Xara Designer Pro 7
Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
June 14th 2011
June 14th 2011
Xara Designer Pro 7 is the newer version of Xara Designer Pro 6, and this new version offers many enhanced or new features. There are new website and website presentation tools, and some new extras on the non-web design front as well. Xara Designer Pro 7 is a single application for all types of creative, graphic work, whether it's vector drawings, desktop publishing, photo composition, web graphics or Flash animation.
Xara Designer Pro 7 is from Xara, a company based in Gaddesden Place, UK. Other than Designer Pro, Xara also creates other graphic software such as Xara Web Designer, Xara Picture Editor, Xara Xtreme 5 Pro, Xara 3D Maker 7, etc. You can learn more about their products and download a trial version of Xara Designer Pro 7 from their site.
My contact for this review was Nova Fisher -- thank you Nova.
Xara Designer Pro 7 builds upon the extensive feature set of Xara Xtreme Pro 6.
Figure 1 shows you the interface of Xara Designer Pro 7. The new and improved features in Xara Designer Pro 7 are explained below:
Figure 1: Xara Designer Pro 7 interface
- Magic Erase: The new magic erase tool quickly and seamlessly erases unwanted objects from photos. Figure 2 shows an example of the magic erase tool.
Figure 2: Magic erase tool example
Design & Usability Enhancements:
- Live copies (sometimes called Live Clone) : Create multiple ‘Live Copies’ of an object (vector or photo) on a page(s), and they all update when one is edited. You can transform individual shapes independently.
- Edit inside groups and other composite objects: Edit grouped objects and also add new objects into an existing group.
- Magic Snap: As you drag an object, it ‘snaps’ to points and lines of interest nearby and indicates what it has snapped to by displaying dynamic snap lines and points. This makes it easy to align objects with each other, and/or (at the same time) with guidelines, the grid, the page center, or edges.
- Improved Page Management: A default Page & Layer Gallery mode displays a narrow list of page thumbnails, for quick and easy page selection, access, and management. Use the Page & Layer Gallery to quickly move to different pages, or switch to multi-page view by right clicking on the page and selecting the multi-page view option on the resultant menu.
- Cut, copy & paste of whole pages: Cut, copy, and paste whole pages both within and between documents. This copies the page dimensions, layers and other page attributes in addition to all the objects on the page.
- Improved anchoring of graphics: Create anchored objects in one click that repel text. Repel margins can now be defined separately for the margin width and height, and objects placed over text repel by default. Plus anchored objects can be constrained to move vertically only.
- New paste operations: This option brings more flexibility to pasting operations by allowing Paste position, Paste size, Paste replacing selection (replaces the selected object with the copied object), Paste in current layer, and Paste in place in current layer.
- Tabbed document windows: Tabs at the top of the Designer window show at a glance all the currently open documents, which document you are currently viewing, the document type, and whether there are unsaved changes. Switch documents by simply clicking on the document tab.
- New gallery system: A new gallery bar with fly-out galleries gives instant access to assets in all galleries. Easily move galleries around the workspace, pin and dock them wherever you want, either individually or in 'stacks'.
- Non-axis aligned snapping: Align shapes to lines that are neither vertical nor horizontal.
- Export animation documents as AVI files: Export any animation or non-animation document as an AVI file, or even an AVI with transparency.
- Quick alignment of selected objects: New right click menu option 'Align' enables you to directly align multiple objects horizontally and vertically, without having to open the alignment dialog.
- Presentation websites and Webinars: Create web-based 'slide-show' style presentations that your website visitors can step through using the keyboard arrow keys. Apply animated transition effects as each step and page is displayed. You can also easily remotely host a web meeting (a webinar) to showcase your presentation, step by step and page by page, to a group of invited participants.
- New animated transition effects: Add a wide range of animated effects to the layers and page links in your website. You can add animated transitions to any page link or pop-up layer in your web pages.
- Intelligent repeating objects: All occurrences of a repeating objects are automatically and instantly updated when you edit one.
- Widgets: New widgets enable you to add an advanced selection of slick photo and text animations to your web pages without the need for coding knowledge. More widgets will be automatically downloaded and added to gallery over time. See some of the widgets here.
- Sitemap support: Automatically generate a sitemap to search engines to assist them with the crawling of your website.
- Improved preview window: Preview your page in Firefox, IE, Opera, Safari, or Chrome with a single click as long as these browsers are installed. The navigation buttons in the preview window allow you to move back or forward, just like in a web browser, and the Home button returns you to the page you started the preview on.
- Preview your web page in full screen: Preview your web page in full screen by clicking the new View Full Screen button in Designer's built-in Preview window.
- Favicons: Favicons allow you to customize the tabs of your web pages by displaying a custom graphic, such as a logo, on the document browser tab.
- New templates: A new range of web page/website and presentation templates give you an even greater design choice when creating your websites.
- HTML 5 video: MP4 movie files added to your website will now play without Flash installed if the browser supports HTML5 video, so movies play on iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads.
- Explore your FTP web space: You can now browse and delete files and folders on your FTP server using Designer Pro's built-in Web Space Explorer.
Xara Designer Pro 7 costs US$299, and can be bought online through a secure server.
Support is through e-mail, an online knowledge base and FAQs. Extensive online tutorials including demo movies are available.
With its huge repertoire of abilities, Xara's Designer Pro 7 can help you in many ways -- more importantly, it is like a Swiss Army knife of graphic tools -- an indispensable kit of tools that can be utterly helpful.