X3 Marks the Spot for Corel

Tuesday Jan 17th 2006 by Dan Muse
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Touting PDF importing capabilities, a new e-mail client and more, Corel today announced WordPerfect X3. The Ottawa-based company also announced a new version of CorelDraw, its venerable graphics program.

While many headlines focus on the threat that open source applications present to Microsoft Office, WordPerfect has been consistently chipping away at the king of office suites both in terms of market share and also in terms of features.

The company continues to emphasize compatibility with Microsoft Office in Corel WordPerfect X3, which it announced today.

"We're playing in a Microsoft world, we have to work with Microsoft," Corel's Jason Larock said. Corel, he said, is adding 20,000 new WordPerfect Office users a day and that Corel currently has 96 percent of the Office-alternative market, according to the Larock.

Not only does WordPerfect continue to make strides to ensure compatibility with more versions of Office products, in X3 Corel adds the capability to better work with another software standard — Adobe PDF files.

WordPerfect was early to the party in terms of allowing its customers to export to directly to PDF. In X3, working with PDFs is a two-way street. That is, you can now import and re-use content from native PDF files. This feature is designed to make it easy to use text and graphics stored as PDF files. In Corel WordPerfect Office X3, you can also turn documents, spreadsheets and presentations into PDF files without additional software.

At a time when businesses are concerned about all facets of security, the capability to save files without Metadata will appeal to many users — especially those in the legal community where WordPerfect has deep roots. Metadata is information, which may be sensitive, that is hidden in many documents.

The program also includes new online resources that use Yahoo search to quickly conduct Web searches directly from within WordPerfect X3. WordPerfect MAIL provides e-mail, calendar, contact management and RSS capabilities.

Corel WordPerfect Office X3 comes in Standard, Professional, Student and Teacher and Home editions. Standard Edition is available at a suggested retail price of $159.99. Professional Edition starts at $179.99 (volume licensing is available). The Student and Teacher Edition is available for $99.99 and Home Edition is available for $79.99.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X3
Corel also announced today CorelDraw Graphics Suite X3. The software is aimed at creative and design professionals as well as small business owners who have occasional design needs. While you may not think of CorelDraw as a small business application, Nick Davies, general manager for graphics products, Corel 74 percent of Corel Draw users work in small business. Davies said Corel defines small business as fewer than 20 employees.

Davies added that Corel chose the chameleon for the X3 package, because CorelDraw is designed "adapt to whatever you need it to do." Recently, he said, more and more small business have found they need graphics software. "It's the eBay phenomena."

One key feature, among the 40 new additions to CorelDraw Graphics Suite X3, is PowerTrace, which is designed allow you to convert bit map images into editable vector graphics. Once the image is in a vector format, you can control the color, sharpness and other attributes of the image (or different parts of it). The new version also makes it easier to attach text to path (e.g. a curve) and adds context-sensitive Hints feature.

In order to help users discern what features have been added to CorelDraw Graphics Suite X3, menu options for new features are highlighted to alert users. The new suite, which encompasses CorelDraw X3, Corel Photo-Paint X3, Pixmantec RawShooter Essential, CorelCapture X3 and CorelDraw Handbook, also includes 10,000 clipart and digital images, 1,000 OpenType fonts, 100 templates for business cards, brochures and so on, and a training video from Lynda.com.

The graphics suite will be available in February for $399 ($179 for upgrades).

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel and EarthWeb's Networking & Communications Channel.

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