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on January 30, 2011
Beware! The CorelDraw X5 Home & Student version is missing features found in the regular version. A feature I used in CorelDraw X3 is the Print function for guttering, fold marks, and crop marks for card making. These are missing from the H & S version. The Help feature does not account for this and asks you to use features that do not exist in H & S. I did not explore what else is missing. Corel should fess up and provide a feature comparison sheet to show what features are not available in the H & S and Educational versions.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon November 25, 2010
Format: Software|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
CorelDraw has for years been the Gold Standard when it comes to computer drawing and drafting and X5 is Corel's latest offering in the line. The last version of CorelDraw I used was version 4.0 (a LONG time ago) so I was eager to see how it had changed. My experience with it has been a positive one and I learned a few things along the way.

There are two main applications in the suite as well as other supporting apps; I will talk mainly about these two applications - CorelDraw itself and Corel PhotoPaint.

This particular version is the Home and Student version, which has few restrictions on the application but has clear wording in the licensing that preclude it from commercial use. It is not meant to be used for corporate gain; it is meant as a learning tool for students, a productivity tool for home users and an affordable solution for volunteer work. In my case this is an excellent option. If you need CorelDraw for commercial use, you must purchase a commercial license. Unfortunately, there is no option to upgrade the license that I could find, so there is no upgrade path. Keep this in mind.

Installation was straightforward and painless though it took a good deal of time. I selected the Custom installation and told the program to load everything, and the installation took roughly 15-20 minutes from start to finish. Considering the sheer size of what was written to the drive - over 5 GB of stuff - this seems like a reasonable length of time. Curiously, after the installation completed the desktop icons did not show up until after I rebooted the system.

The first launch of the flagship application in the suite, CorelDraw, took quite a bit of time to load, maybe 30 seconds before anything appeared on screen. (This is on a reasonably equipped system so this seemed a little unusual.) After the initial launch subsequent starts have been much more responsive.

Upon launch CorelDraw presents a quickstart screen which provides some information, access to different tools and recent documents and a gallery viewer too. Opening a new, plain document presents an empty canvas; opening a new document from a template presents a gallery of premade, professional-looking templates for project quick-start which are very handy.

When a new document is opened (either by template or just blank) the user is presented a canvas with access to several drawing tools and effects. It is a simple click of the mouse to change the active tool to free-hand drawing with a pen, adding shapes and shading, select and moving elements and much more. There is a bar of tool buttons along the left side of the canvas, as well as along the top of the client area. A thin band of tools runs across the bottom of the client area and a flyout hint tab adorns the right. All that said, the screen is not nearly as busy as you'd suspect, and everything is available without undue clutter on the desktop. Corel did a very nice job of designing their interface to maximize productivity without getting in the way.

I have a tablet wired to my computer so I was interested in using it to do some drawing and sketching. I found a place in the tools menu that allowed me to configure my tablet with CorelDraw and even was able to see that it recognizes pressure differences in the way I hold my pen, but once configured I have been unable to find any distinguishable difference (on-screen) between using my pen/tablet and using my mouse. The help files provide precious little to explain where a tablet adds anything to the drawing experience within the application. I hope this is just a case of me not looking hard enough...

CorelDraw has a very large set of filters and effects that can be applied to a document, such as blurs, lens effects and more. Many of these are context-sensitive and will not work unless the document is first converted to a bitmap, though this is a mouse-click away.

Comparing CorelDraw and Corel Painter, CorelDraw is geared more toward the jack-of-all-trades type of work and is more technical in nature while Painter is very definitely an artist's tool. The same end results are possible with either program but the route to get there is different. If looking for a true artist's canvas on the computer, Painter may be a better fit.

The other primary tool in the suite, PhotoPaint, is an industrial strength photo editing tool.

When launching PhotoPaint, just like CorelDraw the application presents the user with a quickstart screen with the same available options. If you select opening a new document you get a blank image that you can manipulate which at first seems a little silly but it is helpful for capturing images via cut and paste. Of course, you can open an existing photo as well, which is likely what most users will want with this application.

PhotoPaint has a good number of effect and filters for manipulating an image, some of which are artistic effect and others are geared more toward touch-up and editing. The very best feature of PhotoPaint relates to the filters in that any effect applies in a preview window so that you can see the result before committing the change to the main image. Of course there is undo should something undesired gets applied... There are enough filters and effects that it is likely you'll find anything you'll need in PhotoPaint for manipulating images to the desired end result.

Pairing CorelDraw and PhotoPaint together gives the creative individual tremendous power and flexibility in creating astounding artwork with professional results.

