Not Importing Old Workspaces in CorelDRAW X8 is a Good Thing

March 21, 2016

A few years ago I wrote Never Import Workspaces From a Previous Version. Why? It’s quite simple, it almost always leads to severe instability. The users have crashing problems will reset their workspace and then immediately re-import the old workspace insuring that the crashing continues. Just don’t do it!

Both CorelDRAW X7 and CorelDRAW X8 won’t allow you to import a workspace from a previous version. While I’d like to think it was to prevent the crashing problems, it really is because of new features. CorelDRAW X7 went to a new file format for workspaces. CorelDRAW X8 has added two important features that prevent it from even importing a workspace from CorelDRAW X7.

What are those two important new features? The first is the ability to choose from a light, medium or dark interface. Some users will stick with the gray that has been around for years while others will opt for one of the darker shades. It is your installation and you get to choose what you like best.

The other big feature is the ability to scale the interface for higher resolution displays. Sure, CorelDRAW has had a choice between small, medium and large icons for years. But large really just scaled the medium icons and didn’t look so great. Even on a 4K monitor, the large icons were tiny. So now the interface features icons that can better scale to a number of resolutions and they are stored in an entirely different file format. These scalable icons are the feature in CorelDRAW X8 that excites me the most.

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  1. Ike

    Foster, I’ve been grateful for your presence in the Corel community for well over a decade, both in print and online, but I feel the need to jump in here on this topic as I feel you’re being just a mite too optimistic, even glib concerning the issue of workspace/customization migration, especially now that nothing’s easy. For those of us on upgrade paths which preclude side-by-side installation, and who failed to note, however Corel-obsessed we are, prior to upgrade that there’s no longer an easy means to import workspaces (nor a worthwhile or safe XML-editing workaround) those of us with multiple sets of highly-tuned toolbars (I remember custom button actions fondly, but what of all the scripters further down the rabbit-hole?) have no choice but to try to rebuild these entirely from memory and screenshots, if we were fortunate enough to take them. That’s hours of work. Some of us even remove unused keyboard shortcuts, there’s another 45 minutes to an hour down the drain. Testing all the macros and VBA scripts, trying to figure out where to put buttons for any NEW features we might want to use… Then repeat ALL OF THAT for PP.

    Now, granted, thankfully my time isn’t worth very much, and I can afford to futz around and trudge through all of that for a new install. So far X8 has provided me with nothing –save the novelty of tinted UI elements– to compensate for the fact that I still don’t have my familiar control layouts and an interface that’s just right! That directly impinges upon usability, and while I’m aware that I’m pickier than the average user, Corel’s products have always offered customisation and UI superiority without peer in the field, as a major selling point, and there not being some way for even diehard users to maintain portability of these workspaces is disappointing.

    We’ve come a long way from the days when your Corel box included folded cardpaper keyboard templates, but I’m afraid that without some official attention to this usability hit we’re sliding away from magnificence just a bit, and risking reliance on gimmicks like the tintable UI.

    • Foster D. Coburn III

      The importing of workspaces from previous versions was interesting in theory. But in reality it was a disaster. When a feature just flat out doesn’t work, it gets removed. As for X8, I don’t use and won’t use it even though I have a copy. It simply makes me less productive than the X6 that I continue to use. That loss of productivity has nothing to do with workspaces, I love the new interface. It is all the other features that take more clicks or simply perform very slowly that turns me off.


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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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