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Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11: Indezine Review

Explore Xara's Photo & Graphic Designer 11 as a program that can be used for creating graphics for PowerPoint.

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Introduction
Using Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11
Pricing and Support
Conclusion


Introduction

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 enables you to edit photos and vector drawings. It allows you to perform text handling at a minute level. Photo & Graphic Designer is used by many illustrators and includes a set of really easy to use vector line and shape drawing and editing tools. Version 11 Premium is the newest one. When compared with Xara Designer Pro X v8 (or earlier), you'll find plenty of new features and content in Photo & Graphic Designer 11.

With Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11, you can sync files via Dropbox and Google Drive. With this option, the same file can be opened on multiple computers, and you can edit the file and then save it on your computer. The same file will thus be immediately updated in Photo & Graphic Designer on the other computers.

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 is from Xara, a company based in Gaddesden Place, UK. Other than Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11, Xara also creates other graphic software such as Xara Web Designer 11 Premium. You can learn more about their products and download a trial version of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 from their site.

In this review, we will explore Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 as a tool to create graphics that can be used in PowerPoint slides.

My contact for this review was Nova Fisher -- thank you Nova.

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Using Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11

Download the installer, run the setup routine and follow the instructions. When launched, you will see the Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 interface, as shown in Figure 1, below.

The Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 interface
Figure 1: The Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 interface

In this review, we'll explore how you can use Shapes, Smart Shapes, Text Panels, etc, and then export them as PNG files so that they can be used within PowerPoint.

  1. Access the File | New from Content Catalog menu option, as shown in Figure 2, below.

    File | New from Content Catalog menu option
    Figure 2: File | New from Content Catalog menu option

  2. This brings up the New from Content Catalog dialog box, as shown in Figure 3, below. This dialog box shows content from an online catalog. For this tutorial, we chose the Smart Shapes category (highlighted in red within Figure 3) then chose Other subcategory (highlighted in blue within Figure 3).

    New from Content Catalog dialog box
    Figure 3: New from Content Catalog dialog box

  3. We chose one of stickers, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4. When you select the sticker, an Import button appears. Click this button.

    Sticker selected within New from Content Catalog dialog box
    Figure 4: Sticker selected within New from Content Catalog dialog box

    These kind of graphics are very helpful and can be used within PowerPoint -- for instance you can use them for slide titles!

  4. This will import the selected sticker into your document, as shown in Figure 5, below.

    Sticker imported into the document
    Figure 5: Sticker imported into the document

  5. Now we have to edit this sticker. The first thing we did was to get rid of the text. Select the Text tool (highlighted in red within Figure 6) from the Tools palette - then select the text, as shown in Figure 6.

    Text selected
    Figure 6: Text selected

  6. Delete the selected text -- we then resized the sticker by increasing its width, as shown in Figure 7.

    Sticker resized
    Figure 7: Sticker resized

  7. Save your Xara document -- then access the File | Export menu option, as shown in Figure 8, below.

    Export option
    Figure 8: Export option

  8. This brings up the Export file dialog box, as shown in Figure 9, below. Here from the Save as type drop-down list, choose .PNG (highlighted in red within Figure 9) -- then provide a name to the exported file, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 9. Thereafter, click the Export button.

    Export file dialog box
    Figure 9: Export file dialog box

  9. This opens the PNG Export Bitmap Options dialog box, as shown in Figure 10, below. Here you get various export parameters such as Bitmap Size, Palette Options, etc,. Change the parameters based on your requirement and when done click the Export button.

    PNG Export Bitmap Options dialog box
    Figure 10: PNG Export Bitmap Options dialog box

  10. Now you can use the exported image within PowerPoint. In Figure 11, below you can see that we have placed the exported image behind the Title Placeholder so that you can add text as required to the title.

    PNG placed in a PowerPoint slide
    Figure 11: PNG placed in a PowerPoint slide

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Pricing and Support

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 costs US$89.99. Support is through e-mail, an online knowledge base, and FAQs. Extensive online tutorials including demo movies are available.

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Conclusion

We have explored older versions of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer -- and have found that it makes a great graphic tool to use for both bitmap and vector needs. In this review, we found that it makes an amazing accompanient to PowerPoint and other Microsoft Office programs. And at just $89.99, it's a steal.

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