Corel has put together a very nice package with two professional-grade applications for creating and manipulating digital images and documents. So far I haven't found any obvious flaws that make using the applications less pleasant or easy, and I can recommend this package for the budget-minded individual who needs the power for non-commercial work.
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on December 19, 2011
I was so excited to see a home version of this software. It doesn't state anywhere that its a stripped down version of the software. There are features missing. I have only had it a few days and haven't even done one project in it yet. I bought to use with a third party plugin/app. Corel disabled macros and vba, so you can't make your own macroa, nor can you use anyone elses. NOWHERE DOES IT STATE THIS. I am wondering what else they left out. Even the help section of their software doesn't mention this. I had to search the web to find out. I have since read elsewhere other features are missing. This should be called coreldraw lite, not home and student. It should clearly state this in any advertisements/listing etc. The help file should be revised to note this as this version doesn't even have functions mentioned in its own help file. VERY MISLEADING description. This IS NOT A HOME version of CorelDraw, but a stripped down "LITE" version. BEWARE of what you are purchasing. VERY DISSATISFIED!!
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VINE VOICEon December 14, 2010
Format: Software|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This program took some time to get used to as it was very frustrating for me starting out. However, as I became more familiar with the program and while using the tutorials as guides, I became more comfortable with each tool and application. There are also helpful hints on the right hand side for whichever tool you have selected. Also, if you use a bamboo tablet, it is compatible with these programs. This disk also comes with Corel CAPTURE X5, Corel CONNECT, Corel PHOTO-PAINT X5, and Corel DRAW X5.

Corel DRAW X5: The pattern-fill is helpful for backgrounds and such. However you may have some trouble with it. For example, if you try to color an area in, it might color more then you want. Check your outlines to make sure they are connected to prevent that from happening. I included pattern-fill in the video. The templates they give you are pretty nice but honestly aren't useful to me. They're good if you own some sort of business because they are flyers, menus, newsletters, postcards, business cards, etc.

PHOTO-PAINT X5: Is pretty good for editing photos, You can use it for cropping, removing red eye, adding text, and (my personal favorites) the image sprayer and the swirl tool. I display this in the accompanying video. This program was probably the most fun to play around with. You can also cut out backgrounds with the erase tool and replace it with the background you want, or you can edit the background with effects and put it back with the image.

Corel CONNECT: This program will let you search for clip art and view what others have created using the programs. You can bring them into Corel PHOTO-PAINT X5, and Corel DRAW X5.

Corel CAPTURE: This program has no tutorials to help you. It takes a picture of what you did and then you can move it to Corel Photo-PAINT.

Video tutorials: Although helpful, they can be quite buggy. They sometimes turn fuzzy and weird, blocky lines will appear everywhere. Also, the Corel programs will blur depending on the program that was open when you started to watch the tutorials. If you restart your computer everything will go back to normal, though.
As a novice artist, I feel that the program is well done and has many tools that I will utilize. The more I use it, the more I find that I can do with it. For other people looking for software to start an art hobby, if you are a beginner, (i.e. with no other graphics software) then you should be prepared to spend a lot of time with this software. It takes a while to get familiar with the tools. If you're an intermediate user, and/or have used other graphics software programs then this should be easier to master.
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on March 21, 2011
I have used Corel Draw over the years and tried this new version; little did I know that this package did not contain the graphics disks or other add on's I have traditionally received with prior versions of Corel Draw. If there is a way to access graphic files, etc. it sure doesn't say how to do so and I thought that being a "Suite" it would offer MORE NOT LESS !!!! It's Half a Program and a Waste of Money !!!!
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VINE VOICEon January 29, 2011
Format: Software|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As an avid user of CorelDRAW Suite X4, I was extremely interested in seeing what Corel has done in the fifth iteration of their home publishing graphics suite. This is the Home and Student edition, rather than the commercial version I previously had with X4, and I kept that in mind as I dove in and started to explore the differences, changes, and improvements in this version.

This version is for non-commercial use only, and there is no apparent upgrade path to the commercial version, or at least I could not find one. Commercial users should not, as per the user agreement, use this version, period. The photobook .pdf I created with the software as a proof-of-concept for this review I have released under a creative commons license. I did not notice much of a loss of functionality, if at all, between X4 and the Home and Student version of X5.

The Corel family of products are complex and not for the faint of heart. There are many tutorials, including video tutorials, which do provide an entry point, a window, for users to get themselves acquainted with the particulars of the graphics suite. I used these video tutorials in X4, and I was pleased to see their return in X5, with some more new ones to continue my Corel education. Corel does do a good job in providing information for those who are willing to take the time and effort to learn all that their products can do.

I think the big question for people reading this review and wondering if the program will work for them is a central one. How does Corel compare to the other big dog in the home/professional publishing world: Adobe. I do use Adobe Lightroom for my photography interests, and have dabbled in Photoshop.

