6:21:00 PM

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Create Glassy Rollover Buttons in CorelDRAW


If you've found yourself wishing that you knew how to create those cool, glass-like transparent buttons popular in certain interface designs, your wish is granted. I'm talking about those pill-shaped buttons that appear to be made from colored glass or see-though plastic. At first glance, the effect looks like something created with expensive 3D modeling software, but the truth is, you can come very close to illustrating the same effect by using just two or three carefully adjusted vector shapes. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use CorelDRAW√Ę to create glass objects like those shown below.

Create a Clear Glass Orb
Glass effects are influenced by such key factors as lighting direction, light intensity, reflection, focus, and color. In any solid transparent object, the color is darker at the outer edges than in the middle. Soft overhead lighting bounces off the shiny surface of the glass, creating a reflection of the light source. The more focused the reflection, the smoother the surface will be.

Using CorelDRAW to simulate glass effects involves carefully applying your vector objects with color and transparency effects. To demonstrate how color and lighting influence the effect, let's start with the simple creation of a colored glass object:

  1. Using the Ellipse Tool draw a circle that is roughly 2 inches in diameter. Holding the Ctrl key constrains the ellipse shape to a circle.

  2. For a color mode, use the default CMYK palette. If the color palette isn't in view, you can display it by choosing Window > Color Palettes > Default CMYK palette. With the circle still selected, click the Yellow well (C0, M0, Y100, K0) to set the circle's fill color. Choose the Interactive Fill tool (shortcut key G), and use the property bar options to set the Fill Type to Radial (see below).

  1. For precise adjustment of the fountain fill colors and color positions in this example, I recommend using the Fountain Fill dialog (press F11). To specify your fountain colors, click the Custom radio button. Click the far left (0 percent position) color marker (it's black when selected), and click the Others button to access more color options. Set the CMYK values to C40, M50, Y100, K20. Set the far right (100 percent position) color marker to C0, M0, Y100, K0. Double-click to add two more color markers at 25 percent and 80 percent, and set these to C0, M5, Y100, K20 and C0, M0, Y100, K0, respectively (as shown below).

  1. To finish the color effect, set the Edge Pad option on the Property Bar to 5 percent, and remove any outline properties applied to the circle by right-clicking the None color well in the onscreen color palette. Your custom fill is now complete (see below).

  1. For the reflection effect, create a second circle that's roughly 1.5 inches in diameter, fill it with white, and position it to be centered and slightly below the top of the first circle. With the circle still selected, choose the Interactive Transparency Tool and drag from the top to the bottom of the shape. Remove any outline from the new circle.

  2. Position the white, black, and midpoint nodes of the transparency slider precisely, as shown below. Drag the black marker to the center of the yellow circle, drag the white marker slightly below the circle's top edge, and drag the midpoint marker upward, three quarters of the way between the two.

With just two objects, you've created a realistic-looking glass object. Note that the custom colors I specified provide the illusion that the edges of the shape let less light through than the middle portion, giving the shape the impression of flatness. The more pronounced the darkened edges are, the flatter the shape appears to be.

The same steps can be used to turn virtually any simple shape into glass. Just keep in mind that you need to pay close attention to both the custom fountain fill and the transparency marker positions for the effect to appear realistic.

Draw Glassy Buttons
The same basic effect can be used to simulate the cool 3D appearance of glass pill-shaped buttons. The steps involve rounding the corners of a rectangle filled with a specific linear fountain fill and applying resized white copies of the rectangle with transparency to simulate the reflection. Although there are several ways to construct glass pill-shaped buttons, this method is perhaps the quickest and uses the fewest shapes:

  1. Using the Rectangle Tool (F6), draw a rectangle roughly 1 inch high by 4.5 inches wide. (Use different proportions for larger or smaller text button labels if needed.)

  2. With the rectangle selected, use the Rectangle Corner Roundness and Round Corners Together options on the Property Bar to round all four corners by 100 percent, as shown below. You can also do this interactively by using the Shape Tool (F10).

