Goodbye Mac, hello PC!

A Senior Graphic Designer joins the Corel team and learns to embrace the PC life.

Are you a Mac or a PC? I believe this statement is viewed as something much larger than simply computer platforms, it’s as personal as asking “Are you right-winged or lefty?” I have always addressed the Mac vs PC debate with an adamant “Mac!” After all, am I not the exact creative individual Mac makes their products for?

I mean, I own a pair of converse, and a hoodie, and if I required glasses they would be the thick-rim, funky kind. I consider myself this forward-thinking individual who eagerly embraces change, but why have I never even questioned changing my computer platform and becoming “multi-platform”? So what happens when a designer who has spent her entire career and university training working with Adobe programs on a Mac enters the world of Corel and uses a PC? I was about to find out…

While the design of Mac computers are beautiful, I was surprised to discover that there are a variety of PC computers to choose from, a variety of ways the systems can be set up for each user, and a variety of software programs and hardware components that can be used with the PC. The image in my mind of the oversize d computer with the bland gray desktop circa 1995 are long gone. There are differences in approach and style, but I now realize that you can get the job done with a Mac or a PC and we can all get along! Really, we can.

After a few weeks of getting acquainted with a PC, I started my position as a Senior Graphic Designer at Corel. Not only was I excited to work for a creative brand, but I have the Corel products to thank for sparking my interest in design when I was a youth. As I took the first step and opened CorelDRAW, a flood of relief came over me as I saw my toolbar with all my tools (even in the same order!) that I was so accustomed to. I proceeded to set up my page and guides with no problems, and then I discovered my layers, swatches, fonts… they were all there! My first thought was to try out the illustration capabilities. The results were the same as Illustrator, but with a few minor differences to get there. If you are making the switch to CorelDRAW, here are a few tips I have learned:

  • A general Mac to PC tip is that the Control key is your Command key, once you get used to this, most of your shortcuts are the same.
  • You can change your workspace to resemble Illustrator.
  • Outlines are called Curves in CorelDRAW .
  • Gradient is called Fountain.
  • Your right click will become your best friend.
  • “Type on a path” is “Fit text to path” in CorelDRAW , and there are actually more options for this function than in Illustrator.
  • There are no glyphs buttons, they are done using shortcut commands.
  • You must use guides to set up your bleed and slug.
  • Keep your view in “Enhanced ” to always view your work in high quality.
  • The “Live Trace” function is called “Trace Bitmap” and is found in your top toolbar.
  • The pen tool is very similar, however to have more control over your nodes there is a top bar with node options.

After years of wishing Illustrator and InDesign could get together and have a baby that would allow for multiple pages and illustration to coincide, I was shocked to discover CorelDRAW offers that solution! And many others, including bringing different file formats into CorelDRAW .

So for all the creative individuals who fear, as I did, that they will lose the functions of their much-loved graphics software, I encourage you to explore the Corel products. Not only do they compare in form and function, but they are actually more intuitive, cost-efficient and offer you solutions to the issues that have caused you on so many occasions to say “If only I could do this…” There is a world outside Mac, and it ain’t so bad.

Have you made the switch to a PC or to Corel products? I would love to hear any tips you may have and I promise to share any I come across in my upcoming posts. Cheers.

About Chantal MacDonald

Chantal has recently joined the Corel team as a Senior Graphic Designer. She serves as a lead designer on design projects, developing and producing creative design concepts for Corel communications, marketing, packaging and promotional materials. Chantal is a self-described design and typography nerd, creative thinker and Starbucks addict.
This entry was posted in Graphic design, Mac and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Goodbye Mac, hello PC!

  1. jargraweb says:

    It seems the general corporate philosophy is following this feeling as well, evidenced by the utter neglect of the Mac’s 64 bit version in the release of Painter 12. Despite how many ways or times the “issues” with a Windoze system can be ameliorated with a judicial dose of positive attitude, the fact is there will NEVER be a day when they will be popularly preferred by creatives – over Mac, and rightfully so as anyone whom has ever used both extensively knows. Therefore, I for one would very much appreciate the same amount of effort being put into Mac upgrades as there evidently are being poured into PC, by Corel.

    • Chantal MacDonald says:

      Thanks for the feedback re: 64 bit support. I have shared your comment with the product team. Cheers.

