32-vs-64-bitI don’t know about you, but anytime I get new software I want to install the absolute most powerful version of it available. Sometimes I have to step back and determine if that is the best answer for my needs. Today I am going to ask you if you truly need to install the 64-bit version of CorelDRAW (and Corel PHOTO-PAINT) X6. The best answer for you may be the 32-bit version.

When Microsoft released Office 2010, I immediately installed the 64-bit version of it. It had to be better than the 32-bit version, right? It took less than a day to realize that some of the add-ons I have for Office didn’t work with the 64-bit version. Then I asked myself if I was really going to create a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint slideshow that was so large I truly needed the 64-bit version? That’s was very easy to answer and I immediately uninstalled the 64-bit version and installed the 32-bit version. It still serves my needs quite well. If you prefer another Office suite, that’s fine as I’m simply using this as an example of software that comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Before the release of CorelDRAW X6, I asked you if there was one feature that would cause you to upgrade immediately and the most popular answer was a 64-bit version. Wanting that one feature and truly needing it are not the same thing. Do you routinely create files over 500 MB in size? Do you routinely have multiple 100 MB or larger files open at the same time? There is no doubt that some of you can say yes to either or both of those questions. Yet I’m guessing that only applies to a very small percentage of users. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was only 1-2% of users. If you aren’t creating or working with large files, you should probably be using the 32-bit version of CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT X6.

While Corel has released a 64-bit version of CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT, there may be a number of other areas where a 64-bit version of something is missing. This could mean you have less functionality if you use the 64-bit version. Some of you will immediately blame Corel when the reality is that the tools that aren’t available in 64-bit are not Corel products. I’ve covered some of these in previous posts. I’ve listed those below as well as some other areas where you may need to ensure you have a 64-bit version.

Photoshop Plug-Ins: If you are using the 64-bit version, you can only use 64-bit plug-ins. As only a limited number of plug-ins are available in 64-bit versions, you may be without many of your favorites. I covered this situation in detail in Photoshop Plug-ins and Corel PHOTO-PAINT Compatibility.

Scanning: In order to scan in the 64-bit version of CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT X6, you must have 64-bit TWAIN drivers. While you may have a driver that installs on your 64-bit operating system, I’ve yet to hear of any true 64-bit TWAIN drivers. There are workarounds to scanning in the 64-bit version and Corel has vowed to provide a better solution in the first service pack. This was covered in detail in CorelDRAW X6, 64-bits, Scanning, Twain Drivers and WIA.

Macros: Some macros will work with no modification in the 64-bit versions. Others will require being updated. If a macro important to your workflow isn’t available in a 64-bit version, this could have a huge impact on your productivity. I discussed this in detail in CorelDRAW Macros, Compatibility and Updates.

One of the three areas I’ve listed so far will affect nearly every user of the software. Maybe you use ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) drivers to link to a spreadsheet or database for use with Print Merge. It will need to be 64-bit if you want to use the 64-bit version of CorelDRAW. Or you may need an add-on to run a specialty printer, cutter or engraver. You better make sure it comes in a 64-bit version. I’m sure there are other areas I’ve left out. Please leave a comment if you know of something I’ve missed. Hopefully you’ve gotten the idea by now that you need everything in 64-bit to get the most out of CorelDRAW X6 64-bit.

Now for the really good news. If you purchase CorelDRAW X6, you get both the 32-bit and the 64-bit version of the software. Even better, you can install both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions side-by-side. This allows you to use everything you need with the 32-bit version and then switch to the 64-bit version when you truly need the extra power it provides.

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