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Xara Designer Pro X 8.1.2

From photos to illustration, print to web work, Xara Designer Pro X can handle all your creative needs

by Mike Williams

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License: Trial Software
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:

300MB free hard drive space

Languages: English
Software Cost: $299 (Windows)
Date Updated: 29 July 2012
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 1700
Developer: Xara
RSS News Feed: http://www.xara.com/rss/
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/XaraGroup
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/XaraGroup
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Xara Designer Pro X 8.1
From photos to illustration, print to web work, Xara Designer Pro X can handle all your creative needs

Xara Designer Pro X (the package formerly known as Xara Xtreme Pro) is Xara's high-end design tool, which has the power to cater for all your graphics needs.

This means the program includes everything you'd get in its little brother, Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX: excellent photo editing (with support for Photoshop plug-ins), powerful illustration, drawing and shape tools, and the ability to create a host of web graphics (including simple Flash animations).

Xara Designer Pro X then takes this further, though, with the ability to create complete websites. A host of bundled templates will get you started, or you can build your own complete with HTML NavBars and menus, pop-ups, slideshows and more. Widgets make it easy to integrate a host of third-party services into your site (Google maps, YouTube videos, Flickr slideshows, forms e-commerce tools and more and more). And the ability to create professional web-based presentations is powerful enough to be an application in its own right.

Beyond the web side, Xara Designer Pro X adds smaller but still useful extras to every section. So as well as all the photo editing features you get in Photo & Graphic Designer MX, for instance, the program can also import JPEG XR images, and includes a Panorama Studio tool to help create spectacular panorama images. And when creating documents, Xara Designer Pro X includes support for Live Copies, multiple instances of an object in a project, which all update whenever any one of them is edited: a great time-saver.

And elsewhere the program includes plenty of useful high-end features, including multi-core optimisations for faster performance, PANTONE and colour separation support, and the ability to export documents to PDF/X and XPS.

What's new? Web additions include smart page resizing (objects automatically reposition as you add or remove text); embedded fonts mean you can include the fonts you need for a site within the pages themselves; and there's an MP3 player, new charting and QR Code widgets, and various web presentation improvements.

Text styles speed up design by allowing you to change the look of an entire document (font, colour, line spacing, more) in a few clicks.

The new Share menu makes it easy to share media files with Flickr, Facebook and other Xara/ MAGIX MX applications.

And along with some powerful new tools (colour selection, hue adjustment, shape eraser), the program includes improved image optimisation, faster panorama creation, enhanced import for many areas (SVG, PDF, RAW, web URLs), faster publishing, and a stack of usability improvements.

Verdict:

Xara Designer Pro X is an amazingly versatile graphics tool with a very lengthy list of features, which somehow still remains easy to use. If you don't need to create full websites or web presentations, though, Xara Photo and Graphic Designer MX 8.1 may be better value for money.

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Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 (v11.0.6)

Free Full Commercial Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 is a compact, simple, but surprisingly feature-packed disc burning suite.

The program makes it easy to create simple data discs and audio CDs, for instance: just drag and drop your files onto the list area and you'll be burning the finished disc in a couple of clicks.

That's just the start, though. Burning Studio 2013 can also create data discs with customised, interactive multi-page menus, perfect if you'd like a more professional way to share and present the disc contents.

A built-in backup tool allows you to create backups which may be encrypted, compressed, and span several CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

And there are modules to create VCD or SVCD video projects; burn video DVDs or Blu-ray discs from prepared folders; create, browse or burn disc images (ISO, CUE/ BIN and Ashdisc formats are supported); copy discs, erase them, design and print disc covers, labels and booklets, and more.

The focus throughout is on ease of use, though, and so Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 remains very straightforward, whatever you're doing. Most disc projects are created via the same simple interface, and for the most part all you have to do is drag and drop the necessary files. But experts will find more advanced options are only a click away, and if you need to then you can set ISO and UDF version, enable Joliet, make a disc bootable and more.

Note the download here will take you to the Downloadcrew Software Store where you can download Burning Studio 2013.

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