  2. Isaac says:

    Anybody in the creative or technical industry should be obliged to know about all the tools at their disposal, if not be expert in them. Come on, if you’re a “Mac” person, you should know what a Windows/PC world is like and vice-versa, or else how do you know you are making the “right” choice? I’m glad you finally “saw the light”, but I wonder how much of that is due to your paymaster?

    On another note:
    As part of my work (not a graphic artist or photographer), I have to use both Adobe & Corel products. I started with both at around the same time, the only “prejudice” I have is that all of my friends & acquaintences are always Adobe/Photoshop people. Even amongst the crew here, Corel is seen as the “poor man’s alternative”.

    However, having worked with both for a while, I’m not sure why. Adobe certainly has a more polished _looking_ interface, but that’s about all. If you are not familiar with either, both have learning curve of course, I don’t see one as more intuitive than another. Both are equally capable (though certain very specific capabilities may differ). I did a massive “shootout” between our Adobe & Corel tools and free ones (e.g. GIMP) and for my money, I picked Corel. In fact there were some exceedingly annoying things with Adobe products (even on a 4-core workstation, exceedingly slow help system, a general resource hog, no customizing my workspace, etc). Although I think a pro should always have both kicking around. Even though I have both at my command and I’m not paying for it, I find myself firing up the Corel tools most of the time.

    • Chantal MacDonald says:

      Hi Isaac,

      It’s cool that you compared both products. I agree, it’s essential to have the ability to move between platforms and products so that you have access to a full creative range. As I see it, good design is good design (or photography/illustration/whatever your creative passion may be), the products are simply your tools and I have to say I’m sincerely impressed with the new tools I’ve acquired… it’s been a pretty smooth transition.


  3. Pingback: Goodbye Mac, hello PC! - Gérard on Graphics -

  4. Hi Chantal McDonald,
    Liked the post you wrote. And insightful it is.

    I presently sits at a McDonalds in Stockholm, SWEDEN having a nice cup of properly grind whole coffee beans brewed coffee. A sandwhich with whole wheat, big sallad, ham, tomato and cheeze. Its clean and nicly furnished and the sun is shining this lovely summer day.

    We get surprised everyday dont we.

    I am an illustrator, graphic designer and artist. Been using CorelDRAW and Photo-Paint since 1997. And have loved it ever since. I have used Photoshop when not infront of my own computer. In 1995 yes the PCs looked horrible. Dull and simply felt “warzaw pact – Eastern europe pre 1989”.

    I wrote an article that was published in 1999-ish in a magazine for the Swedish association for illustrators & graphic designers, talking about similar things/approach. Mac are great computers and they make great design – but they do all look similar all the time. It must be both hard and easy to be the chief deisgner at Apple.

    Stefan Lindblad

    • Chantal MacDonald says:

      First of all, the McDonalds in Stockholm sounds much nicer than ours 🙂 Secondly, I love your blog! I’m definitely going to follow it, there’s some great CorelDRAW tips and inspiration.


      • Glad you like the blog! I write basically the same thing in the swedish language version – see the flag. I know I am probably one of the very few writing about CorelDRAW and Photo-Paint in Sweden. And get a nice share of people searching on the subject coming to my both language blogs.

        Yes the McDonalds over here are useally nice looking, but then Stockholm, Seden is a design loving town. And they need to keep up with their competition.

        There is one McDonalds that look like a librarie and have a huge original wall painting by one the most famous scandinavian painters. Who lived arounf 1900. Its protected by glas. And its probably about 5 meters wide.

  5. Sarah Spinner says:

    As a young Illustrator employed by the United States Department of Defense, I was surprised to learn I’d be required to to use CorelDRAW. Five years later I can’t see myself returning to Adobe Illustrator to produce ANYTHING. Part of me fears that I’ve locked myself into a small niche, but everytime I open Illustrator to broaden my horizons I find myself incredibly frustrated. What a conundrum!

  6. Mosh says:

    Never fancied a mac over a PC. I’ve worked with both (typing this down on a mac… using Windows). I have never understood this stereotype of needing a macintosh computer if you are a designer. I cannot even fathom how can a web designer work with a mac, given the fact that the most popular browser in the world is not available for this platform. Anyway, I haven’t met a single occasion where I could have worked better with the mac OS. I have used CorelDraw, Painter and Photoshop for my work, and Windows is the only way to have those three sitting altogether. Furthermore, I love Windows 7 ; )

  7. I’m a Mac person and the one thing I hate about it is that Corel will not release a Mac version. So, I’m stuck with crappyass Illustrator. If Corel ever makes Draw available for the Mac, I will switch faster than I can blink, as I used it from version 3-11 and loved it.

