Xara Designer Pro X9

I am looking to see if anyone has good alternatives that they have used to Adobe Illustrator. I learned to use Adobe Illustrator in college for creating designs and i have used the trail but the cost is way too expensive for me to purchase. I also use Photoshop sometimes for editing pictures but I use Illustrator much more. I have tried alternate like Inkscape and GIMP but I found that their user interface was not as useful as Illustrator. I tried another search this morning ofr Illustrator alternatives and I discovered Xara based software. I was interested in Xara Photo & Graphic Designer but I decided that Xara Designer Pro X9 has the best of everything I need for a price that I can handle. Has anyone used Designer Pro and can give me a first-hand account of how it worked.
Matthew_BAsked:
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RedLondonCommented:
I've used Xara's vector illustration software for over 15 years, using it as my exclusive graphics application for creating images, logos,  and photo manipulation for hundreds of webpages (coding in Dreamweaver or by hand), for dozens of logos, hundreds of leaflets, posters, business cards and letterheads.

How it worked, best described as 'very smoothly'!

Work away, export as PNG for web, PDF for print, nobody knows I didn't use Adobe software, job done.  Very happy with it, though have not upgraded beyond Designer Pro v7 for no reason other than I'm lazy and I'm not missing anything.
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Matthew_BAuthor Commented:
Red London,
  Thanks for the in-depth review. Does it handle .ai files from Illustrator. i would really hate to loose the files I have created. Do you have a company website I would love to see some of your designs.
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RedLondonCommented:
Not really I'm afraid - I jacked in web development 3-4 years ago and that's just about long enough for most of what I did to have since been replaced.  A couple of pages still exist on my old site at http://goo.gl/wmQ1aW and http://goo.gl/qYlP3Z but the target web links are mostly changed now.

I have opened many .ai files over the years, earlier versions of Xara Designer (before it was called Designer) had problems opening some files, but I don't remember any significant problems with later releases.

I still use it regularly, mainly for annotating screenshots and producing technical instructions, but also for business stationery.  Most of the Illustrator files I've opened in the past have been from sites like brandsoftheworld.com when looking for corporate logos, but in recent years I've just searched for a corporate document in PDF, opened the PDF into Xara, and nabbed the vector logo from there.

Have you installed the current trial?  I've not even looked at v8 or v9, but usually the Pro trials are for 7 days but as you're running it, you can give your email address and the trial extends to 30 days.  Give it a go with some of your existing files - I think the import has improved in most recent versions, certainly the PDF export has.
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RedLondonCommented:
This kind of thing is a minute or two, I'm sure it's possible in any application
xara.jpg
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MereteCommented:
@RedLondon what have you posted?

Hello Matthew_B  have you looked at the manual?
Xara Designer Pro X9 supports importing
JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF, PSD, and RAW photos) and key vector types (eg PDF and AI/EPS, SVG, and EMF/WMF).
Intro and Features
look to the bottom
http://www.xara.com/us/designer-pro/features/
then in the advanced
http://www.xara.com/us/designer-pro/advanced/
It's a marvelous program but prefer my Corel Paintshop Pro /Coral Draw and have two versions installed shop around for the best bargains as there is so many different versions to these tools
youtbe has a dedicated site
http://www.youtube.com/channel/HC0ml-lDu3J3g

Best Alternatives To Adobe Illustrator
http://www.onextrapixel.com/2011/03/15/10-best-alternatives-to-adobe-illustrator/
combined with Paint dot net
http://www.getpaint.net/
And Inkscape which you know
Microsoft Ice
Microsoft Image Composite Editor is an advanced panoramic image stitcher
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ice/
Real World Paint
http://www.rw-designer.com/image-editor
 and even Power Point
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Matthew_BAuthor Commented:
RedLondon,
  I downloaded the Designer Pro Trial last night and will continue to use it for the next several weeks. It looks very promising alternate to Illustrator. Where did you buy your copy. i looked around and Amazon didn't have it. The only sites I found that sell it are Xara's actual site and ebay.com (which does give a discount). The only reason I mention this is I like to shop around to try and save money.
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RedLondonCommented:
I've always bought upgrades from xara.com

Upgrades are cheaper than outright purchases. They sell old versions cheaply on eBay: if you can be bothered you could save a few quid if you buy the old version on eBay, register it, then buy the upgrade to Pro on xara.com

I'm not sure about buying second hand or non-xara stock: your serial number needs to be registered to your account in order to buy an upgrade. If you don't buy from them I don't know how that would work
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