The original CorelDraw was one of the first heavy-duty graphics programs to appeal to business users as well as artists. The program has been around for nearly 20 years and has 4 million users. This illustrates an important reason for the long-term success of any program: Once you’ve learned how to use it, why change?

The new CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4 has a list price of $429 ($199 for upgrades), which is pretty hefty, but nothing compared to the time cost of starting over. The large installed base of users should like the new features: There are 80 templates for producing business documents, advertisements, newsletters, etc. Each template can be further defined by selecting the type of business you want applied to the form. If you’d like to share your thoughts on any design, the program has a “ConceptShare” button that takes you to Corel’s Web site where you can look over and talk over other people’s designs.

A feature we’ve always liked in CorelDraw is the ability to bring in any bitmap drawing and automatically convert it to a vector drawing. In plain terms this means that enlarging a drawing that has been converted to vector art gets rid of the so-called “jaggies” you see as a bitmap gets bigger. The jaggies are those stair-step lines that appear on the edges when a bitmap drawing is made larger. The vector transfer routine can now be applied to mechanical drawings and signatures as well.

New features in CorelDraw X4 include 10,000 pieces of clip art, new type fonts, support for RAW camera files, and the ability to add notes to imported PDF files. You can save any files in formats that can be opened by users of Microsoft products and AutoCAD.

A new feature that should appeal to many writers, editors and type compositors is “What the Font.” Clicking on this takes you to the Web site, which can identify what font is being used in a document someone gave you to work on. (Free trial at

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