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Xara Group Ltd.

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Readers choose Xara Designer Pro as the best software for graphic designers.

Readers choose Xara Designer Pro as the best desktop publishing software.

About.com; Background boxshot, Xara
UK-based software developer Xara has been in business since 1981. They developed "the world's first check-as-you-type spell checker" as well as word processing and desktop publishing software. One of their early illustration programs, Xara Studio, was marketed as CorelXARA (through Corel Corp.). That program developed into today's Photo & Graphic Designer and Designer Pro products. Since 2007 the Xara Group have been a wholly owned subsidiary of MAGIX AG. The current Xara product line combines print and Web graphics and design capabilities.

Xara Designer Pro:

Formerly known as Xtreme Pro, Designer Pro is a Windows only top of the line Xara product for graphic design. Although billed as a graphics program, it is used for a variety of Web and print projects. Designer Pro combines the features of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer and adds other features including "support for PDF/X, PANTONE® and color separations." Additional templates and plug-ins are available to extend the usefulness of this and other Xara products.

Available as of January 2011: Xara Designer Pro 6 for Windows

Write a Review: Tell us about using Xara Designer Pro (any version)

My Early First Impression of Xara Designer Pro:

I have not fully explored the program yet but after only a brief exposure, I'm impressed. Just browsing the huge Designs gallery (templates) shows me that it is a versatile program. There are over 90 templates just in the Brochures, Flyers, and Newsletters folder and almost 50 business card templates with matching letterhead designs.

To test ease-of-use I began playing around without reading any help files, tutorials, or in-depth descriptions of all its features. I stumbled a few times but so far each tool has been fairly intuitive even though menus (and often feature names) are not what I'm accustomed to. When you click on a tool it brings up context-sensitive menus in the toolbar. Right-click pops up another menu of options for the tool you're using. You can dock various galleries for quick access. I like the drag and drop feature where you can drag fills, lines, colors, and fonts onto objects and they are immediately applied. You can also drag and drop templates from the Designs gallery right onto an existing document making it easier to mix and match elements from different templates.

I'll update this profile with a more complete review once I've had more time with the software but first impression of Xara Designer Pro: Easy-to-learn, easy-to-use, and powerful features.

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer:

This is an all-in-one graphics program that does illustration and photo work as well as layout, photo compositions, and Web graphics. The features in the package are expanded in Designer Pro.

Available as of January 2011: Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 6 for Windows

Write a Review: Tell us about using Xara Photo & Graphic Designer (any version)

Xara Web Designer:

A template-based WYSIWYG Web editor for Web graphics, Web pages, and Web sites -- and it's around $50.

Available as of January 2011: Xara Web Designer 6 for Windows

Other Xara Products:

In addition to the three main general purpose graphics programs, Xara offers Xara 3D, Menu Maker, and ScreenMaker 3D. Also from the some company, the MAGIX line of products for PC maintenance, movies, and music.

Xara Group Ltd.:

Xara Group Ltd,
Gaddesden Place,
Hemel Hempstead,
HP2 6EX,
UK

Where to Buy Xara Software:

You can purchase Xara software from their online store or from their resellers in many countries. US resellers include PC Mall and Software Express.

How to Get Xara Software for Free:

Xara offers free trial downloads of most of their software. Trials and full products require Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7.

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