    (and no, using a windows emulator is not an option I’m interested in)

    • Mosh says:

      That’s what I had thought at first but installing Parallels + Windows 7 on the mac I use has proven worthwhile to me. I only had to install more RAM (8Gb in total), but it works almost as smoothly as on my PC. And of course, the ability to use DRAW for my work is unlocked.

  8. Chantal MacDonald says:

    Wow, I’m so happy to see that I’m not alone, keep the encouragement coming…

  9. gonzods says:

    I’m a Graphic Designer in Colombia, I haven’t work on mac, but I have being working on Illustrator and Corel for a least 5 years, personally y prefer to work in corel, it’s more friendly. But I always said that it doesn’t matter where you work or… on which plataform do you work, if you do what you like.. the thing that passionates you, you will do a great job… The thing is work on the program that makes you confortable, that will always bring a good result.

  10. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to use Mac but every time I get into a discussion with someone who insists that Mac or Adobe is far superior, I have proved them wrong by showing them that the same things can be achieved with CorelDraw and PhotoPaint. I have been using CorelDraw since 1995. I started with Version 2. I love it and use it all day every day.

    • And if Corel ever released Draw for the Mac… Dare to dream. Adobe Illlustrator is one of the worst pieces of software I’ve ever used, but there isn’t a Corel alternative on OSx.

    • Nick Davies says:

      Great comments! As GM for our Graphics products at Corel, I am always interested in what our users around the world are saying about our software. One of the challenges we face as we develop new products and make updates to our existing portfolio, is how to best balance the development priorities identified by our users, with innovations that will result in a high quality product and a great user experience. As much as we genuinely try, we know we won’t please everyone right out of the gate, but we do listen to all of the feedback and incorporate it into our long term planning. I hope you’ll keep writing and sharing your perspectives, here on our company blog or by joining our CorelDRAW or Painter communities. Thank you for your support and for all of the passion you bring. It’s part of what makes our jobs so inspiring.

  11. I am a Corel PhotoPaint user since version 3, and I feel the pressure to switch to Photoshop/Mac every day. The fact that PhotoPaint is incredible well suited for webdesign (and the price tag of Photoshop) ties me up, but since version 9, the overall quality of the program started to be a concern to me. When Windows Vista where announced I almost made the jump.
    My feeling is that if Corel can deliver a bit of love to PhotoPaint and convince webdesigners to take a look, they will see a new world outside Adobe/Apple.

    • Chantal MacDonald says:

      Thanks for the feedback Dario! I have passed along your comment to our CorelDRAW development team. Cheers.

  12. I used Corel on Mac and PC through v11. When the Mac version was discontinued was the moment my university department shifted to Mac-only. At a university, you don’t get to install virtualization software: you use what’s licensed, just as in the corporate world. My wife and I are entirely Mac, and have used Apple products since the IIe. I have been a loyal Corel user since it came on a box of 3.5in disks.

    CorelDRAW would still be my preferences. Darn.

    Losing CorelDRAW was a sad loss. Almost as sad as losing FrameMaker for tech writing. Such in the software world. I also miss WordPerfect, because nothing has ever matched “reveal codes” to getting things just so.

    I love Painter, and use it alongside AutoDesk Sketchbook Pro. Both are great products, with different strengths.

  13. Mary Sickler says:

    I absolutely love CorelDRAW, Paint Shop Pro and WordPerfect. Come on Corel… Please make a Mac version!!! You would have so many new customers & I would purchase immediately; I have a brand new IMac, but use my PC laptop when I miss my Corel applications.

  14. Ray says:

    CorelDraw is amongst the reasons I will be staying with Mac OS 10.6 for as long as I can, because it won’t run under Mac OS 10.7. If Corel would listen to the numerous requests made just here, on this page, and bring back CorelDraw for Mac, I think there would many happy faces everywhere !

