Xara Designer Pro X9 is a powerful graphics tool which combines illustration, photo editing, desktop publishing and web design into a single application.

There's enormous depth here. The drawing tools aren't just an easy way to add squares and circles to your design, for instance. You can also draw freehand; edit shapes with ease; click and drag them to create a shaded 3D version,or blend from one shape to another. The program can apply a host of special effects to your shapes; add shadows, bevels and contours; create graduated transparency and feathering effects (yes, even on vector shapes), and the list goes on.

There's just the same attention to detail and functionality elsewhere. The photo editor supports Photoshop plugins, includes a panorama editor, and a vector tracer to convert bitmaps into editable vector shapes. The WYSIWYG web designer is extremely easy to use, yet still gives you enormous control over your design, as well as (for instance) allowing you to create particularly efficient Flash animations. And excellent standards support allows you to import RAW and PSD files, export PDFs and produce CMYK colour separations.

New features this time include an easy-to-use Background Erase tool, which helps you quickly cut a complex object out of a photo (a person, say) and paste them elsewhere. The Healing tool can erase anything from scratches and blemishes to very large objects from an image, so that you'll never know they were there. And you can get even more creative than ever with your image, courtesy of eleven new Photo FX Plug-ins.

Web design additions include Google Web Fonts integration, Retina screen compatibility and Google Analytics support. There's improved HTML5 and CSS3 compatibility, background handling, object recolouring, navbar management and publishing. New widgets include a handy table option, which allows your pages to include sortable tables based on CSV files.

Text improvements include Word DOCX file import/ export filters, and quicker and easier ways to create flowing text areas (including across multiple columns), page numbers, page and column breaks, and more.

And of course there's a vast amount of new content, including web and print themes, backgrounds, logo designs and more.


Xara Designer Pro X 9 is an amazingly versatile graphics tool with a very lengthy list of features, which somehow still remains easy to use.