August Edition: What’s New in Xara Designer Pro X 365
The Xara Deisgner Pro X 365 has received several updates since the release of the 365 update guarantee in July 2016. This post will highlight the updates that Xara has made to the software since the introduction of the 365 guarantee. For those of you who have no idea what I mean by this, I’ll explain. When you buy Xara Designer Pro X 365, you will receive updates throughout the year that will include new featues. In times past, you would have to wait a full year to receive new features and updates. This is not a subscription based model like Adobe software. After a year of using the software, you can decide on whether or not you want to continue to receive the updates throughout the year or not. If you choose not to continue with the updates, you will not have access to the online catalog.
What’s been added or updated?
Other Web Improvements
- A new and improved media player (by default it uses the HTML5 capabilities of the web browser to play the audio and video where the browser supports it, otherwise Flash)
- The preview window has been updated to include MS Edge preview (Windows 10)
- An easy to use Link to heading option (no anchor names required) NEW – November 2016
- Improved web page transition animations (smoother and more consistent across different browsers and devices) NEW – November 2016
- Ability to export images in a group with separate settings NEW – March 2017
Photo & Graphic Design
Easy Move, Rotate & Scale for Photos
Select a photo in the Photo tool and you’ll see some new handles on the photo, for scale, rotate and crop. It’s a lot easier and more intuitive than using the Fill tool for these simple but frequent actions, and it’s smarter too – ensuring you never see any gaps around the edge of the photo when you move it in its frame or change the shape of the frame. Top Tip – it’s great for horizon straightening!
UPDATED – November 2016: Now as you drag the handles to adjust an image, a faint copy of the full uncropped image is shown behind.
Photo Filter Pre-Sets
A wonderfully quick and easy way to apply popular effects to your photos.
You’ll find more than 25 ready-made effects in the Content Catalog (image resources > photo filter pre-sets). Simply select your photo and hit Import! What’s more you can continue to edit the effects using the Enhance tool or Brightness Levels dialog, and if you replace the photo the effects are retained. See some examples.
NEW – November 2016: We’ve added 50 new photo filters and we’ve also categorised the filters to make it easier to find just the right filter to achieve the effect or ambience you’re looking for!
NEW – March 2017: We’ve added another 40 filters. We’ve also introduced Photo Filter Overlays, which can be applied on top of existing filter pre-sets, such as pattern, texture and transparency Overlays. Filters can now be applied & removed with a handy right click menu option.
NEW – July 2017: 10 new Photo Filter Overlays with camera effects such as burn and flare, perfect if you want to make your social media profile stand out from the crowd. Now 125 photo filters in total!
Photo Effect Painter
Check out the new paintbrush tool on the photo fly out. Now you can simply ‘paint’ on photo effects such as the new dodge and burn. And what’s more you can still edit the values of the effect, or edit the painted region with the Region Painter or Erazer.
UPDATED – November 2016: Feathering settings preserved and region naming improvements in the Photo Effect Painter
Other Text Enhancements
- A new ‘keep with next paragraph’ option, typically used to prevent headings appearing on the last line of the page or text column
- And a ‘keep lines together’ option, which can be used to prevent paragraphs from being split across pages or columns
- Better handling of text on buttons (so font and font size changes are synchronized on the mouse off and mouse over state)
- Improved subscript / superscript positioning
- A new rectangular text repelling option
- Option to change the case of selected text, switching between UPPER CASE, lower case or Sentence case
- The spell checker menu now allows you to set the language for your whole document
- Improvements to the auto-kerning (now supports kerning between character classes, so many newer OpenType fonts now render with the correct kerning)
- An optional extra toolbar for the advanced text options, positioned under the InfoBar by default
- Ability to align text vertically NEW – November 2016
- Delete Style option added NEW – November 2016
- The Style Properties dialog now includes the option to set the outline level of a heading style NEW – November 2016
- Ability to hide styles in the Styles menu (Chart labels and TOC hidden by default) NEW – March 2017
- Ability to select single objects embedded in or anchored to text NEW – March 2017
- Option to align text vertically in Text Panels NEW – July 2017
- Improved support for multi-weight fonts NEW – July 2017
- And other minor enhancements
Improved List Editing
- You can now select just the bullets/numbers in bulleted/numbered lists, so you can then adjust the color, size or font independently of the list text
- An extended List Properties dialog for easier list editing NEW – November 2016
- Two separate numbered lists can now be linked (so for example you could have a graphic in the middle) UPDATED – March 2017
- Further list editing improvements – UPDATED – July 2017
new – March 2017
Many modern OpenType fonts include typographical ligatures, which allow sequences of consecutive characters in text to be displayed with a single glyph. These are now supported in Designer Pro X, and they can be used to improve the legibility and presentation of text and to introduce stylistic flourishes.