    As for running Paralells + Windows to get CorelDraw on a Mac… Try this : publish the next version of CorelDraw for Linux only, and tell your Windows users to install VMWare + Linux to get their favourite application back. Somehow, I don’t think it’ll work very well with them.

  15. Tiago says:

    I like Corel and I like Mac OS also, but I just don’t like Illustrador. I can use it, but don’t want to. Due to the growing number of new Mac users that are familiar to Corel, you should realese a new native MAC OS version of Corel Draw.

  16. RTWright says:

    I’m a graphics designer, photographer and I’ve used both Adobe and Corel products for some time now. I’ve worked in companies that had me on Macs only and I do my freelance work on a PC that I built for exactly what I do ( Something you can’t do anymore on Macs ). Hardware and everything on a Mac is identical to that of a PC in every way except for the OS. With all the advancements in Windows, all it is to me is a personal preference now. All the color corrections and profiles work pretty much the same as they do on a Mac ( Slight difference but not much ). So I don’t get drawn in to those heaving wars of Macs vs PCs because I’ve used both long enough to know that really, it’s all a matter of preference.

    I’m currently employing Adobe CS5 ( You have to have it when people bring you files from Adobe products to open ) and Corel X5. I’ve used CorelDRAW since version 3. DRAW has always impressed me with its ease of use. The only part of DRAW that I wish would change is the Layers section, that one I have to give to Adobe, they did that part of their UI perfectly. It’s not as confusing to look at. But pound for pound I can get exactly the same results in DRAW that I can in Illustrator. Though lately I feel that Corel has neglected Paint some, as it’s not advanced much as I would have liked to of seen it. Photoshop has really upped them a bit there.

    On my blog I wrote an article about how there were pros and cons for both DRAW and Illustrator uses. As I worked in the Sign Industry for a while too, DRAW wins hands down there. Purely because the art-board in DRAW can be made to fit the job, where you’re stuck with 227″ with Illustrator. Sorry but some signs are bit longer and taller than that and DRAW shines brightly here.

    The only thing I wish Corel would do, is put out a production manager that works within DRAW for controlling plotters for cutting and drawing. Instead of having to use programs like Flexi to import DRAW files into ( Which can be problematic ). Then Corel would have a super strong foothold in the Sign Industry where no one else at this time can compare.

    Anyway I really love your post and will keep coming back to visit as often as I can. Very nice to see others using DRAW, it deserves a better spotlight for certain and can’t wait to see what is in the future for X6 and beyond!

    • Chantal MacDonald says:

      Hi Rob,

      Thank you so much for your comments, I have passed them on to the product team. I’ve been using DRAW for a bit now and I had actually forgotten about Illustrator’s width restrictions… I once had to create a graphic for a freight truck that was obviously longer than 227”, I was restricted to using Illustrator at the agency I was with, and the printing company would not accept the file at half size so I resorted to splitting the graphic into two files. You can imagine with the alignment and bleeds that this was not a fun task, so I am extra thankful for unrestricted document size!

      Also, I checked out your blog, good tips! I’ve added it to my list of design resources already.

  17. Rat says:

    I would like to chime in as one person who loves Corel Draw but reciently moved back to Mac. I think the advantages of this operating system are obvious but I don’t want to go into them here. What I would like to say is that I am moving to Adobe Illustrator. Why? because there is no modern version of Corel I can use.

    I know you used to use Mac and are now employed by corel and so aren’t likely admit that Corel Draw is not such a killer ap that it is worth losing out on MAC OS for it. Yes I have parallels and stil use Corel Draw from time to time and even though it’s well integrated, I just hate starting it, waiting for windows to load, it just sucks. I want to get rid of windows for ever, but I also want to use Corel Draw.

    I would think with modern api’s you should be able to look at a new version of Corel for the MAC.

    Did corel ever think that they are pushing MAC switchers into adobe’s hands, or are the so deluded as to think this software is good enough to put up with windows for?

    I’m not that concerned, I bought Illustrator and I’m happy with it. There are many things I liked better about Corel Draw and would switch back if I could. After two years I am starting to morn the loss of Corel Draw less and less. I hope you make a Mac before I pass the point of no return… your call.