Given that, my conclusion and advice is this. If you are already familiar with, or to be more clear, already invested in learning and employing Photoshop, Corel's suite will frustrate you and this probably is not going to be a completely positive experience to use. Its definitely a different beast, with different ways of doing the same things. Adobe is superior for photo manipulation and editing. This is not to say that the tools in the Corel Suite are bad, its just that they are not as facile as Adobe. And trying to wrap your mind around two very different programs, from two different publishers, can be a frustrating and enervating experience.

On the other hand, this product is much more reasonably priced than anything Adobe offers, even with student and teacher discounts. Given the power and flexibility of the program, from document creation to photo manipulation, it gives excellent value for your money. If Photoshop is just a word to you, and you are looking for a comprehensive suite, then the Corel Draw suite should definitely be one of your options.
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VINE VOICEon December 7, 2010
Format: Software|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have not used any previous Corel graphics product, so the idiosyncrasies that set this apart from Photoshop or other graphics programs I'm used to stood out a bit to me. Unless you disable this feature, on starting the program you are presented with a "Quick Start" book graphic prompting you to start a new blank document or open one from one of their templates. As long as this "Welcome" screen is up, you can't even move the window the program is running in. SO - I wanted to follow along with the video tutorial - the first time through, the instructor went a bit quickly for me to follow, but he did present a number of techniques that I wanted to try out. When you watch the CorelDRAW X5, part 2 of 2, the instructor does a search for a template using the term "sport". Guess what? When YOU do that, you'll be disappointed that there are NO matching templates. Not a real big deal, right? Well, *I* think it is - it shows that they couldn't be bothered to run this past a human factors engineer. Now, I'm only on day 2 of using this, but when I did create a graphic from a blank, I wanted to save it. Presented with the "Save" menu, I looked for "*.jpg" Huh? I get a list CDR, CDT, CGM, CMX, CSL, and a whole slew of other types, but the ONLY one that I recognized was .pdf. Yes, yes, I suppose all you graphic artists are laughing at my frustration, but if the tutorial is sort of half-assed and you can't find a user-friendly file format, guess how often I'm going to come back and try to figure this out on my own? (It turns out that if you want a jpeg, you have to "Export" your work to a .jpg file. Silly me - and it's the same with opening a lot of file types. You have to "Import" them, because "Open" treats you like a dolt.) The Guidebook is 320 pages, and some of it is really well done. Example: how to draw a diamond, complete with facets and shading. Well, maybe someday.

You can see from all the other reviews that this is indeed powerful juu-juu, and if you doubt it, a look at the many, many images in the gallery will show you what's possible. However, I feel the same way I did when presented with Interleaf at work. It is NOT like other programs that perform similar functions. If you haven't been using Corel graphics, don't expect to get that presentation whipped into shape this afternoon. It's like learning a new language - it will require study and practice. I'm sure the old hands are already knocking out superb graphics, but I'm still looking for the right set of training wheels.
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Format: Software|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've always used Photoshop for my raster images and Visio for my vector diagrams, so I'm used to the notion of different tools for different tasks and I'm aware that any tool will have its strengths & weaknesses. CorelDRAW X5 is a decent low-cost alternative for vector drawings, but definitely not a replacement for Photoshop.

I'm happy with CorelDRAW, but a couple of things have made me say "hmmm".

The installation is HUGE. The installer said that it was going to take a little more than 5GB, but I had just checked my drive space before the install and it seems like it took closer to 7GB. It took a long time to install, so I don't want to uninstall/reinstall just to verify the numbers.

For some reason I've always been a little creeped out by Corel's EULAs (the legal gobbledygook you have to accept before installing). I don't typically read every word of of the EULA, but for some reason Corel's license agreements have always caught my attention. I'm not crazy about the notion that the application can check my system whenever it wants and report usage statistics at will and re-validate the license.

The packaging and the splash screen also make me uneasy in the way that they repeat over and over that this product is for home use only. Even the application's title bar nags you: "CorelDRAW X5 (Not for commercial use) - [Untitled-1]". Before I installed it on my laptop I was really tempted to load it on my PC at work just to see if the black helicopters would come get me. My wife wanted me to make up a sign for a garage sale, but I told her that would technically be "commercial" and that I was afraid the app would somehow detect my deceit and chop off my mouse finger.

Anyway, aside from some of these weird cosmetic issues, it's a good tool for drawing. If you're not familiar with the CorelDraw family, there are plenty of resources included with the installation DVD. The PDF "Guidebook" is very well written and nicely presented. If you're going to print it and use it as a desktop reference, maybe buy a new ink cartridge first, because it's very richly formatted with lots of colors. They really did a nice job with the documentation.

There is also a user community at their website, which is a great way to get some backup support.

All in all, the functionality is very decent for the price. There are also additional utilities included on the disc, like Corel Photo-Paint (similar to PaintShop Pro).

