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Tom's Terrific Tips For CorelDRAW 8, 9, 10

© 2001 by Tom Anzai. All Rights Reserved.

OK, I thought this session would be real easy to do until I had to whittle my favs down and document them for CorelDRAW versions 8 through 10. We all have our favorite ways to do things in life, but sometimes it's hard to categorize them into some sort of logical sense. So here goes my list of DRAW features that I frequently use and would like to share with you. Hang onto your hats!

Interface Tricks

Setting up the DRAW screen is much like re-arranging your car interior after your wife (husband, son, daughter, thief) has been behind the wheel. You probably need to adjust the seat, move the rear view mirror and side mirrors, choose a different radio station or CD, and then find the damn keys! Fortunately, DRAW not only allows you to display or hide screen elements but it also allows you to program shortcut keys, change ruler settings, and tear off toolbars.

So without further delay, here are some things you can customize in DRAW:

In CorelDRAW 10, the ability of changing the appearance is built within the Options dialog box. Click the Customization, Commands category, then click the Appearance tab on the right side.

Figure 4: Ever tried to make a picture with small squares? Now's your chance to make a new icon!

In CorelDRAW 10, right click the toolbar, select Customize followed by [name of toolbar] Toolbar, Reset to Default.

In CorelDRAW 10, right click the Status Bar and select Customize, Status Bar, Add New Command. Select Status Bar in the Commands list and drag the appropriate commands (e.g., Memory Allocated) to the Status Bar. To reset the Status Bar, right click it and select Customize, Status Bar, Reset to Default.

Figure 5: Impress your friends by putting Memory and Swap file allocations in your Status Bar. If only we knew what they meant…

Aligning Objects

OK, let's get this time-saver gem out of the way. If you can't quite figure out all the options in the Arrange, Align and Distribute dialog box use the following keyboard shortcuts to align objects:

Zooming and Selecting

Zooming and selecting are a necessity when using a program such as DRAW. We all know how to do this, but here's my list of real quick shortcuts:

Press the following keys to zoom:

Working With Color

Try the following the next time you need to apply some color to your objects:

In CorelDRAW 10, the color management feature has been beefed up and more visually oriented (but still hidden and misunderstood by the majority of users). Select Tools, Color Management to display the visual diagram. For ease of use, select the appropriate style in the Style list at the bottom (e.g., Optimized for the Web). For advanced use, click each device and load profiles for each. Click to activate the directional arrows as desired. For example, to enable ICC profiles to be embedded in exported files click to activate the arrow going from the internal RGB profile to the Import/Export (papers) icon.

Figure 6 This sneaky option was turned on by default after DRAW version 7.

Figure 7 Need a different tint? Hold down on the color in the Color Palette.

Figure 8 Use right-drag popup menu to copy properties such as fill and outlines.

Working With Text

Here's some tips that you can use with text:

Troubleshooting

These are tips that you can try to increase your DRAW performance and reset the factory defaults:

Figure 9 Set the Primary and Secondary swap disks to your largest, fastest drive.

Note: You can also link to the CorelDRAW, Photo-Paint, and Ventura newsgroups by clicking the appropriate URL at http://www.anzai.com/new.html.

Figure 10 In CorelDRAW 8 and 9, you may be able to link to the restructured (still free) Corel newsgroups by first clicking Update Links, then clicking Corel Newsgroups. If that fails, go to http://www.anzai.com/new.html for the latest locations.

In CorelDRAW 10, go to http://www.corel.com/support/downloads.

Setting Defaults for All New Documents

This should be easier than it is but DRAW has evolved from its simpler predecessors to a fully customizable version that allows you to choose specific settings for just about anything. In doing so, it has hidden the way that you globally set defaults whenever you create new documents. Here's how you do it:

  1. Choose any of the Document options in the Options dialog box. For example, click the + sign beside Document in the category list, or double-click Document. You'll see sub-categories expand beneath Document. Click Styles. Go ahead and change any of the listed styles by clicking on one of the following styles: Default Graphic, Default Artistic Text, or Default Paragraph Text. Continue by choosing the options listed to the right side (e.g., Fill, Text, Outline). In some cases, you may need to click the Edit button on the extreme right side.
  2. When finished, click the Document category on the left side of the Options dialog box.
  3. Check Save options as defaults for new documents as illustrated in Figure 11. Then, check all options including Styles. If you don't do this step, then the styles you changed for Default Graphic, Artistic Text, etc. will not be used when creating new documents.

Figure 11 An easily forgotten option to save settings for all new documents.

The last step is very important. You don't want to know how many users, even veteran DRAW users, have posted this question in the Corel newsgroup!

Creating Soft Shadows Without the Drop Shadow Tool

Before the development of the Interactive Drop Shadow tool in DRAW 8, DRAW users had to find another way to create a soft shadow. In doing so, one of the better ways was to implement a series of grayscale blends to simulate a shadow look such as in Figure 12.

Figure 12 Problems with Interactive Drop Shadows? Try blended shadows instead.

Even today, this method may be more reliable than using the Interactive Drop Shadow tool should you experience file bloating or printing problems.

Here's how we do it:

  1. Create the object or text and color it with the light gray color (10%).
  2. Press [Ctrl D] to duplicate the object and apply a black color.
  3. Select the Interactive Blend tool in the toolbox.
  4. In the Property Bar, enter 15 steps or so in the Number of Steps box.
  5. Point to the light gray object and drag to the black object to blend them together.
  6. Select the original black object. Make sure the Status Bar confirms that you have selected the Control object.
  7. Copy then Paste a separate object on top of the black object.
  8. Apply a color of your choice to complete the soft shadow.

Tom Anzai of Anzai! Inc. is a Corel-certified trainer who authors one of the most respected step-by-step Corel-approved training manuals for CorelDRAW®, Corel PHOTO-PAINT®, and Corel VENTURA®. He has trained thousands of users and is a regular presenter at CorelWorld. To learn more about Anzai! courseware as well as upcoming hands-on training sessions, visit http://www.anzai.com.

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Last Updated Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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