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COREL Software Tips and Tricks

General Tips

(Draw, Paint and possibly other Corel Draw Suite applications)
Reset to Defaults

Ever lost part of your menu, toolbar or other items? Thought that you may have to re-install everything? Try this first. Press F8 while starting either Corel Draw or Photo-Paint and then answer YES to the opening dialogue box to reset the application to its default start-up values. This should restore everything to normal.

Relinking Corel PHOTO-PAINT with CorelDRAW
(wOxxOm CorelDraw and Photopaint relink helper files)
(This Tip appears on Macromonster.com )

A common problem for CorelDRAW users is losing the "edit bitmap" connection between CorelDRAW and Photo-PAINT.

Here are 3 files in the zip file to help solve this problem: They were created for the users who had multiple versions of CorelDRAW on their systems during the X4 beta process.

alltox3.reg forces CorelDRAW X3 and Photo-PAINT X3 to
reconnect, even if X4 is on your system. This changes the registry.

This may be all you need, to get X3 working again.

If you want to force a corresponding version of Draw to work with it's counterpart:


Double-clicking one of the above will launch Draw for you. These do not change the registry.

These work great for many people, but note that you use these at your own risk.

Free Download


Adding Special Symbols and Characters

Need a copyright © , or other special character or symbol within your text ?
In either Draw or Paint, select Symbol as the font, make sure you have your Num Lock key activated, then hold down the Alt key and press 0 + the three number code for the character. Look up the character code in the Windows Character Map.

Here are some common codes:

  • © = Alt+0211, (serif)
  • © = Alt+0227, (sans-serif),
  • ® = Alt+0210,
  • ™ = Alt+0212, (serif)
  • = Alt+0228, (sans-serif)

Pick the right Object.

Always choose the Pick tool (in Draw) or the Object Picker in Paint when you have problems getting the programs to do what you want. Many of the problems people have with Draw or Paint relate to having the incorrect tool or object selected when wanting to perform a task. Re-selecting the correct object with the Pick tool before an action often fixes the problem.

Personalising you workspace.

Are there more than one user on your computer ? Each user can have their own customised workspace, startup options, paper sizes etc etc.. Select Tools > Options from the menu, make sure the word 'Workspace' is selected in the left hand pane of the Options dialogue box, then click the New... button to create your own workspace. In the New Workspace dialogue box, check the Set as current workspace box to use the new workspace as your default, then press OK. Make any number of changes to your workspace configuration as you desire, then press OK to save all your changes. To use your new workspace even after someone else has used theirs, simply go to Tools > Options and select it from the list of available workspaces and press OK.


Corel Draw Tips

Starting Draw with a specific page size on startup.

Open the Options dialogue under the Tools menu item then click the + next to 'Document' in the left hand pane to open the document hierarchy and then on the word 'Document' itself. Check the box 'Save options as defaults for new documents' and then select or change any of the selections which now become available. Click the + beside Page in the left hand pane to open the structure further, then click on the word 'Size'. Adjust the page size properties, then click OK. Select the 'General' Options (under Workspace) and change the On Draw Startup option to 'Start a new document'. Click OK. Now Draw will open directly into a new document with the page size that you have specified.

Adding a Page Frame.

Rather than try to draw and fill a box the exact same size as your page, why not add a page frame. Follow the instructions for changing the default page size above to just before the first OK button press. While on the Page Size Options settings page, select 'Add page frame' then press OK twice. A new rectangle, the precise size of your page will be present in your lowest layer of your current page. You may fill the rectangle any way you wish.

Drawing perfect circles and squares, triangles, polygons, grids and spirals

Hold down the CTRL key while dragging the shape to create a perfectly symmetrically shaped object.

Drawing objects from a centre point

Hold down the SHIFT key while dragging a square/rectangle, circle/oval, polygon, spiral or grid to maintain the drag start point as the centre of the object.

Drawing perfect symmetrical objects from a centre point

Hold down both the SHIFT and CTRL keys together while dragging a square, circle, polygon, spiral or grid.


Corel Photo-Paint Tips

Help, I cannot customize my workspace.

You must have an image open in Photo-Paint before yo can access the Customize preferences in the Tool > Options menu.

