CorelDRAW returns to the Mac

Apple, Mac, Mac OS, macOS, Corel, CorelDraw

If you’re in the market for a powerful, capable, high-end design suite, then you’ll be pleased to hear that CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019 is available not only for Windows, but once again for the Mac for the first time since 2001.

CorelDRAW comes back to the Mac

While its appearance is rather late, the return of the Canadian firm’s graphic design suite is a welcome reflection of the expansion of Apple’s Mac since the software was taken off the platform at the beginning of the century.

Corel, which worked with Apple on the project, said it took two years to develop the Mac version. This is feature-identical with the Windows version, including the capacity to open CorelDRAW files created in old versions of the suite on Windows on the Mac.

Corel has stuck tightly to Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines in the release. This means you remain inside a familiar Mac environment when using the software, which is refreshing given the slightly unique UI you encounter elsewhere.

This deep platform support extends to support for Mojave’s Dark Mode and the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro.

First glance thoughts

Back when I used CorelDRAW on Mac OS, (in the late nineties, version 7, I think) it was seen as an excellent tool for vector graphics, which is why the software remains a popular choice for Windows users designing logos and such.

As a Mac user, I’ve not had too many opportunities to play with the application for the last 20 years, but it has clearly got even better at vector graphics.

Not only can you trace bitmaps to turn them into fully usable objects, but the artificial intelligence (AI) the software now carries means you can achieve results you couldn’t have imagined before.

Edits are non-destructive, so you won’t break things while working with them, and you can easily ensure any web graphics you make are pixel perfect using built-in tools.

I’ve been playing around with the software for a few days, and while I can’t deliver anything like a deep review, I’m left with little doubt at the power and capability of the suite.

Anther tool I think will come in quite useful: Objects Inspector. This lets you locate any of the specific objects used within even a highly complex design, lets you control the document structure, and more. Documents objects are also visible in the inspector, making them easier to find.

One thing I do like is CorelDRAW.app. This is an online version of the application that lets you continue working online, and also means you can use the power of this creative SaaS app from an iPhone, iPad or other mobile device, though an iPad version isn’t available yet.

AI also supports CorelDRAW’s sketching tool, Live Sketch. Powered by a neural network, this takes freehand strokes you place on the page and turns them into editable curves, which helps you draw accurately. I find it helpful for drawing shapes, particularly circles.

Who does this compete with?

It seems clear to me that Corel is competing with both Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer with this release.

It will be interesting to see if the company follows up its recent Parallels acquisition with any additional purchases to expand the capabilities of its suite, though even if it doesn’t, this side of the creative apps game on Mac gets more interesting.

Final details

You don’t need to purchase the application to try it out – you can download a 15-day trial version.

The full version includes CorelDRAW for vector graphic design, illustration, and page layout; Corel PHOTO-PAINT for photo editing; Corel Font Manager as a powerful font library management solution; and AfterShot 3 HDR for RAW image processing.

The complete CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019 includes a range of tools and is available for Mac and Windows. It costs $499. You can also buy a one-year subscription to the core CorelDRAW application at the Mac App Store for $198/year.

You’ll also find a range of fonts, templates, tutorials, and more if purchasing the full version.

Must or miss?

Time constraints mean I’ve not used the application for long enough to deliver any kind of buying advice, though I can say what I have done and the illustrations supplied with the software support Corel’s claim that this is a high-end graphics solution.

It was pretty popular on the Mac in the past, and I think it has a good chance once again, particularly among CorelDRAW on Windows enterprise design shops making the transition back to the Mac as companies upgrade legacy Windows kit.

Mac users seeking alternatives may want to take a look, particularly as the application is such a powerful vector graphics solution.

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