Note: To preserve the symmetry of your rounded rectangle corners, create the shape at the exact size you need it to be instead of adjusting it vertically or horizontally through scaling. Scaling operations affect the proportions of rounded rectangle corners.

  1. Choose the Interactive Fill Tool and drag vertically from the top to the bottom of the shape to apply a default linear fountain fill. To add colors at precise points, open the Fountain Fill dialog (F11), and click Custom. In this example, I've used a cyan blue color scheme. Set the 0 percent marker to C100, M20, Y0, K80 and the 100 percent marker to C10, M0, Y0, K0. Add a third color marker at the 40 percent position, and set it to C100, M20, Y0, K20 (as shown below). Before closing the dialog, set the Edge Pad option to 5 percent. Remove any outline properties from the shape.

  1. Create a second rectangle roughly 0.4 inches high (slightly less than half an inch) by 4 inches wide, and round the corners by 100 percent. Fill the new rectangle with white, remove any outline properties, and position it to center vertically with the first rectangle and slightly below the top edge (see below).

  1. Choose the Interactive Transparency Tool and drag vertically from the top edge to the bottom of the white rectangle to apply a default linear transparency effect (see below). Use the Property Bar to set the Edge Pad value to 8 percent.

  1. Choose the Pick Tool and duplicate the transparent rectangle by pressing the plus sign (+) key on your numeric keypad. Scale this new copy by dragging the center-bottom handle downward to just above the bottom edge of the arrangement. Set the fill color of this new object to 100 percent Cyan by clicking the Cyan well in the onscreen color palette.

  2. Choose the Interactive Transparency Tool and drag upward vertically from slightly below the bottom edge to a point halfway up the shape's height. To soften the effect slightly, drag from your CMYK palette 60 percent black well onto the white transparency marker. To complete the effect, set the Transparency Operation option on the Property Bar to Add. Select, and group your objects together (Ctrl+G). The button is virtually complete (see below).

Although this example uses a blue theme, you can customize it to virtually any color theme you wish by editing each of the four color markers of the custom fountain fill to create variations (see below).

As an alternative to creating a custom color fill button, you can apply a lens effect to create the illusion of clear glass distorting an underlying surface pattern (see below). To do this, first create a larger rectangular shape to serve as a background for the button. In this example, a bitmap fill was used. To apply a bitmap fill to any selected object, choose the Interactive Fill Tool and set the Property Bar Fill Type option to Bitmap Pattern. Create your rounded rectangle shape for the button on top of the background, then open the Lens docker (Alt+F3), and choose Fish Eye. Increase the Rate option to distort the underlying surface, and click the Apply button. The higher the rate, the more distortion is applied. After applying the lens to the first shape, create and align the two smaller rounded rectangle shapes, set their fill color to white, and apply a transparency (top to bottom for the smaller shape, bottom to top for the bigger shape) to create the fountain effect.

Add artistic text to your buttons by using the Text tool. Set your text to a centered alignment. If you select the text and the grouped button shapes, you can use the alignment hot keys in CorelDRAW to center-align the text and the button group vertically (press C) and horizontally (press E). If you need to create multiple buttons with different text but the same design, you can use this first version as a template (see below).

Create Button Rollover States
To make the button interactive, you can add a realistic rollover effect. Because you're simulating the effect of three-dimensional objects with realistic lighting, adding shadows is the next logical step. In these next steps, we'll use the Internet Toolbar to convert the button to a rollover and edit the button states.

  1. Using the button design you created in the previous step sequence, choose the Pick Tool, and ungroup (Ctrl+U) the button shapes you grouped together in the previous steps.

  2. Choose the Interactive Drop Shadow Tool, and click your pill-shaped rectangle. Hold Ctrl, and drag from the center of the shape downward to apply a drop shadow at default settings. Use the Property Bar options to set the shadow X offset to 0 and the Y offset to –0.03 inches (a negative value). Set your Drop Shadow Opacity to 80 and the Feathering to 7. Set the shadow color to the base color of your button — in this case, cyan (see below).

