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Product: Corel Draw X3 Graphics Suite (Version 13)
Company: Corel
$399.00 Upgrade: $179
Review By: Andre Da Costa

While the Macintosh had Adobe Illustrator, Windows had no similar tool since it was still a budding operating system trying to find its own footing. Draw was one of the first major applications to be developed for Windows; in fact, it was one of the first major graphics packages to target the platform. Over the years Draw has continuously maintained a steady roster of releases with a few stints even on the Macintosh, now at version 13 Draw is about maintaining a strong set of tools that target users who don’t want all the power and integration that Adobe offers, but more of a mature set of solutions for anybody who wants to learn and produce quickly.

  • Corel PHOTO-PAINT X3– This professional image-editing application lets users quickly and easily retouch and enhance photos. It is specifically designed for use in a graphic design workflow and supports professional color separations and output.
  • Pixmantec RawShooter essentials– This raw workflow tool provides high-quality output and fast conversion times
  • Corel CAPTURE X3– This one-click utility enables users capture images from their computer screen.
  • More than 10,000 individually selected quality clipart and digital images; 1,000 OpenType fonts, plus 100 creative templates; printed User Guide; and training videos by
  • CorelDRAW X3– Now including Corel PowerTRACE, this intuitive graphic design, page layout, illustration, and tracing application meets the demands of today’s busy design professionals and business users.

In this review, I will be looking at Corel Draw X3 (version 13), which feature improvements numerous improvements:

  • Crop tool for removing unwanted areas from vector objects and bitmaps.

  • Curved objects can now be shaped much easier.

  • The freehand marquee selection mode allows you to select multiple nodes in complex curves.

  • Improved control handles make it easier in selecting and editing nodes, line segments can be moved easily.

  • Objects can be shaped by filleting, scalloping, or chamfering their corners.

  • Automatically create a path around selected objects to create a boundary.

  • You can now trace (vectorize) bitmaps, such as photos, or scanned images and drawings directly in Draw then convert them into editable and scalable vector graphics.

  • Bevel effects let you add three-dimensional depth to graphic and text objects.

  • Smart fill tool lets you apply fills to areas created by overlapping objects

  • And many more...

Draw 13 is not a major stand out for Corel when it comes to changes to the user interface; the focus is primarily on refining existing features and adding subtle changes that improve the user experience. The great thing about Draw is, it’s easy to learn, this has created a strong loyal customer base over the years, I personally have been using the product since version 7 and I have embraced its easy approach to creating professional content that in some ways rivals Adobe’s Illustrator.


Installation was a breeze and required little user action, just enter the product key, accept the End User License Agreement and leave the rest to the software. The suite took less than 8 minutes to install on my Dell 8300 Dimension, 3.2 GHz P4, 2 GBs of RAM, nVidia Geforce FX 5200 128 MBs of vRAM. CorelDraw, the flagship drawing application, plus Corel Photo-Paint X3 for image editing; Corel PowerTrace X3, a bitmap-to-raster converter; Corel Capture X3, a screen-capture utility; BitStream Font Navigator; and Pixmantec RawShooter essentials, a RAW format converter for digital photographers. Three content CDs are included in the suite with more than 10,000 images and clip art; 1,000 OpenType fonts; 35 Windows Glyph List 4 fonts; and 100 templates. The CDs also contain tutorials and training videos.

Interface & Draw Features

Again, not much has changed, the consistent look that users of the product have known remains the same, I personally like how it’s not as cluttered or overwhelmingly heavy as its rival. Corel Draw combines elements and functionality of traditional illustration and desktop publishing packages, so users of both products will appreciate and easily adapt to the program tools easily. For new users, the Hints window features context sensitive guides that help you along the way as you work, its a friendly convenience for users who are not so verse in program. For power users this might be a bit too much, but can be easily turned off. The interface tries to be non intrusive and displays intelligent palletes called Dockers that can be easily docked on the side.

 The Docker allows you to create multiple instances of an object, with the ability to change its horizontal and vertical offset. Dockers are an efficient way of managing palettes, still the disadvantage is clearly apparent through the lack of real-time preview of effects, this results in the user having to click Apply to see changes, which cumbersome if you are applying repeat changes.

