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Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 9 is the perfect tool for the novice designer on a budget. Compared to other graphic designing products in the market which can be expensive to buy,  Xara only comes at a measley cost of £69.99 – which is great value for money considering it includes most of the features from its more high-budget competitors.

First impression we had was the extremely quick rate of rendering – at no point did the operating system or the program itself struggle during any editing process, no matter how complicated – allowing us to believe that this is also software suitable for those with more low-end hardware.

Xara is extremely user friendly for beginners, and already comes equipped with a large array of designs and templates. Photo alteration is simply a case of taking a selection of your chosen image with a type of ‘selector’ tool and applying whatever photo effects deemed necessary from the toolbar – of which there are numerous. You can apply all manner of filters, effects, and it also allows you to adjust all the levels of the photo to a great degree.

Two particular aspects of the program which caught our eye were the ‘magic erase/photo heal’ tool – which allowed you to (for the majority of the time) accurately cut out aspects of a photo at the click of a button (such as skin blemishes and other unwanted parts of a photo), and ‘background erase’, where a combination of the mask painter and eraser tool allows you to cut out a whole background behind a part of the image you want to retain.

Of course, in addition to general photo editing – it comes with its own perks. For one, it doubles as a vector graphics program as well as a raster graphics editing program – meaning it has it’s uses for creating high-resolution logos and icons. Even then, you can use Xara to open existing Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files – as well as numerous other supported formats. Other neat features include the support for external Photoshop plugins and effects – as well as incorporation of all(!) online Google fonts in your list of fonts! I have to mention that I found it very handy that it categorised the fonts into ‘web safe’ and ‘Google’ related fonts – these small attentions to detail can be quite refreshing, especially if like me, you’re specialising in web design!

If you’re requiring general graphic tools for use at home you can’t really get much better than this. The flexibility and cheap price really add to its appeal – and to its credit even comes with a few bonus features that you can’t get even with the more expensive products.

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About Xara Group Ltd:

Xara, founded in 1981, was one of the oldest independent software developers in the UK, until it was acquired by Magix AG in 2007. Xara continues to develop innovative graphics, website building, and document publishing tools, which are marketed around the world under both the MAGIX and Xara brand names.

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