  1. Select all objects in the arrangement, and open the Internet Toolbar by choosing Window > Toolbars > Internet. Click the Create Rollover button (shown below) to convert the entire button arrangement into a rollover button. Be sure the Live Preview of Rollovers button is toggled to the "off" state.

  1. Click the Edit Rollover button on the Internet toolbar to set the active rollover state to Normal, as indicated by both the toolbar option and the page tabs at the bottom of your document window (see below). We've already created the basic button, so we're going to leave the Normal state unchanged.

  1. To switch to the mouse-over state, choose Over from the Active Rollover State selector on the Internet Toolbar. Select your button text, and change its color. In my case, I've simulated a brightening effect by changing the text fill from black to white, as shown below.

  1. Switch to the mouse-down editing state by choosing Down from the Active Rollover State selector. Using the Pick Tool, click to select the drop shadow, and choose Effects > Clear Drop Shadow to remove it.

  2. While still in the Down editing state, select all objects in the arrangement, and open the Transformation docker to the Position tab by choosing Arrange > Transformations > Position (Alt+F7). Enter 0 in the H box and -0.03 in the V box (see below), and click the Apply button. This action offsets the entire button by the same offset as the shadow.

  1. Close the Transformation docker, and click the Finish Editing Rollover button on the Internet Toolbar. Your rollover is complete.

Temporarily activate the rollover preview by toggling the Live Preview of Rollovers button to the "on" state, and test-drive your new rollover button. Passing your cursor over the button causes the text label to change color. When clicked, the button is offset vertically, and the shadow is displaced.


6:16:00 PM

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Logo Design Solutions for Small Business Owners


Many users of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite are small business owners who work within limited budgets and perhaps have limited time and resources. If you belong to this group, you may be looking for ways to avoid hiring a high-priced designer. The good news is that for most simple design projects, you don't need to be a design graduate. With your CorelDRAW tools and a little inventiveness, you have everything you need. In the fictitious designs presented in this tutorial, shapes from symbol fonts in CorelDRAW were enhanced with artistic text, a few effects, and very little manipulation.

Install Symbol Fonts
Symbol fonts are included on your CGS12 discs (or any disc set from a previous version). They include named collections ranging from Animals, Arrows, and Balloons to Sports and Hobbies, Stars, and Tools. If you're new to using symbol fonts, you may want to try installing them so that you can use them in your CorelDRAW documents. If you are using Windows XP, follow these steps to install symbol fonts:

  1. From your CGS 12 disc set, locate Disc 2, and slip it into your CD-ROM drive.

  2. Open Windows Explorer, and navigate to C:\WINDOWS\Fonts to view the fonts currently installed on your system.

  3. Choose File > Install New Font to open the Add Fonts dialog box, browse to your CD-ROM drive, and choose the Extra Fonts > Symbols folder.

  4. Choose either the TTF (TrueType® fonts) or Type1 (fonts compatible with Adobe® Type 1 fonts) folders. Open either folder to view the symbol fonts they contain - the selections are virtually identical and include more than 60 different symbol fonts.

  5. From the List of Fonts box, click to select the fonts you want to install, and click OK to add the fonts to your system.

Now that you have your symbol fonts installed, you can add the shapes as curves to your CorelDRAW drawing by dragging a selection from the Insert Character docker. To open the Insert Character docker (see below) choose Text > Insert Character (Ctrl+F11).

With the Insert Character docker open and your document page in view, locate a symbol font by browsing through the Font list. You can recognize many of the symbol fonts by their category names. Once you select a font, the preview area displays a partial list of the shapes included in the font. To copy a symbol to your document page, select the symbol, and then click the Insert button. You can also drag the symbol from the docker into your drawing. Your current outline and fill colors are applied automatically.

Use Simple Shapes and Text to Plan Your Logo
Because symbol font art is sometimes considered the lowest rung on the clipart ladder, you may not think of using it for your professional design work. So you might be surprised to learn that it can be a resource worth exploring. With a little tweaking, symbol font shapes can help you fulfill all kinds of design needs, such as the logo and poster display designs we'll be exploring.

