Corel Draw

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Corel Draw X7.

Corel Draw, stylized as "CorelDRAW," is a vector graphics editor developed by the Corel Corporation for Windows. It was originally designed as a simple graphics creator for a desktop publishing program sold by Corel and first released in January of 1989 for Windows 2, but it quickly became a full-fledged graphics editor. The program has received routine updates for the past 30 years making it one of the more sophisticated vector editors. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, it was the premier graphics editor for Windows, but it has since been overtaken by Adobe Illustrator.

I first used Corel Draw on my uncle's computer in the early 1990s. He had acquired version 3 which could run on Windows 3 and had all sorts of features and the raster editor Corel Photo-Paint. He would later upgrade to version 5. I watched him use the program to create flyers for his church and occasionally used it myself, but, at the time I didn't have much interest in graphic art, so I rarely used it. In high school, my computer teacher allowed me to buy a copy of version 7 at the school's discounted rate. This was the first version where I actually spent a lot of time playing with it, and I used it at my first software development job to make icons, logos, and various other graphics for my programs. I later used versions 8, 10, 12, X3, X5, and X7. I generally skip a version or two before upgrading in order to make the new features worth my while. I still use the program frequently for graphic creation at work and home.

Over all, I find Corel Draw to be a very useful program, and, since I've grown up using it, I'm far more comfortable with it than any other vector art program. However, I do have to admit that it is inferior to Adobe Illustrator.


I own an older version of Corel Draw and have been using it since the early 1990s.



  • The program features a vast array of features and capabilities, so many, in fact, that I'm still discovering new ones after years of use. Some of the tools I find easier to use than Illustrator.
  • Each new version usually improves existing features while updating others.
  • The program is more cost effective than other similarly-featured vector graphics programs.
  • The program is highly configurable, even to the point of letting you reassign hotkeys and redraw tool icons.


  • Because the program isn't as popular as Illustrator, there are far fewer online tutorials and books available for it.
  • There are several quirks in the program that bother me, like the strange function of the default zoom. Thankfully, most of these quirks can be fixed by adjusting the configuration.
  • For decades the program has shipped with a hideous and useless default palette, that can't easily be replaced with a useful one.
  • The interface has adopted the poorly-thought-out Windows 10 scheme making in inferior to earlier versions.
  • There is no simple way to convert color models for an entire image. For example, if an image is using CYMK, and you want to convert it to RGB, you have to go through a tedious find-and-replace wizard (twice, once for fills, and again for outlines), and the results may still not be very good.
  • Even as late as version 17, there is still poor support for the Web standard SVG format, and the Illustrator importer is only so-so.


  • I have used several versions as far back as 3, and as new as 17, and every version has been prone to crashing unexpectedly. Corel implemented a backup system which attempts to recover some lost art after a crash, but, depending on how frequently it is set to run, still causes you to lose some of your work.


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