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I’ve reviewed virtually every piece of major graphics software in the last 15 years. To review them, I actually learn and use them. This means I haven’t just fallen in love with one particular program because I know it (something that happens to many people, relieved to know the ins-and-outs of a piece of software so they can get their work done), I’ve fallen for one because of what it does for me, and for my work.

I don’t look at software as if it was some kind of magic solution (even though what software can do is truly miraculous). I look at it as a tool. And like any professional or craftsman who relies on reliable tools, if the tool stops working, I replace it. Draw was my tool of choice for many years. Then it stopped working for me. It literally left me in the lurch on several jobs, creating files that wouldn’t open or wouldn’t print, causing me to have to rebuild them, from scratch, all through the night.

Luckily, about this same time, someone suggested that I look at a new program called Xara, from a small company in England. What I saw in Xara was just what I’d seen in the first version of Draw--a fast, powerful illustration program that really worked. Xara 1 had some serious limitations, but Xara 1.5, released in late 1996, eliminated them all and proved to be solid, reliable, powerful, and so flexible that it literally changed the way I thought about design.

At the same time, Corel bought the world-wide distribution rights to Xara. Xara saw this as a way to get better distribution. Corel, I imagine, saw this as a way to bury Draw’s strongest competition. Corel did a fine job hiding Xara, so fine that you may never have heard of it.

But Xara’s users are a vocal group--Xara is so good that it’s survived on word-of-mouth alone. So good that Arlen Bartsch, former second in command at Corel realized all it needed was the kind of promotion that Corel never gave it, and world-wide distribution via the web.

So now there’s Xara2 (click here for details). Available for download right on the web at www.i-us.com. Anywhere in the world. Any time.

If you’re still using Draw? Well, you don’t have to throw it away, you’ll just find that you rarely use it once you try Xara. If you were a long-time Draw user, as I was, then you’ll be pleased that Xara opens Draw .CDR files from versions 3, 4 and 5 much better than Draw 6 - 8 does! Xara can also import .CMX files from Draw 6-8, so you can continue to edit your Draw files in Xara!

So try Xara--everyone I have recommended it to has thanked me. And while I continue to try new graphics products, I’ve yet to find anything better that I want to use myself.

Return to “Why Xara makes you look better.”



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Daniel Will-Harris is a designer and author whose work can be found at http://www.will-harris.com. His site features TypoFile Magazine and Esperfonto, the web’s only typeface selection system. He may be reached via e-mail.

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Copyright Daniel Will-Harris, 2001, All Rights Reserved