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Three BIG Tips to Boost Your Coreldraw Productivity

Rarely is there a day when I don’t get a question from a CorelDRAW user wanting to solve a particular problem. This month I’m going to address three of those questions and the solutions. Keep in mind that there are often multiple solutions to any situation and sometimes the best solution may involve using other software.

Three Big Tips To Boost Your CorelDRAW Productivity

BY FOSTER D. COBURN III | COREL CONCEPTS

(Originally published in the September 2015 issue of Recognition Review.)

Rarely is there a day when I don’t get a question from a CorelDRAW user wanting to solve a particular problem. This month I’m going to address three of those questions and the solutions. Keep in mind that there are often multiple solutions to any situation and sometimes the best solution may involve using other software.

1. Rearranging Pages

A common task for users is creating a newsletter in CorelDRAW. Documents with more than 10 pages should be created in a dedicated page layout program such as Adobe InDesign. You can still use CorelDRAW for the graphics, but create the document elsewhere. I know many of you will still use CorelDRAW even with that caveat.

Recently I was consulting with a user who created a 20- page newsletter each month. One of the frustrations for this user was when her boss would suggest moving pages around. She would create a new page and then copy the content to the new page. There is a much easier way and one that many users overlook. Select View | Page Sorter View to see thumbnails of all pages in a document as shown in FIGURE 1. Simply click on a thumbnail and drag it to the new location in the document.

Once you have all of the pages where you want them, select View | Page Sorter View again to get back to a single-page view. One problem you could face in moving pages around would be paragraph text that flows from one page to another. If you have paragraph text that flows across multiple pages, check it after you move pages.

If you aren’t already using the Page Sorter to move pages, this can be a huge time saver!

2. Exporting Individual Pages

Creating name badges is another common CorelDRAW task. This is an especially powerful tool when combined with the Print Merge features of CorelDRAW. You can quickly create hundreds of badges by pulling data from a database. Once created, there are many output methods that can be used.

A user contacted me because the badge printer he uses will only work with JPG files. I consider this a poor limitation of the badge printer, but a workaround was needed. Why is JPG such a poor limitation? JPG compression can really blur text, and name badges feature text.

There is no native feature in CorelDRAW for exporting multiple pages as a bitmap, so we have to look at other tools that provide that functionality.

My solution involves using the full version of Adobe Acrobat (not the free Reader). If you have the Adobe Creative Suite, you most likely have it already installed on your system. Open a PDF (created by CorelDRAW) of the document and select Save As | Image | JPEG to get a dialog box asking where to save the files. Press the Settings button to get the dialog box shown in FIGURE 2.

Adobe Acrobat has enough settings to get the bitmaps I want, though you’ll have more options with the wOxxOm Multipage Export to Bitmaps macro found at MacroMonster.com. It is a free macro, though it doesn’t list which versions of CorelDRAW are supported. When run, it gives comprehensive options for how each page will be exported as shown in FIGURE 3. I haven’t used the macro because the Adobe Acrobat solution has always worked well for me, but this gives you two options if getting a series of bitmaps from a multipage CorelDRAW file is a requirement in your workflow.

3. Creating E-mail Blast

Users don’t want to hear it, but CorelDRAW is not the right tool for creating webpages and websites. CorelDRAW is a great tool for creating graphics to use on webpages and websites, though.

Now that we have that painful fact out of the way, an e-mail blast is nothing but a webpage sent out via e-mail. So when a user came to me wanting to create highly formatted e-mail blasts, I explained that only the graphic elements should be created in CorelDRAW.

If it helps you to create all elements of the e-mail in CorelDRAW, feel free to do so. Once you have it the way you want it, select each area of graphic elements and export them to a separate JPG or PNG file. PNG is typically the best choice unless the element is photographic. What size should you use? Keep in mind the entire width of the e-mail should be 600 pixels. So if a graphic goes the entire width of the e-mail, it should be 600 pixels wide and a proportional number of pixels tall.

Graphics that only take up a portion of the width should be exported to a width proportional to the entire 600 pixel width. If you have display text that has an effect on it, you will want to export it as a graphic. Blocks of paragraph text or artistic text with no effects should remain as text.

Now you need to reassemble all of the pieces in your e-mail software of choice. Import the graphics then position them as desired. Copy and paste the text into the e-mail as plain text. Once in the e-mail, you can apply some minor formatting to the text and apply any necessary hyperlinks. If this process is new to you, then you might need to learn the tools for formatting content in your e-mail software. One trick I found when working with this user who used Microsoft Outlook was to create a table with a single cell 600 pixels wide and to place all content inside of that cell. This forces all text and graphics to stay within the 600 pixel width no matter the width of the e-mail when being read.

For those who don’t need a bunch of separately linked hyperlinks, it might be best to export the entire “e-mail” as a graphic to insert into your e-mail software. That graphic could be hyperlinked to the site of your choice. FIGURE 4 shows an example of just such a graphic that was used in a marketing e-mail. It measures exactly 600 by 800 pixels.

While this method may not seem as simple as exporting (very flawed) HTML code from CorelDRAW, it doesn’t take much time and gives you an e-mail that looks good and will be much more functional. It also will give you some basic Web design skills that can benefit you in future projects.

Explore Your Options

There are always ways to increase productivity with each workflow. Finding new features that save time or even a macro that automates the process can help greatly. Sometimes, simply using CorelDRAW in conjunction with other software will make the task much easier. Look into all options when faced with an existing project or even a new project and you might just find you can make a serious cut in your production time

Foster D. Coburn III is the author of 13 books on CorelDRAW, the latest being CorelDRAW X6 Unleashed. He also writes the free Graphics Unleashed Blog (http://graphics-unleashed.com) and provides fonts, artwork, and add-ons of interest to designers through the Graphics Unleashed site at www.unleash.com. Connect with Graphics Unleashed on Facebook at www. facebook.com/graphicsunleashed and follow Foster on Twitter at @fostercoburn.

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