Users can appreciate help with task such as fitting text on a path, shape or curve which is now made easy.  The New Smart Fill tool intelligently fills a specific region with a chosen color even when the reigion is intersected between over lapping objects. Common features associated with page layout include the ability to add Drop caps, bullets and multiple columns. The tracing feature is much improved, users will appreciate that its now built into the program, although its a bit unstable at times I was able to achieve great results.

Corel Draw X3 features a much improved bitmap-to-vector conversion tool, which now competes directly with Adobe’s Illustrator. Other missing features make a welcome appearance finally Draw has a basic bevel tool! Advanced users will also welcome the improved Fillet, Scalpel and Chamfer tool that rounds and adjusts corners. Draw X3 does an excellent job at differentiating itself from the other powerful players on the market in areas such as vector editing and cropping. Crop tool works as you would expect it to, dragging it across a portion a vector image simply removes the section outside that boundary. Smart Fill is another great addition; this feature applies colour fills directly to overlapping areas of objects. Draw X3 automatically detects the edges and creates a closed path so that it treats the overlap as a single object.

Corel Draw X3 features strong integration with the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Well known Acrobat features include the ability to preserve transparency, spot colours; add security protection to exported PDFs, restrictions on who can who can open and print a document. Spot colours are retained when printing and exchanging files with popular Adobe applications which this should make Designers who work with a mix of products in one environment.

Corel Photo-Paint X3 

Both Draw and Photo-Paint have greatly improved the way they work with text these include enhancements  to including better handling of text on paths and the ability to add formatting code, such as a non-breaking space, to text. The Paragraph Formatting Dock supports aligning and adding drop-caps to text while the Character Formatting tool, lets you kern and add character effects, such as uppercase and underline.

Photo-Paint X3 features an improved Cut out Lab making it easier to extract objects from backgrounds by drawing around borders with a highlighter tool, in comparison to Adobe Photoshop’s Extract command it was not as powerful but still remained satisfactory. The Image Adjustment Lab main window provides a single place to correct colour and tone. You can create snapshots of adjustments and store them as thumbnails at the bottom of the window, then switch between them for comparison purposes.

Corel PowerTrace X3 

A new feature in this release is the PowerTrace X3 converter, which succeeds Corel Trace from version 12.0 of the Corel Draw Graphics Suite, is integrated in CorelDraw application. It's fast, customisable and capable of producing better results than its predecessor. From the Trace Bitmap menu option you can choose a variety of conversion options, from a low-accuracy quick scan to a high-quality image if the original material meets the bar. When the bitmap is traced, the application produces a colour palette for the resulting vector illustration. In the end PowerTrace makes it easy to reduce the number of colours in the palette or change those colours, which makes it a powerful feature for producing dramatic vector images simple bitmaps.  Scanning and converting a high-res image took only a few seconds on my Dell 8300, which produced output that lost nothing of the original's detail.

Final Comments

How It Grades

Installation: 90%
Features: 89%
Ease of Use: 95%
Options/Design: 89%
Price/Value: 90%
Documentation: 85%
Overall: 95%

Corel Graphics Suite X3 is pretty much amazing and powerful for its price which could fool most users into thinking there is some catch to it. But based on my testing and my experiences with the suite over years, Corel continues to add value and improve the programs ease of use and productivity with professional results. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get into graphic design and publishing on small budget. Aside from Capture X3 out dated screen-capture utility, the inclusion of Pixmantec RawShooter Essentials, which imports and processes RAW images makes up for that but could be better integrated with rest of Graphics Suite. Although Adobe’s Suite of products remain industry standards, Corel still stands out for those who don’t want all the power or don’t have the time/money and would like to take a shortcut to producing great results.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 95%
Version Reviewed Corel Draw Graphics Suite X3
Release Date Out Now
The Good Points Lots of Clip-Art
Strong improvements to Tracing Tool
Non-Intrusive Interface
Smart Fill Tool
Strong PDF Support
Easy to Learn
Vista Certified
The Bad Points Photo-Paint Needs More Features
Capture Outdated
RAW Support needs to be more integrated with the suite
Quick Trace sometimes ignored large portions of images
In The Box
3 CDs
Similar Product Adobe Illustrator
System Requirements
  • Windows 2000/XP/XP Tablet PC

  • Pentium III, 600 MHz processor

  • 256 MB of RAM

  • 1024 x 768 or better monitor resolution

  • 200 MB of hard disk space

  • CD-ROM drive



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