Corel adds Office support to latest graphics suite

Corel's new graphics suite includes a tool for exporting files into Office documents, and features improved text handling

Corel launched CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12, the latest version of the company's flagship application, on Wednesday. The new package will be available in February and includes support for Office file formats and new tools aimed at speeding up the design process.

This is the first major update of its products since Corel was bought out by venture capital firm Vector Capital last summer for around $100m. The company subsequently laid off 18 percent of its already reduced staff, saying it would concentrate on key products such as CorelDraw and WordPerfect.

Brett Denly, Corel's executive vice president of worldwide marketing, claimed the performance of version 12 goes beyond anything that users will have seen before: "CorelDRAW Graphics Suite now responds in ways never before possible. It builds a deeper partnership between designers and their tools -- providing software that intelligently interprets and reacts to the user's needs," he said in a statement.

Eighteen months after the last update, this latest version of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite includes an "Export for Office" feature that allows graphic files to be easily inserted into Microsoft Office documents, such as text files, spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. The suite also includes a Smart Drawing Tool, which is able to automatically recognise when the designer is drawing certain shapes, such as circles or triangles, so it can "intelligently" smooth curves and reduce the amount of time spent creating a draft design.

For the first time, the suite also supports Unicode text, which allows users access to more than 65,000 unique characters, making it easier to create and share documents using a broad range of languages. Corel says it has also improved the way users can manipulate text with an enhanced layout and improved functionality when using a high zoom level.

In December, the Canadian company announced it would not be producing any new versions of its suite for the Apple Mac.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12, which includes CorelDRAW 12, Corel PHOTO-PAINT 12, Corel RAVE 3, CorelTRACE 12 and Corel CAPTURE, will be available in mid-February. The full version will cost £359 (ex. VAT), while upgrades will cost £179 (ex. VAT).