Don’t Create Massive CorelDRAW Files!

July 8, 2010

I heard from a loyal reader the other day. He had created a CorelDRAW file bigger than 2 GB. The file was loaded with images in the form of contact sheets. Now the file won’t open, won’t import and the user wanted to know how to recover the data within.

It isn’t the answer that anyone wants to hear, but the reality is that the file is lost forever. Remember that CorelDRAW files are compressed. So a 2 GB file on disk could be 2-5 times that big when uncompressed. Windows just can’t deal with files that big.

Let’s talk more about this specific project as I was told the pages were contact sheets of images. Let’s say that each page has 30 images on it. If those images were imported from digital camera files and then sized down to a thumbnail, there is a lot more data than is needed. After placing and sizing the images, they should have been resampled down to a lower resolution. As thumbnails, they could be 2000 dpi or more. Depending on the project, the necessary resolution could be 150-300 dpi. That alone could bring down the file size dramatically.

Even a single page filled with thumbnails of high resolution images wouldn’t make a 2 GB file. I don’t know how many pages were in the file, but I’m guessing quite a few. If that’s the case, keep the number of pages in the file down to a reasonable number. For a file like this, four pages per file is more than enough.

If you have any file larger than 500 MB, you are opening yourself to the possibility of losing the file. Stay under that limit and you’ll have fewer problems. Of course I also feel that all users from rank beginners to even the most advanced user would benefit from my CorelDRAW X5 Unleashed book. It teaches you the proper techniques for file creation and output.

Post Discussion


  1. Techdesys

    Your last paragraph – I think you mean 500 MB not GB. Also, the statement that Windows can’t handle a 2 GB file is not really correct. I routinely work with 20-30 GB files using Matlab in Windows 7 64-bit with no problems. I do have 32 GB of RAM which helps, but I’ve also done nearly this much just by properly sizing the swap file and only 8 GB RAM. So it’s not a Windows limitation. May be a CorelDraw limitation however, and I can’t speak to that – from my own experience anyway.

  2. Foster D. Coburn III

    You are correct, I did mean 500 MB and I have modified the original post to show that now.

    Matlab is most likely not keeping the entire file in memory at once and/or it is a 64-bit application. CorelDRAW is a 32-bit application.

    I’m basically trying to tell users that if they want to try and create a file that large, they are asking for trouble.

  3. Mark

    I agree with your technical comments…and yes, TOC creation/updates really should be done in a wordprocessor like MS Word, etc. or maybe in a publishing pgm. That said, as far back as 1993, I’ve been creating 100-150+ pg Plan documents that combine text, graphics, and maps using CorelDRAW. Draw has the one big advantage of allowing the user to kern individual words and letters and shift graphics as necessary during the revision/redrafting stage to make things still fit into a specific number of pages. So, while my workflow now focuses much more on the Office suite + Adobe Pro, I continue to rely on DRAW and Photopaint for preparing the visuals. ArcGIS can also output to postscript that can then be further edited within DRAW for final presentation and export to Word, facilitating a printed document that includes the benefits of GIS output ..

  4. Lars Forslin

    I think you are rignt about the 500 MB recommended limit Foster. It would be a lot easier to keep under that limit if the linking of images was more dependable. Often you lose contact with the images if you link them when trying to avoid large fines. So linking images is a troublemaker in itself, even though it should be something that made it safer.


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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III built his first Web site in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013. He has used the Divi theme exclusively since 2015. Earlier in his career he was the 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.

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