CorelDRAW X4 Neuters Dialog Boxes on Vista

May 14, 2008

As I’ve been finishing up my CorelDRAW X4 Unleashed book, I’ve done screen shots of some dialog boxes in both Windows XP and Windows Vista so users can see the difference. According to Microsoft, Vista is supposed to be an improvement. Corel’s marketing tells us that CorelDRAW X4 has added features on Vista. To me, both of those claims are debatable. Does CorelDRAW X4 add some functionality on Vista? Yes it does. What isn’t mentioned is that some functionality is also removed when running on Vista.

This is most evident to me in the Open and Save dialog boxes in CorelDRAW. When running on Windows XP, the Open dialog box tells us the version of the file, compression information and more. It also offers to show a preview of the file. The Vista version of the dialog box has none of that. Yes, you could see a preview if you change the file viewing area to thumbnails. The Save dialog box on Windows XP allows you to enter Notes and Keywords. Vista users will have to select File | Document Properties to enter that information before saving. To me, this change in functionality is a major downgrade.

Today I learned of a workaround that will give you the Windows XP versions of the dialog boxes when running on Windows Vista. It is possible this solution will cause other problems, so please proceed with caution. Some users have reported that some other user interface elements change when you run this way.

Go to the folder on your hard drive where CorelDRAW is installed. Find coreldraw.exe. Press Alt + Enter to bring up the Properties dialog box. Select the Compatibility tab. Place a check in the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and select Windows XP (Service Pack 2) from the drop-down list. Repeat the process for corelpp.exe if you want to restore the PHOTO-PAINT dialogs. If you find that these changes are causing problems, you’ll have to uncheck the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” checkbox and go back to the normal Vista versions of the dialog boxes. Hopefully you can run problem free and you can have the more useful dialog boxes.

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  1. Stefan Lindblad - illustration & art

    Foster, you never stop to amaze me, in the most positive way.
    Again I have learned something new. And thats why I always treasure you site and knowledge. You and Jeff is doing great with your blog.

    All the best from Sweden

    Stefan Lindblad

  2. Val P.

    I left a comment yesterday, but it doesn’t seem to have gotten through or moderated.

    Foster, normally, you are right-on, but in this case, you’ve confused CorelDRAW functionality with Vista functionality and you clearly don’t quite have the Vista thing down yet. You can see as many details as you could possibly want in the File/Open dialog simply by choosing the right options.

    I’ve put up a quick tutorial on using the File/Open dialog details on my own blog for those who would like to see what’s really there.

    Have fun!
    Val P.

  3. Foster D. Coburn III


    Maybe you didn’t understand what I was complaining about. There is no way to bring it back just by customizing the Vista dialog boxes. Corel even admits that the dialogs have changed for the worse.

    In the File Open dialog box, the XP version shows the version of the file, the version it was saved from, the compression percentage of the file. All very useful information.

    The Save dialog box on XP allows you to enter keywords and notes for the file.

    There are similar problems with PHOTO-PAINT dialog boxes.

    Sure, you can customize the Vista dialogs to do some things, but they still aren’t nearly as useful as the XP dialogs.

  4. Val P.

    That’s just it, Foster. If I could post a screenshot here, I’d show you. (And I got it to stick. Just had to save one file with the settings.)
    I’m looking at an Open Drawing dialog with File Version in one column and Compression Ratio in another, and there’s a preview off to the right.
    In the Save As dialog, so long as you’ve got the details pane open, just click on the Tags section and you can add as many as you want. (Are tags the same as keywords? I don’t know. I never really used keywords in XP, but I do use tags at least occasionally in Vista.)
    The only thing in your list that I haven’t found is the version the file was created in if it was saved into a different version.

    OK, I’ve uploaded some screenshots, but the first two are each half the dialog so they wouldn’t be too large.
    Left half of Open dialog:
    Right half:
    Part of the Save As dialog:

  5. Foster D. Coburn III


    While you’ve gotten most of the information to show up by customizing the dialog in a way that the average user will never figure out, the solution is far from elegant. Nothing that you’ve done wrong, you just have to have the dialog open to a ginormous size to see all those extra columns. I have a huge screen and I would never want it to be that large.

    A better solution is having the information integrated into the dialog box as it was in previous versions. Users can still have it working this way in Vista with the suggestions I originally provided.

    I would venture a guess that 95% of users aren’t willing to use the advice of either of us and and will just curse Corel for removing the information.

    The best advice I can give anyway is to stay with XP. I’ve been running Vista for over a year and a half on one of my machines and I can find lots of downsides and not a single upside. My only hope is that Microsoft actually gets the next version of Windows right because Vista is awful.

  6. Val P.

    LOL, Foster. You’re probably right about that 95% of the users. Normally I don’t have near that many detail columns showing either, since I don’t need to see all that info most of the time and I can simply turn on whatever I do need if it’s not there.
    Personally, I never run anything in compatibility mode unless it just won’t run any other way. I’ve actually also come to like Vista quite a bit. I suspect it’s mostly all just what you like, what you use, and what you’re used to. Those of us who have been using Windows for years have some adjusting to do to work more efficiently in the new OS. The young folks seem to take to it more naturally.
    Have fun!
    Val P.


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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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