    • John Falsetto says:

      Hi. I saw your response to Chantal’s post and wanted to offer a perspective from CorelDRAW product management. There are a number of factors that we have to weigh in before putting out each version of CorelDRAW. Most importantly, we have to make sure that we’re delivering the mix of features and functions that our CorelDRAW community is asking for and, right now, the vast majority of those users continue to be on Windows. The decision to develop a version of CorelDRAW native to the Mac platform is one that we continue to consider and messages like yours, and the others we receive, are important in helping us shape our future product direction. It’s not always easy, but we do try to balance meeting the needs of today’s customers with fulfilling the new preferences of our users, including their platform preferences. For now, we offer Corel Painter and CorelCAD on the Mac platform—as well as WinZip—and we’ll continue to introduce products for the Mac where we see there is an existing market demand.

      • Andy Carolan says:

        I have been a Corel GS user for many years now and am currently using X5. I also recently purchased Painter 12 which I also love using.

        However, I am now considering switching to the Mac platform and although moving painter over to the Mac will be easy thanks to it being available for OSX, I have the same problem as so many others in that Corel GS is still Windows only. Yes, there is the option of using Bootcamp/Parallels/VMWare Fusion, but I dont like the thought of running the OS I am trying to get away from on a new Mac simply to run Corel GS.

        I would argue that the market is there and waiting for Corel to natively return to the Mac platform. The popularity and success of the iPhone and more recently the iPad has introduced many people to the ease of use and quality of the Apple brand, these gateway devices often lead to people switching to the Mac platform… Currently, the only reasonable option open to Mac users is Adobe Illustrator. Corel GS is an amazing package representing exceptional value which I’m sure would give Adobe a run for its money.

        Many thanks for producing great software! Please consider bringing Corel back to the Mac 😉

      • Chantal MacDonald says:

        Hi Andy,

        Thanks for the great points about Mac compatibility! I have shared your comments with the product team. Cheers.

      • So, the “vast majority” of the users of a piece of software that is now only sold on the windows platform continue to be on windows? Sure, that may be true. In case you hadn’t not noticed people are using macs more and more and new generations are growing up with iPads and iPhones. IMNSHO if you don’t create a Mac version with companion app for iOS (for the releative cost these days, which is reduced by high level programming and api’s) you a potentiall missing out on a big market and simply allowing the competition to increase it’s visibility/traction. How many “how to build a vector… ” searches show results of tutorial using illustrator ? There used to be more for Corel, but I think now there are more for Illustrator…

        I know if I were making decisions at Corelcorp, Mac and iOS would be in my roadmap.
        Get a small tight tam of smart people an make the app. 😉

      • Greetings – As I have been in the graphics industry for over 20 years I understand the challenges that come with trying to please the client with a fantastic design and concept that will surpass their own vision. So Corel you do what you think will provide you with the best margins, profits and all that jazz. In our business we use both Windows 7 and OSX on a daily basis – as I am locked into using Corel from a historical account and using the Mac as most agencies and large firms that we work with supply us with AI files built natively on the Mac. If I had to pick – I would go with the Mac in an instant. Personal preference – sure – but it really is clean, simple and stable.

        As the Mac market grows and more and more users are being enticed by the flashy and trendy “iEverythingoutthere” devices – it would seem a logical step for Corel to offer a Mac version of CorelDRAW. There is a new generation of kids that are already heading down that road – including my kids. If it is not infront of them now…

        I recently upgraded to CorelDRAW X6 – even though I was disappointed that there was not a OSX version release – I am happy so far with the new version.

        Maybe it is in the works in a secret lab somewhere in the far northern Canadian tundra. I do hope so.

  18. Andy Carolan says:

    Just wanted to add another post to this discussion because I believe that its something Corel need to consider very seriously. And would like to help keep this post alive.

    Apple have recently released their first Retina laptop. It is apparently selling very well with businesses being told to expect longer lead times of up to 4 weeks (increased from the initially announced 2). I can only guess that the retina revolution will continue its progression to the larger screen desktop Macs having previously appeared on the iPhone and then iPad. With this innovation in mind, I feel that this is another reason why the OSX platform would be an ideal progression for CorelDraw.

    As a further note, I used Illustrator for the first time the other day, and was amazed at how unfriendly and clunky the interface felt in comparison to CorelDraw. It lacks tools that I take for granted on Draw yet even standalone costs more than the complete Corel GS package.

    I intend to upgrade to a Mac soon and will have little choice but to take the inconvenient route of running CorelDraw within Parallels.

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