If you're looking for a low-cost graphics solution (as opposed to the Adobe Creative Suite of apps), then Corel is worth considering. But if you already have a background with any of the Adobe suite, then maybe consider the comparably-priced Adobe "Elements" applications.
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VINE VOICEon June 11, 2011
Format: Software|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am writing this review from the perspective as an Adobe user (at my job) who needed a cheap tool to use at home for personal projects without having to break the bank buying Adobe at home.

I use Adobe Creative Suite in my profession at work, but I needed an affordable tool to use at home for my personal fun projects. I found my solution with CorelDRAW Suite X5... it is easy on the wallet and every bit as robust as Adobe. If you don't need to do commercial work this home and student version is ideally priced!

This Suite comes with a few tools to work with:
CorelDRAW X5, which is your main vector art creation app in this suite.
Corel Photo-Paint X5, which is your main raster paint solution in the suite.
Corel Capture X5, which captures what is on your screen and sends it to your editing apps.
Corel Connect, which allows you to get clip-art from the disc and online to use in your personal projects.
Bitstream Font Navigator, which allows you to quickly and easily view what each font looks like.

Being a long time user of Adobe products I needed something that translated my knowledge very well so that I could hit the ground running and get right to work without a steep learning curve. I was happy to find I could hit the ground running without too much learning. CorelDRAW X5 is very much like Adobe Illustrator, while Corel Photo-Paint X5 is very much its own animal (it is not a photoshop, its a paint program which is easy to use!), but Photo-Paint is super easy to use if you have knowledge of paint applications.

CorelDRAW X5 is every bit as robust as Adobe Illustrator.
This has all the tools you need to make amazing and beautiful vector illustrations. You have all the core shape making tools, circle, ovals, squares, rectangles, and polygons of all types (all nodes editable). You also can access predefined shapes like flow charts, arrows, chat boxes, etc. You can also draw splines or freehand lines and fully tweak all the bezier points to get your line rounding and shaping just perfect. You can also group together or combine multiple shapes which makes bringing together a series of shapes into a complex object very quick and easy. Vector tools can be very complex to learn for the beginner, but as a long time Adobe Illustrator user I was able to hit the ground running instantly and know where everything is and was extremely pleased with the results. Once you learn these vector tools you will be able to make amazing work for yourself so stick with it if your new! CorelDRAW is a highly robust vector tool worthy of "highly" recommending on par with Illustrator. Considering the cheaper price tag of Corel over Adobe it is an easy choice which to purchase in my eyes.

Corel Photo-Paint X5 is a joy to use right off the bat.
One of the 1st tools I found was the Image Sprayer tool which allows you to select a variety of different kinds of photo presets to spray over your image (example, buildings sprays various buildings on your image, popcorn sprays various popcorn shapes on your image). While this could mostly be used just for playful borders around your project, you could really do some powerful creative work layering these objects in smart ways. Beyond the spray tool you have an amazing paint brush tool that just goes above and beyond anything Adobe has in its entire toolset. You can select all kinds of different brush types, like camel hair, scalloped, wet oil.. and they all look amazing. The way the paint is rendered in the image is just beautiful. You also have all the standard expected tools you would need in a paint application like crop, shape tool, fill, erase, eye dropper, etc. Photo-Paint is a joy to use and really easy to just jump into and start making cool looking images even for beginners.

Overall, I am amazingly pleased with the quality of Corel's Suite. If you need a cheap professional quality Paint and Vector program this suite is for you.

If you are looking to do commercial work I recommend you buy the full version of the suite. Your work will be every bit as quality as it would be with Adobe's.. I am speaking from over a decade of Adobe experience.. everything you need is here too. While I don't know the differences between the full and home version, I am sure the full version only adds more features which is even better!

If you are like me and just trying to have fun at home on personal projects and don't plan on doing commercial work this home and student version is easy on the wallet and every bit as robust as you need to do amazing looking work.

I highly recommend CorelDRAW Suite X5... happy creating everyone!
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VINE VOICEon December 9, 2010
This product is considerably faster than the Photoshop Elements and the other components of the Elements series. It's also about 25% cheaper. Insofar as features are concerned there is hardly any difference in their capabilities, but what's astonishing with this particular product is the amazing attention given to the help documentation. This company really wants you to learn their product, as there are differences between this and the other Photoshop-like products. For instance, instead of layers, CorelPhoto refers to them as objects. Pasting an alt-print-screen graphic is subtly different from the way Photoshop does it: you have to select a different option from the Edit menu, "Copy from Clipboard". The terminologies used in Corel products are different from Photoshop, but just as sensible. It takes very little patience to get used to them.

There is a price-war going on between top notch photo/drawing programs, and the winner will be determined by how fast their customers learn to use them. Even the free products in this category will have to battle it out in this regard. Expediently educating your customer is the key to success, and CorelDRAW X5 is ahead, for now.
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