When planning a logo design for your business, keep in mind that creative designs usually feature a minimum of visual information. The emphasis should always be on conveying a clear message. If you limit your use of color, you can easily adapt your logo and match the colors in most layouts. Black is often the predominant design color used, with additional colors serving as visual accents.

Before you begin a design, it's wise to have a varied collection of text fonts on hand. Just as your symbols provide color, style and tone, a well-chosen text font can enhance your design with character and personality.

The examples we'll explore next incorporate both symbol shapes and artistic text. Many of the symbol shapes were manipulated by using shaping commands such as Trim and Weld, and by basic node editing with the Shape Tool. You'll also notice effect tools such as the Interactive Fill, Interactive Blend, Interactive Drop Shadow, and Interactive Contour tools have been used in the design process. In many cases, the CorelDRAW PowerClip? effects were used to package the shapes.

Examples of Logo Designs
Our first example (see below) is a not-so-original spoof of a popular corporate logo. A series of circular ellipses was used to create this simple two-color logo for a candy company. Shapes from the Animals 1 symbol font (symbols 093 and 0100) form the design for the decorative center.

The circular effect for the text was creating by applying artistic text to two separate ellipses (see below). The seahorse shape was not altered, but the outer contour of the shell shape was separated, and the unwanted portions were deleted.

Example 2 (see below), a logo design for a fictitious back-care clinic, was based on the shape of a torso (symbol 033) from the Animals 1 symbol font.

Subtle node adjustments were made with the Shape Tool to make the figure appear more gender-neutral. The spinal vertebrae were created by using two rectangles and a blend effect. The Trim command in CorelDRAW was used to eliminate the unwanted portions from the background and replace them with the symbol, as shown below. The Ellipse Tool was used to create the background.

Trees are often associated with growth, health, and prosperity, making this shape from the Plants font (symbol 036) a suitable candidate for our third example (see below).

This business card and logo represent an investment counseling firm. They were created from a rectangle that was sized to business card proportions (2 × 3 inches) and intended for full ink bleeds on all four sides. The tree symbol was used to trim a section of the side and bottom of the rectangle, and a duplicate of the trimmed shape was ordered below to represent the tree shadow. A PowerClip? effect was used to place two simple shapes representing the earth and sky into a rectangle.

A key shape from the Transportation symbol font (symbol 061) was used to create a simple business card and logo for a made-up locksmith service (see below).

A rectangle was sized to typical business card proportions and used as the backdrop for the text. The rounded highlight effect on the key shape was created using an 8-step blend between a thick gold-colored outline of the shape and an exact copy set to a thin white outline. The drop shadow was applied to a third copy ordered at the bottom of the stack, and the entire arrangement was placed within the rectangle, creating a PowerClip object (see below).

The logo design shown below represents a landscaping business and is based on a shape from the Landscape Planning symbol font (symbol 033).

The symbol shape was duplicated and resized, the shapes were broken apart, and color was applied. The arranged parts were grouped and placed into an ellipse, creating a PowerClip object. A black duplicate was ordered below the white text and symbol shapes to provide more contrast with the background (see below).

The logo shown below was designed to promote a children's play park. In this case, one shape from the Animals 1 symbol font (symbol 090) and one from the Plants symbol font (symbol 034) were used as focal points for the design.

The seal and ball shapes were broken apart, and only the foliage portion of the tree was used. Simple lines and rectangles were used to create the other shapes. The text features a single contour applied with an outline and drop shadow (see below).

Examples of Poster Designs
The marketing poster shown below promotes a fictitious dessert shop. The logo is a slightly altered version of the ice cream cone (symbol 063) found in the Food font.

A black rectangle was drawn over the exact right half of the cone and was filled with a two-color pattern fill. The cone itself was centered inside a black rectangle with a rectangular cutout in the center to avoid coming into contact with the Lens object. The fill colors in the rectangle are a simple two-color pattern fill applied with the Interactive Fill Tool. A second rectangle was drawn around the outside of the main rectangle to create the outer border, which serves as the path for a triangle pattern created by using a blend effect (see below).

