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Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £50
inc VAT

Powerful new warping and brush tools take Photo & Graphic Designer to lofty new heights.


OS Support: Windows 7/8/8.1/10, Minimum CPU: Celeron, Sempron or newer, Minimum GPU: N/A, Minimum RAM: 500MB, Hard disk space: 300MB


There’s a long list of minor new features, such as the ability to generate spirals and ready-made boxes for dropping in a photo and caption. These can be customised using simple handles rather than having to grapple with the underlying vector tools. Text can be given a background colour – ideal for highlighting a passage. PDFs with embedded fonts can be imported when the font isn’t installed locally, and fonts can be replaced en masse throughout the document via a right-click option.Xara text box

^ Picture boxes complete with caption are created with just a couple of clicks, and are easy to resize while keeping their structure intact

The name of the software suggests that it’s as much about photos as vector graphics. This isn’t a true bitmap editor with the ability to open, edit and save photos at their native resolution – instead you have to go via the Export menu and choose suitable settings to maintain quality. Even so, there’s a lot that can be done with photos, whether they’re on their own or part of a larger graphic design project. The highlight is the bundled copy of Magic Bullet PhotoLooks 2, which made its first appearance in version 10 and provides a suite of sophisticated photo filters. These are all about evoking a mood and bringing out colours and detail, and there are some stylish presets plus meticulous control over settings.

Back in the main interface, there are options to colour-correct, clone, heal, stitch panoramas and change the aspect ratio of photos without distorting the main subject. There’s also a selection of more conventional filters such as blur, warp and pencil sketch. Unlike in conventional bitmap editors, these filters are applied non-destructively so it’s always possible to go back and amend or remove these effects.


As a serious graphic design and desktop publishing tool, Photo & Graphic Designer is slightly limited by its lack of CMYK support, page-numbering and advanced text-formatting tools. For these features, Xara Designer Pro X11 is a better option, although at £220 it’s a lot more expensive. Photo & Graphic Designer also lacks RAW-processing and conventional layer-based bitmap editing tools, so most people will also need an image editor such as Photoshop Elements 13. However, Xara takes a wide range of other graphic design tasks in its stride. It’s competitively priced, and it’s great to see it going from strength to strength.

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System requirements
OS SupportWindows 7/8/8.1/10
Minimum CPUCeleron, Sempron or newer
Minimum GPUN/A
Minimum RAM500MB
Hard disk space300MB
Buying information
Price including VAT£50

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