for 'sticky' social icons or a permanent navigation bar across the top of the screen. Website designs with no obvious page boundary are now very popular so Xara makes it easy to stretch rectangle backgrounds and photos to fill the browser width. One click preview and FTP upload included. It's an advanced WYSIWYG web page creator with a hi-fidelity page representation. Resulting Web sites are W3C compliant, cross browser compatible (IE 6+, Firefox, Safari, Chrome) and XHTML, CSS standards based. Automatic object positioning & smart page resizing, MP3 player, Chart & QR Code widgets, presentations, graphical bullet & number lists, embedded fonts, re-sizeable JavaScript widgets, pop-up layer with 'click to close' option, in document pop-up link checker, optimize all images, character based languages, and much more.

NEW: New web animation tools make it supereasy to make objects animate (in a variety of styles) on mouseover, click and even when an object first comes into view. This 'reveal' animation takes advantage of HTML5 animation features. You'll find 30 'scrolling animations' in the Reveal tab of the web animation dialog, which link an animation to the position of the scroll bar. Users can now use any font on their computer and Designer Pro X365 will automatically create a WOFF font that is compatible with all modern browsers. This is in addition to the integrated Google Font picker that provides nearly 700 fonts.

Single Page Supersites - present the whole website as one single, fast scrolling (horizontal or vertical) document using scroll or swipe to navigate. An amazingly quick and easy way to create and edit some of the most commonly required shapes for example speech bubbles, fancy arrows and text panels is now available with Smart Shapes. 166 brand new contemporary General Website Themes with up to 16 page layouts, all including new mobile variants.

Online File Syncing in the Cloud - Xara Designer Pro X365 has the ability to sync files via Dropbox and Google Drive (OneDrive coming soon). So if a user has the same file open on multiple computers (or shared with other users), saved edits will be automatically updated on the other computers with that file open.

Fully integrated access to a free library of over 500,000 quality royalty-free stock photos and over 59,000 vector illustrations. Regular updates to the templates as part of the Update Service.

Update Service

The Update Service gives you 365 days access to:


CONCLUSION

SimplytheBest Gold AwardXara Designer Pro X365 is ideal for any type of designing, drawing, photo editing, or Web site creating job. We have tried all the functionalities and found them to be easy to use, and easy to learn. It handles all the functions of editing vector graphics extremely well. The Web site creation feature is astonishing. Xara Designer Pro X365 is definitely worthy of our SimplytheBest Gold Award.


 

For more information, online demos or to order:

Visit the Xara Designer Pro X365 Web site