The design for a poster advertising an event is shown below. The two beetles holding hands give the slightly humorous impression of slow-moving participants. The main shape is taken from the Animals 2 symbol font (symbol 059).

The complete shape was broken apart, reshaped, duplicated, flipped, and colored. The nodes at the end of the two bug legs were aligned to appear joined, and the arrangement was grouped and placed into the black rectangle frame to form a PowerClip object (see below).

Our last example is a poster design that advertises a musical event (see below). The design features symbol 052 from the Music font and symbol 069 from the MusicalSymbols font.

The guitar shape was broken apart into individual objects in order to apply different colors. The music note was duplicated, transformed, and filled with color. The frame, background, and center shapes are simple rectangles edited with the Shape Tool.

As you browse through the symbol fonts included with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, keep in mind that the shapes are curves that can be dismantled, transformed, and customized to solve a wide range of design challenges. By applying color, or an effect or two, you can create unique designs for your everyday projects.


6:10:00 PM

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Developing Good Layout Habits with CorelDRAW


Recently, we showed you how to improve your brochure or newsletter layouts by using some great CorelDRAW® features. There are good and bad ways to build a layout, and simply making a project look pretty does not guarantee its success. In this tutorial, we'll highlight some layout and design habits that you should avoid, and we'll look at the solutions you can apply with CorelDRAW.

Avoid Over-Hyphenating Text
When you format text, you can apply a justified paragraph text alignment by choosing Full from the Horizontal Alignment option on the Property Bar (see below). The forced character and word spacing can be distracting, however, if your columns are narrow and your justified text font is large, or if your text includes longer-than-average words. You can eliminate this problem in one of two ways.

First, start by activating the text hyphenation feature in CorelDRAW. To do this, select your text frame, open the Format Text dialog (Ctrl+T), select the

Paragraph tab, click the Hyphenation Settings button, and choose the Automatic Hyphenation option (see below).

Hyphenation can improve the appearance of justified text and often compresses it more efficiently. The example below shows highlighted text that was drastically improved simply by activating the hyphenation feature in CorelDRAW at default settings.

If certain words in your text still appear awkwardly spaced after you activate hyphenation, you may need to make localized text adjustments to improve readability. Adjusting the hot zone value of your hyphenation settings can often help. This is the zone at the end of a line in which words are eligible for hyphenation.

Adjusting the hot zone can be a useful strategy, but it involves certain trade-offs. Increasing the hot zone gives the hyphenation engine in CorelDRAW more freedom to hyphenate, but excessive hyphenation detracts from the appearance of text. Reducing the hot zone value slightly in specific areas of text can sometimes help avoid instances of poor spacing. The example below shows how increasing the hot zone in a hyphenated paragraph affects readability.

The second way to improve the appearance of justified text is to adjust the word and character spacing values by changing the justification settings in CorelDRAW. You can access these options (see below) by clicking the Settings button in the Format Text dialog, which becomes available after you choose Full Justify or Force Justify.

The example below shows the effect of reducing the Maximum Word Spacing value after activating hyphenation for a justified paragraph.

Fixing Widows and Orphans
Solitary words in the first line of a column frame or in the last line of a paragraph are referred to as widows or orphans. They can create distracting white gaps in otherwise smoothly flowing text. If you don't have the option of editing the text, you can repair widows and orphans during the layout. You can eliminate the unwanted gaps caused by widows and orphans by adjusting the kerning properties to slightly increase or decrease the length of text lines. Kerning enables you to adjust the space between certain letter combinations without affecting the normal character and word spacing. With CorelDRAW, you can adjust kerning in 5 percent increments by using the Range Kerning option in the Format Text dialog (see below).