Table of Contents
You can now build a Table of Contents automatically and insert it at the caret position, a massive time saver for anyone creating a long document.
new – July 2017
All Business Print Themes Now Included
Designer Pro already includes all the business web themes, now we’re also adding all 100+ Business Print themes to the Online Content Catalog. These were previously sold for $15 each!
Each theme includes everything from business cards and compliments slips to brochures, flyers and poster!
View previews of the Business Themes.
Other New Templates & Widgets
- 9 new General Website Themes all including mobile variants
- A new single page web story template and a 5 new presentation themes NEW – July 2017
- Additonal print templates including a new category of resumes, plus letters and flyers NEW – July 2017
- A selection of new modern NavBar and standalone button designs
- Social media templates such as Facebook, G+ and Twitter covers UPDATED – July 2017
- A wider range of photo hovers and photo sliders, and extra photo clipart
- Google Forms widget added to the Content Catalog. You can create your own custom forms but Google also offers templates for the most popular forms including surveys, questionnaires and contact forms. Plus there’s an easy to use editor, reliable data storage, presentation and analysis. NEW – October 2016
- A handy new page counter widget
- A selection of new designs for buttons, cards, invitations, certificates & vouchers
- Handy placeholder images for common aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9 etc)
View previews of a selection of the themes and other templates in the Online Content Catalog (select the NEW filter to see some of the new ones).
A New Online Content Catalog
An enhanced Online Content Catalog will be included free for one year as part of our new Update Service. Based on the v11 Content Catalog, this new and improved version will now offer:
- Fully integrated access to a free library of over 750,000 quality royalty-free stock photos and over 150,000 vector illustrations UPDATED – November 2016 (can now download higher than HD resolution photos for print docs)
- Regular updates to the templates as part of the Update Service
- Full keyword search of the entire catalog
- A new more logical structure to the content offering a better work flow
The Designs Gallery (now ‘Local Designs Gallery’) will now be used to display only your current assets (those downloaded from the Online Content Catalog or from the optional back-up CD) making it quicker to access the resources you are already using.
SmartShapes are an amazingly quick and easy way to create and edit some of the most commonly required shapes. There are improvements to the way SmartShapes work (eg improved handles) plus some great new additions to the Online Content Catalog library of these ultra-editable ready-made shapes:
- New Chevron SmartShapes NEW – November 2016
- 15 additional arrow SmartShapes, plus a new handle that makes it easy to change the head and tail design where appropriate NEW – November 2016
- New Chart SmartShapes for percentage ring, bar chart and column chart (UPDATED – March 2017, now with time-saving chart label text style)
- New Text Panels and Photo Panels
- 10 new Timeline SmartShapes NEW – March 2017
- New Flowline SmartShapes (in arrows) NEW – July 2017
- A new and more flexible version of the popular Spiral SmartShape
- Other new SmartShapes include some simple shapes such as a rectangle where you can edit corners individually and custom lines
- New variants of existing SmartShapes such as arrows and speech bubbles
Import & Export
- Improved Word import and export UPDATED – March 2017
- Improved PDF import/export UPDATED – July 2017
- Improved PowerPoint import UPDATED – July 2017
- Improved RTF import and export
- Improved PSD import & export (we now map Xara objects to & from Photoshop layers)
- Minor improvements to SVG import
- PDF/X4 which includes support for transparency NEW – July 2017
- You can now give individual objects names in the Page & Layer Gallery, to help find objects and to organize your designs
- Distribute operations have been added to the Align toolbar
- Styles updated in blank templates in File > New (eg adding ‘Keep with Next’ to heading styles of print templates) NEW – November 2016
- Option to keep Content Catalog open after selecting an item NEW – November 2016
- Improved mouse pointers over SmartShape handles NEW – March 2017
- ‘Smart’ handles are now automatically shown when you select a SmartShape with the Selector Tool NEW – March 2017
- Paste to multiple pages NEW – March 2017
- New ‘Change width of all pages’ option NEW – March 2017
- Right click > Replace option for symbols inside groups NEW – July 2017
- New document language property for the spell checker NEW – July 2017
As you can see the team at Xara has been very busy making updates and adding new features throughout the year! It will only get better with time and you can expect more features to come! The content catalog is continuing to grow, making Xara Designer Pro X365 more appealing for those of you who want to get away from subscription based pricing! You pay annually, but you receive updates and features throughout the year. If you choose not to renew after a year, you will have the new feature and updates, but you will not have access to the online catalog!
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