Help! I cannot save my image in the format I want.

Corel Photo-Paint will not allow you to lose all your hard work by accident. Most of the standard image formats do not save layers, objects or mask information. When you save an image all your UNDO steps are lost. Therefore, to avoid accidental loss of important image information Photo-paint removes such image formats from the Save and Save-As dialogue boxes. BUT you can still EXPORT your image to any format any time you wish - Photo-Paint will retain the current open image, objects and masks, and all UNDO steps and the UNDO history list and make an exported COPY for you. Use File > Export to save your complex image as any format. Remember to save your image as a .CPT file (native Photo-Pint format) to preserve all image information and editability. To force Photo-Paint to save an image in a flat file format such as TIF, JPEG or GIF, first combine all objects with the background and remove any masks and mask channels. Then you will see all possible relevant file formats in the Save As dialogue.

Help! I keep getting the message 'Selection is empty' when performing a task.

You have a mask present and no part of the current mask and the current object overlap. Make sure you have selected the correct object you desire (use the Object Docker for precise selection) and make sure that at least some part of you mask overlaps the object. If you cannot see your mask marque, click the 'Show Mask Marque' icon, click Mask > Marque Visible from the menu, or use the shortcut toggle CTRL-H.

Creating a new image with no background.

You can create a new image with now background by checking the 'No background' checkbox in the Create a New Image dialogue box (New from the menu or click the New icon on the Toolbar).

Magic Default preset image sizes.

When you create a new image in Photo-Paint you can select from a wide variety of preset image sizes. Changing the measurement parameter (pixels, millimetres, picas, points etc - to the right of the Width parameter) in the Create a New Image dialogue box alters the available preset image sizes available. For instance, selecting pixels as your type of measurement shows presets for typical PC screen sizes such as 320x200, 640x480, 800x600 etc while selecting millimetres shows page sizes such as A4, A5, B4, B5, and selecting inches as the measurement shows typical photo sizes plus American paper sizes such as Letter and Legal. Cool !

Making a new image from any existing object.

The New from Clipboard command (under the File menu) is a true Godsend !. Select any object or masked area from an existing image then click the Copy icon. Then click New from Clipboard from the File menu. A new image (without background) is created containing your copied selection. To save the image as a non Photo-Paint native format (such as TIF, JPEG or GIF) you first need to combine (flatten) the layer with a background. (See the next tip)

Shortcut to combine all objects with the background (flatten the image)

Press SHIFT+ CTRL + down arrow together.

Transforming Objects and Masks


Photo-Paint has 7 transform Modes: Position, Rotate, Scale, Size, Skew, Distort and Perspective.

Clicking repeatedly on an object cycles through the different modes and are shown by displaying different transform handles around the object. The Position and Size modes (together) have solid black square handles, the rotate and skew modes (together) have double arrowed lines and curves. The Distort mode has double-headed arrowed double lines at each corner, while the perspective mode has open circles at each corner. The distort mode allows corners to be expanded and contracted asymmetrically while changing a node in the perspective mode causes another node (next corner, anti-clockwise) to mirror the change in the first node. You may make as may transformations as you wish be committing the changes to the object (or mask). To Apply the results of the transformation, click Apply on the Property bar, right click on your image and click Apply, double-click INSIDE the object, or select another tool from the Tool Box. To reject all current transformations, either double-click OUTSIDE the object, press the ESC key, or right-click on the image and select Reset..


All transform operations performed on objects can also be performed on the current mask. First, select the Mask transform tool in the Object Picker flyout, then click on the mask until the desired transform mode is available (see above for descriptions of the different handles).

Mask Magic - What is a Mask ?

A mask is essentially a gray-scale image that can be used to hide or show an object (or image), or allow different parts of an object have different levels of editability. A mask may be described as a protective layer on your image. When discussing masks in terms editing or creating objects, the BLACK region of a mask makes an object fully OPAQUE to editing and therefore UNEDITABLE. The WHITE areas of a mask makes an object fully TRANSPARENT to editing or fully editable. However, when discussing masks in terms of image transparency (suach as when using the transparency tool), it is the black areas of the mask that represent object transparency and the white areas that represent image opacity. Any gray-scale level between full black (grayscale 0) and full white (gray-scale 255) translates to that level of transparency or editability.