By adjusting kerning, you can lengthen or shorten your text without significantly affecting its readability. You can use the Text Tool to select text and then use the following keyboard shortcuts to adjust text kerning:

Increase range kerning by 5 percent Ctrl+Shift+>
Decrease range kerning by 5 percent Ctrl+Shift+<

The example below shows text frames with both widows and orphans in the first and last lines of the paragraph text frames in a layout. In the bottom instance, range kerning was applied to lengthen or shorten the text and thereby eliminate the hyphenated word fragments.

Avoid Using Uppercase Characters for Emphasis
We've all seen the overuse of uppercase characters - especially on the Web. Uppercase characters used in entire sentences or paragraphs are intended to add emphasis, but they often have the opposite effect of making text difficult to read (see below). The use of uppercase should be reserved strictly for beginnings of sentences, abbreviations, important places, official terms, and proper names. In e-mails, newsgroups posts, and blogs, uppercase text simulates yelling, which makes it even more of a no-no in your layouts.

In the days of the typewriter, uppercase characters may have been the only way to add emphasis to text, but today's digital fonts offer more flexibility. In CorelDRAW, you can easily change the case of your text using the Change Case command. To open the Change Case dialog (see below), choose Text > Change Case, and choose a character case option. Once the case has been corrected, you can use size and style to emphasize and de-emphasize your text.

Choose Your Fonts Carefully
The font you choose for your text profoundly affects the attractiveness and legibility of your layout. Select a body text font with as many style variations as possible so that it can serve most of your layout needs. You can use the same font for body text and headlines, but there's no law against mixing fonts. Just don't go overboard.

In most designs, two text fonts are sufficient to use for all of the necessary editorial functions. If you plan to use text for graphic purposes, you can use a third font, but avoid the mistake of using multiple fonts in an attempt to make your layout more attractive. Too many fonts actually detract from the appearance of your layout, as shown in the example below.

Avoid the Razzle-Dazzle Temptation
CorelDRAW is a powerful drawing tool capable of creating great layouts, but many of the effects that you can apply to text may do more harm than good to the readability of your document. Rotation transformations and character stacking are two effects that inexperienced users often overuse in an attempt to add "wow" to their brochures or newsletters.

Using slanting or rotating words and applying text to a path are both great options in illustration, but they often reduce text readability in a layout. Text in English is meant to be read upright, from left to right and from top to bottom. The examples below illustrate the reduced legibility of rotated text characters. Do your audience a favor: avoid the temptation of using these effects to dress up a layout.

Pay Attention to Spacing
The vertical spacing above and below headings and text is called leading. Consistent leading gives your layout a professional touch. You can find the spacing controls by clicking the Paragraph tab of the Format Text dialog.

If you're measuring your layout in picas and points, you can change your unit preference to points from the CorelDRAW default setting (% of Char. Height). This enables you to base your spacing settings on specific point values rather than on the default percentage value. The default leading value in CorelDRAW is roughly 20 percent of the character size, which can add excessive space when the size of the text font is larger than 6 points. Leading in a traditional layout is typically one point larger than the size of the text font. The example below shows 14-point paragraph text with the default (20 percent) line spacing versus the same font size with 15 points of leading.

The Before Paragraph and After Paragraph spacing settings enable you to set the spacing between your body text and headings. Between body text paragraphs, the Before Paragraph value should match your leading for text, and the After Paragraph space should be set to 0 (zero). When formatting space between text and headings, choose spacing values to match the vertical text settings in your layout grid, so that text aligns across columns regardless of where headings fall. The example below shows spacing between a heading and paragraph text that has been formatted to align to the layout grid.

Your aim should also be consistent vertical and horizontal spacing between margins, borders, and column gutters. Layout grids provide the best solution for applying consistent vertical spacing between elements. A grid can also help you align content horizontally across columns and pages. Use consistent text leading and paragraph styles to establish even spacing between headings, subheadings, and text.

In CorelDRAW, you can use guideline presets to create a custom layout grid for aligning your layout elements (like the one shown in the previous example). To create a custom grid, follow these steps:

1. Click View > Guidelines Setup to open the Options dialog.
2. From the tree directory, choose Guidelines > Presets.
3. At the top of the pane, select the User Define Presets mode.
4. At the bottom of the pane, choose the Grid option.
5. Enable Spacing, and enter a value in the Vertical box (see below), and click OK.

