Beware the Academic Version of CorelDRAW

November 20, 2007

I got an e-mail last night from someone asking why they were unable to get the Jigsaw Puzzle Creator add-on to CorelDRAW to work. I noticed that the e-mail came from someone with a .edu e-mail address and asked if he was using the Academic version. Sure enough, that was the problem.

Just so we’re clear, the special version is called CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X3 Student and Teacher Edition. It is created so those in the academic community with limited budgets can still afford to work with CorelDRAW. Most of the popular software packages are available in Academic versions. Anyone who is a student or teacher, and can prove it, is eligible to buy. The package retails for $99 and sells for only $79.99 at Amazon.

Now let’s talk about why it truly costs less and why you shouldn’t be buying it. There are no printed manuals included. Obviously Corel can save money by not having to print the books and the decrease in the box weight helps on shipping costs. The hidden trap is that VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) is not included. It is a Microsoft product and Corel has to pay licensing fees to include it. So by leaving it out, they save a few more bucks on this special edition. This is what bit the person posing the e-mail question to me. For the most part, this eliminates all plug-ins and add-ons for CorelDRAW from working!

There are also some legalities about the Academic version that are often overlooked. You can’t use it to make money. How many people are buying it to save money that are truly going to be using it for their business? My guess is that a large percentage of sales would violate this rule. The Academic version is not eligible for upgrades. So when you realize that VBA is not included or that you shouldn’t be using it, you must buy the full version.

From time to time I hear grumbling about the “high cost” of CorelDRAW. The people who tend to complain the most are those using it to run their business. They have machines costing tens of thousands of dollars being run entirely by CorelDRAW…which costs $399 for the full version before discounts. Sure sounds like a bargain to me.

So before you run out and buy the Student and Teacher Edition, think about how you will be using it and what is missing. If you own any previous (non-Academic) version of CorelDRAW, you are eligible for the upgrade. It lists for $179 and sells for $159.99 at Amazon. For those of you who have been using an Academic version or if you are simply a new user, you’ll need the full version. It lists for $399 and sells for $306.99 at Amazon. I just hate to see users who can’t realize the full power of CorelDRAW because they decided to save a few bucks and thus missed out on all the cool stuff that VBA brings to the table.

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3 Comments

  1. A.M.

    I bought the educational version while I was taking classes from an online academy – my version DOES have VBA included (in fact, there is no functional difference at all from the one I bought as compared to the retail version). However, the one I have isn’t labeled “student and teacher” edition; it’s labeled “education edition” so perhaps there’s different “flavors” of school versions. Granted there’s no books or manuals, but I’ve been using Corel since 1993 and haven’t run into anything too difficult 🙂 I don’t use my home version for anything but personal projects so I’m not worried about commercial use.

    Thanks,
    Anna McCullough

    Reply
  2. Foster D. Coburn III

    Anna,

    You are correct that from time to time Corel has included VBA in the academic version. Unfortunately there is no way to know if it will be included or if it will be excluded. Corel has not been very forthcoming with information on VBA inclusion. So I feel it is best for people to not buy the academic as they are really rolling the dice as to what will or won’t be included.

    Reply
  3. Mike Herberth

    Foster – I have the Academic version, not the Student and Teacher version. I WAS able to use my existing plugins, the Kai’s package AND the bukka(sp) filter. Suddenly, and I mean suddenly, I can use none of them and vba is missing. This happened, near as I can tell, after the last “hotfix” update. I have completely removed X6 (apps, user files, etc.), rebooted and reinstalled from the distribution DVD with no joy. VBA is installed, the macro/vba deitor works, but no plugins. this is crazy!

    I’ve been a commercial and private user of Corel since Draw 2. I’m not “getting over”, I only use it now for personal projects. I have often sniped at the lack of information and support from corel. This just kind of seals the deal – I cannot get any help from Corel unless I pay for it, graphics that I have already created can no longer be modified, and I am rather pi**ed off at this point!

    As much as I don’t really want to, I am about 98% convinced that I will allocate Corel to the dustbin next to my Hayes modem and Lotus 1-2-3 floppies. I can buy a year of Creative Suite for the cost of ONE Corel upgrade, I get the full resources of CS AND I get answers directly from Adobe when/if I have a problem.

    Admittedly, the Academic version doesn’t pay the bills for corel but wtf – if I, as a student, had this kind of experience with the product I sure as heck wouldn’t go out of my way to use it commercially…

    Reply

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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