Sunday, June 25, 2017

Xara Product Review 2017

by Tony Thomas

It is a bit different reviewing Xara software this year since they have moved to the 365 model. Instead of annual upgrades, continuous, incremental improvements are made to the software. The obvious benefit of this model is that users receive new features as they become available, rather than having to wait for an annual feature "roll up".

Xara Web Designer Premium is a slimmed down version of Designer Pro with a subset of features that are will benefit web designers. Instead of having to code websites by hand, the program provides an easy to use WYSIWYG interface. This allows web design creators to focus on graphic design rather than code. An entry-level version of Web Designer is also available at an extremely attractive price.

By contrast, Xara Designer Pro is a full-orbed vector drawing, photo editing, graphic design and layout program that enables professional designers to develop and implement all of their creative concepts in a single package. The simplicity of its UI can be deceptive, as it is capable of producing amazing output that is only limited my the creativity and skill of the user.

New features common to both programs include:

Full-width slideshows
23 new photo grids
Larger library of vector images and stock photos
Improved import and export for Word, PDF, Powerpoint and SVG
Can now export images as a group with separate settings
Google Forms widget added to the content catalog
New Smart Shapes
More filters added: now 115 in total

In addition Designer Pro also now has the ability to automatically add a TOC (table of contents) to any document which is a huge time saver for those who work in long form documents.

My test drive of both of these programs demonstrate their maturity and stability, as well as speed of task execution. Both are highly recommended!

Disclaimer: Xara has provided review copies of these programs for evaluation.