6. To view the grid, choose View > Guidelines.

Be sure that the grid spacing value you set in the Vertical box exactly matches the text leading (indicated by the line spacing value) of your brochure or newsletter, so that you can quickly and precisely align your layout elements. Once you set the lines in your grid and they are visible, use the Snap to Guidelines option in CorelDRAW (View > Snap to Guidelines), so that your layout elements easily snap to the grid.

Align Text Consistently
If you choose a general alignment theme for your layout such as a flush left, flush right, centered, or justified, use it throughout your pages. For example, if you choose a centered alignment for text headlines, apply this alignment to the text on all pages - avoid switching from one style to another. Changing alignments can make it difficult for readers to follow a layout between pages (see the example below).

Emphasize with Italics, Not Underlining
Another hand-me-down from typewriter days is the underlining of text for emphasis. Many digital fonts provide the better alternatives of bold and italic styles. Avoiding underlining is particularly critical if your layout is destined for the Web, where underlined text usually signifies a hyperlink. The example below shows how italics can be even more effective than underlining.

Use Indents and Tabs, Not Spaces
Even though your computer is not a typewriter, some users continue to type two spacebar characters after every period. This is another habit to kick. Digital fonts are designed with enough space to separate sentences, so a single space is all you need. Extra spaces may be small, but they are certainly noticeable, as shown below.

You should also stop typing spaces or tab characters at the beginning of each new paragraph to create first-line indents. Using spaces or tab characters prevents you from using paragraph formatting to set indents automatically. CorelDRAW enables you to set first-line indents by using the Paragraph tab of the Format Text dialog (see below). To set indent spacing, click to select your paragraph text, and click the Format Text button on the Property Bar (or use Ctrl+F). In the Indents area, type a value in the First Line box.

When working with tabular text formatted in rows and columns, use tab characters instead of spaces. Spaces seldom align text vertically in table columns. Tabs can be set to one of four different types (left, right, center, and decimal), and they can be precisely positioned by using the tab options in the Format Text dialog, or by moving the onscreen tab controls when your Ruler is displayed. Our example below shows table text selected and tab markers displayed in the on-screen Ruler.

Incorrect tabbing can cause hours of headaches, which makes this another habit to break. If pressing the tab key doesn't align the text, move the tab marker rather than using additional tabs and/or spaces.

Speed Up Text Screen Display
This last round of advice has more to do with productivity than layout, but it's relevant nonetheless. If your system is slow when rendering large amounts of text in your brochure or newsletter layout, CorelDRAW can help. You can drastically cut text-rendering time by using the greeking option in CorelDRAW. Greeking uses black lines to approximate your text temporarily, which enables your screen to redraw itself much faster. During editing, the text resumes its normal display, as shown below.

You'll find this option in the Text pane of the Options dialog (see below). By default, CorelDRAW is preset to greek text 5 pixels and smaller. As a result, your view magnification and screen resolution determine whether greeking is applied. If your layout is text-heavy, you can beef up your display speed and your productivity by doubling or tripling this value.

You can also speed up screen display by deactivating the automatic spelling checker in CorelDRAW. By default, while the Text Tool is selected, CorelDRAW checks the spelling of all text in a selected text frame automatically and displays any errors detected.

You can temporarily disable the automatic spelling checker. Choose Tools > Options, and click Text > Spelling in the tree directory of the Options dialog and disable the Perform Automatic Spell Checking option.

While automatic spell checking is deactivated, you can always check the spelling of your text by choosing Text > Writing Tools Spell Check (Ctrl+F12). Just be sure to turn the automatic feature back on after your layout stage is complete.

We've revealed plenty of issues that can affect the presentation quality of a brochure or newsletter. By using the features available in CorelDRAW, and by paying attention to detail and adopting up-to-date publishing techniques like those covered here, you'll be well on your way to producing excellent layouts.