Limit Your Pages

June 18, 2009

I got an emergency e-mail from someone yesterday that sounded all too familiar. This user had spent fifteen hours creating a nine page file. Now the file won’t open because one object in the file was corrupt. Of course it was needed immediately. Since I know this user fairly well and know how their files are used, it really was due immediately and is used by multi-millionaires on a regular basis.

Believe me, Corel should make their files foolproof so this doesn’t happen. The reality is that file corruption can be a problem and it can also be avoided. In all my years of using CorelDRAW, I’ve yet to have a file go corrupt except in the case of a physical hard drive failure. And in that case I had backups. Whew!

So now for me to rant a bit about the way you use CorelDRAW. There are many users who want to use CorelDRAW to lay out long documents. Some users even proudly profess how they created documents with hundreds or even a thousand pages. Even if file corruption wasn’t an issue, you are wasting hours upon hours of time by using the wrong software for the job. CorelDRAW is illustration software that has the ability to lay out short documents. Yes, you can have up to 9999 pages (heck, it may be more). But when you push the limits, you get burned!

Typically I suggest keeping documents to no more than four to eight pages. I might make an exception if the pages contain a limited number of objects. If you must create a longer document, make it up as a series of files limited to four pages. Then create a master document to import each of the smaller documents or simply combine the files together when you print or Publish to PDF.

I also highly recommend you create your files in stages. Every hour or so, rename the file with a new name. This way you can always go back to a slightly older file if the most recent goes corrupt. Of course you should also have a backup strategy for all of your artwork, but that is a topic for another day.

Those of you creating long documents on a regular basis should really look at using CorelDRAW for its strengths (graphics) and then combining that with a program designed for laying out documents. My favorite has always been Corel Ventura but I am slowly migrating to Adobe InDesign due to a lack of Corel support for Ventura. Even Serif PagePlus is a nice lower-cost alternative that is better suited to longer documents.I think this is a problem Corel should address by reviving Ventura. Unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen.

Many users say Corel should add features to CorelDRAW to make it work better for long documents. They want page numbering, headers/footers and more. I really think it would be a disaster to go down this road. CorelDRAW may become better at longer documents by doing this. But have you heard the term “jack of all trades, master of none”? These features would undoubtedly bloat the program and it wouldn’t be as good for the areas where it is great today. You don’t use a chain saw to cut boards do you? It might work, it just isn’t the best tool for the job!

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a comment and tell me what you think.

Post Discussion


  1. Judy Cain

    I truly fail to understand why Corel refuses to update the programming in Ventura and simply include it in the box with Corel Draw. Perhaps it is the fact that the users know more about the program than the company at this point. You are a company that has struggled to keep up and are sitting on the best layout program for long documents and are willing to flush it down the drain?! Beyond comprehension!!

  2. Philip

    I agree completely. Leave Corel Draw as it is. I create and save in Draw,and print a pdf 1 page at a time, and then combine the 250 pdf files in Acrobat. This way I still have all my original .cdr files. When I have a change in 1 page it is easily updated in the large pdf file.

  3. Jeff Harrison

    Hi, regarding headers and footers, I suppose this is already possible with master layers. As for page numbers, thankfully there are macros out there to assist with this. I can think of no less than 3!

    The problem is that none of them intelligently update the pages if you add or delete one. The best macro is able to clear away and existing ones in this case, and then you can regenerate them. Perhaps someday that macro will support presets for easy saving and regeneration.

    Regarding large files, I get nervous over anything over 200 MB. My usual working files are under 10 MB. I have created a few corrupted files, X4 was the first version to give me grief in that regard.


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