Corel Photo-Paint Help (version 9) defines a mask as:

'A selection tool that isolates the area that you want to protect from changes when you apply colour, filters, or other effects to an image. A mask acts as a protective layer or sheet that covers the area on an image that should not be affected by your editing. When you select an area on an image using a mask tool, this area is available for editing, while the rest of the image is masked, i.e., protected from changes. You can create regular and colour masks. [(c) 1992 - 1999 Corel Corporation. All rights reserved].

To see the gray-scale representation of a mask you have created, view the Current Mask in the Channels Docker. If the mask contains a feathered edge (Mask > Shape > Feather) you will see the variable gray-scale region/s.

A mask can operate on any selected object, not just the top one. However it will not affect all objects within a group, only the selected object - only the one with the red border in your Objects Docker, even though others may be highlighted.

EXAMPLE: Create a new feathered object from a mask.

First create a mask with a feathered edge (e.g. use the rectangle mask tool to create a square mask, then use Mask > Shape > Feather (20, direction= inside, edges=linear)). Then create a new object (Object > Create > New Object), making sure the new object is currently selected (use the Objects Docker). Then Fill the new object as defined by the mask (Edit > Fill (choose whatever you wish)).

Mask Magic - What is a Mask Overlay ?

A mask overlay is a coloured semi-transparent display of your current mask. The colour is red by default but can be changed by changing the Mask Tint colour in the Tools > Options > Workspace/Display dialogue. Fully opaque areas of the mask are represented as full colour in the mask overlay while fully transparent areas appear with no colour. In version 9 the Mask Overlay appears automatically during mask shape alterations (Mask > Shape > ...), while in version 8 the Mask Overlay must be manually switched on (Mask > Mask Overlay). The Mask Overlay is a powerful means of viewing changes to the mask shape, especially when mask edges are feathered. The alternative, Mask Marque only shows a single gray-scale point, mid-way between fully opaque and fully transparent (100% white or 100% black).

Mask Magic - Perfect Circular and Square/Rectangular Masks

The CTRL and SHIFT keys in Photo-Paint work similarly to those keys in Draw for objects but differ a little when creating and transforming masks. In Mask operations, these keys are also used to change the mask MODE (see below). Normally the CTRL key changes the mask mode to subtract, the SHIFT key to additive and both together to XOR mode. However, you can still get them to constrain mask shape creation as you could in Draw. The SECRET is to click with your left mouse button FIRST (do not drag yet) and THEN hold down either of the keys before dragging your mask shape. For example - (set the mode to NORMAL for these first, but this will work in any mask mode as well) - to create a perfectly square mask, select the rectangle mask tool click and hold you left mouse button at the point for the centre of the mask, hold down the CTRL+SHIFT keys, and drag your cursor out while holding down the keys to create a perfectly square mask from the centre point of your drag action.

Similarly, you can create these

  • a perfect circle (circle mask tool, click, hold CTRL+ SHIFT while dragging),
  • a non-centred square (rectangle mask tool, click and hold CTRL while dragging),
  • a centred rectangle (rectangle mask tool, click and hold SHIFT while dragging),
  • a centred oval (circle mask tool, click and hold CTRL while draggin

Mask Magic - Check the Mode.

The Mask Mode selection determines how masks interact with each other and function in both mask select tools and mask load operations. Normal mode simply replaces one mask with another when you select another area with a mask selection tool or load a mask from disk or channel. Additive mode keeps adding previously undefined areas to the current mask while subtractive removes new, overlapping regions. The XOR mode is very handy - previously selected areas which are also part of a new selection are removed while previously unselected areas are added. Previously unselected areas which do not overlap a new selection remain unselected. Here is an example of using XOR mode. Create a small circular mask and save it as a channel. Remove this mask and then create a large circular mask with the centre at the same point as the previous smaller one. Make sure you have the XOR mode selected (on the Property bar or use <ask > Mode > XOR. Load the smaller mask back from the channel (Mask > Load > Select it from the drop-down list). Now you have a circular mask with a hole in it ! Try this with two masks that do not completely overlap to see the full effect.


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