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Xara Designer Pro X-365 — First Look
SmartShapes The idea of SmartShapes is not particularly new for Xara. For almost as far back as I can remember, you could double click the corner of a rectangle with the Rectangle Tool and round the corners. Double clicking any point of a QuickShape star with the QuickShape Tool toggles between a pointed and a rounded tip. And more recently, double clicking almost any object, switches to the appropriate tool to edit the object. But in the 365 version products, SmartShapes have gotten the equivalent of a college degree. I have already covered SmartShape photos and Smart Photo Grids in the Photo Editing section. We touched upon SmartCharts and SmartShape rectangles in the Online Content Catalog section. But since I have an entire page devoted to SmartShapes we’ll revisit these and more. It is probably a good idea to point out that the circles and dashed lines, rotation arrows, etc. are what you see when you edit a SmartShape or SmartChart. They disappear when you are done editing. And to edit any of these shapes, either select the shape with the QuickShape Tool, our simply double click in the shape with the Selector Tool.
New SmartShapes Spiral can also show the number of sides. Drag this handle to make a smooth spiral or any number of sides.
Line with Circles
Variable Corners Create a rectangle with one or more rounded corners + 3 corner styles [My Navigation buttons were made with a Variable Corners rectangle.]
Ring Segment Adjustable width, arc length and radius
SmartCharts One of the most productive use of the new SmartShapes is SmartCharts. These come in several configurations and dare I say, are as easy as pie to edit. Drag the ends of the segments and the values change accordingly. Or change the value with the text tool and the bar extends or contracts to fit the new value. You can adjust the height or width of the bars. And it’s a snap to add or remove bars. Shown below are Percentage Rings, some of the other SmartCharts.
Percentage Rings
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Text Panels - Just add your own text. They expand or contract automatically.
SmartShape API for Developers Coming Soon! If you’re a developer Xara will soon be releasing an API plug-in so you can start adding your own SmartShapes, or just enhancing the existing SmartShapes. Xara is expected to release the source code of most of the SmartShapes they’ve created soon. If you’re interested in learning more about this, email them at smartshapes@xara.com and they’ll make sure you get information when the API is launched to the outside world
Odds and Ends I tried to consolidate everything into six pages but there are a few items that were not quite part of the other six headings so I’ll try to touch on them here and then wrap up this review. Object Naming in the Page & Layer Gallery Now you can select objects on layers in the Page & Layer Gallery and apply names.  One benefit of this is it is easier to find and identify objects on the page that are often nested in a group of objects. Import and Export Improvements Updates and improvements have been made to the Photoshop .psd filters. Xara layers now map to Photoshop layers and vice versa. The PDF import filter has been improved to provide better justification and line spacing as well as simplification of clip-viewed objects. Bullet and number list import has also been improved. And there have been numerous small improvments to Word and RTF import and export and improvements to the .svg import filters. And there you have it! Lots of updates, and new and improved features. And with the 365 Update Service, new features and enhancements and content will be popping into the Online Content Catalog as it is added. No more waiting until next year! The Wrap Up I always like to end these First Look reviews with the reminder that Xara is one of the best values in graphics products. Seasoned designers will find all the tools and features needed to create the highest quality professional work, from stunning print to fantastic websites, expert photo editing, illustration, and quality presentations. It is all there and so much more. Users who cannot draw a straight line even with the Straight Line Tool will appreciate the wealth of art, symbol library, configurable SmartShapes and SmartCharts, free high quality stock photos, design and website templates and professionally designed entire websites that you can customize and modify to your heart’s content. And lest we forget, ease of use. If I have failed to convince you, no problem. Click Here to download your own FREE fully functional 30-day trial copy today. And a reminder, you will find timely, helpful encouragement and support from our members at TalkGraphics.com.
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Xara Designer Pro X-365 — First Look
SmartShapes The idea of SmartShapes is not particularly new for Xara. For almost as far back as I can remember, you could double click the corner of a rectangle with the Rectangle Tool and round the corners. Double clicking any point of a QuickShape star with the QuickShape Tool toggles between a pointed and a rounded tip. And more recently, double clicking almost any object, switches to the appropriate tool to edit the object. But in the 365 version products, SmartShapes have gotten the equivalent of a college degree. I have already covered SmartShape photos and Smart Photo Grids in the Photo Editing section. We touched upon SmartCharts and SmartShape rectangles in the Online Content Catalog section. But since I have an entire page devoted to SmartShapes we’ll revisit these and more. It is probably a good idea to point out that the circles and dashed lines, rotation arrows, etc. are what you see when you edit a SmartShape or SmartChart. They disappear when you are done editing. And to edit any of these shapes, either select the shape with the QuickShape Tool, our simply double click in the shape with the Selector Tool.
New SmartShapes Spiral can also show the number of sides. Drag this handle to make a smooth spiral or any number of sides.
Line with Circles
Variable Corners Create a rectangle with one or more rounded corners + 3 corner styles My navigation buttons were made with a variable corners rectangle.
Ring Segment Adjustable width, arc length and radius
SmartCharts One of the most productive use of the new SmartShapes is SmartCharts. These come in several configurations and dare I say, are as easy as pie to edit. Drag the ends of the segments and the values change accordingly. Or change the value with the text tool and the bar extends or contracts to fit the new value. You can adjust the height or width of the bars. And it’s a snap to add or remove bars. Shown below are Percentage Rings, some of the other SmartCharts.
Percentage Rings
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Text Panels - Just add your own text. They expand or contract automatically.
SmartShape API for Developers Coming Soon! If you’re a developer Xara will soon be releasing an API plug-in so you can start adding your own SmartShapes, or just enhancing the existing SmartShapes. Xara is expected to release the source code of most of the SmartShapes they’ve created soon. If you’re interested in learning more about this, email them at smartshapes@xara.com  and they’ll make sure you get information when the API is launched to the outside world
Odds and Ends I tried to consolidate everything into six pages but there are a few items that were not quite part of the other six headings so I’ll try to touch on them here and then wrap up this review. Object Naming in the Page & Layer Gallery Now you can select objects on layers in the Page & Layer Gallery and apply names.  One benefit of this is it is easier to find and identify objects on the page that are often nested in a group of objects. Import and Export Improvements  Updates and improvements have been made to the Photoshop .psd filters. Xara layers now map to Photoshop layers and vice versa. The PDF import filter has been improved to provide better justification and line spacing as well as simplification of clip-viewed objects. Bullet and number list import has also been improved. And there have been numerous small improvements to Word and RTF import and export and improvements to the .svg import filters. And there you have it! Lots of updates, and new and improved features. And with the 365 Update Service, new features and enhancements and content will be popping into the Online Content Catalog as it is added. No more waiting until next year! The Wrap Up I always like to end these First Look reviews with the reminder that Xara is one of the best values in graphics products. Seasoned designers will find all the tools and features needed to create the highest quality professional work, from stunning print to fantastic websites, expert photo editing, illustration, and quality presentations. It is all there and so much more. Users who cannot draw a straight line even with the Straight Line Tool will appreciate the wealth of art, symbol library, Smart- Shapes and SmartCharts, free high quality stock photos, design and website templates and professionally designed entire websites that you can customize and modify to your heart’s content. And lest we forget, ease of use. If I have failed to convince you, no problem. Click Here to download your own FREE fully functional 30-day trial copy today. And a reminder, you will find timely, helpful encouragement and support from our members at TalkGraphics.com.
[BACK TO TOP] PREVIOUS PAGE] Xara Designer Pro X 365 First Look óBy Gary W. Priester
Xara Designer Pro X 365 — First Look
SMART SHAPES SMART SHAPES