CorelDRAW Tips and Tricks

Please note that most of the tips below work only for CorelDRAW 8 and 9 but some are valid for earlier versions also.

Do you know that...?

Selecting and transforming objects

  1. You can select an object that is a part of a group by clicking it while holding down the Ctrl key.
  2. If you marquee-select objects with the Alt key down, then you select objects that are not only surrounded with the marquee completely but also only "touched" with it.
  3. To select an object completely obscured by another object, just click where the underlying object should be with the Alt key down.
  4. To stretch an object from its center hold down Shift, and drag one of the side selection handles. To stretch an object in increments of 100%, hold down Ctrl as you drag a selection handle. To stretch an object vertically and horizontally at the same time, hold down Alt as you drag one of the corner selection handles.
  5. You can rotate and skew an object freely if you hold down Alt key while transforming it.

Working with text

  1. In CorelDRAW 8 there's a feature of automatic node tracking. When it is on, a pointer turns into the Shape tool whenever you move it over a curve node. However if you press "Z" you enable a node tracking for text objects. Hold down "Z" key and move over a character node. The pointer turns into the Shape tool and you can drag separate characters by their nodes.
  2. To change text kerning using the keyboard, select two or more characters of Paragraph or Artistic text with the Text tool, then hold down Ctrl+Shift, and press ">" or "<" to either increase or decrease the space between characters.
  3. By Pressing Ctrl key while you drag a character with the Shape tool you can constrain it to the text baseline.
  4. While in text editing mode, you can use Ctrl+B to apply bold to selected text, Ctrl+I for italic, Ctrl+U for underline. You can also set text justification by pressing Ctrl+N to apply no justification, Ctrl+L – justify left, Ctrl+E – center, Ctrl+R – justify right, Ctrl+J – full justify, Ctrl+Shift+A – All Caps, Ctrl+Shift+K – Small Caps. Pressing Shift+F3 brings up Change Case dialog and Ctrl+Shift+C toggles display of non-printable characters. Alt-F3 invokes Find Text dialog.
  5. If you press Ctrl+M with Paragraph text object selected you can add/remove bullets to/from text.
  6. You can interactively change the point size of selected text (object) if you press Ctrl and 2, 4, 6 or 8 on the numeric keypad. Ctrl+8/2 increases/decreases the text size in steps of 1 point. Ctrl+6/8 increases/decreases the text size in steps specified in text size drop-down list. These steps are 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 24, 36, 48, 72 and so on.
  7. Pressing Ctrl+F8 converts artistic text object to paragraph text object and vice versa.

Drawing and editing curves

  1. Holding down Alt while drawing with the Bezier tool let's you reposition the last node you created. Holding down "C" changes the last node to a cusp node, while holding down "S" changes the last node to a smooth node.
  2. When you cut an object with the Knife tool you can choose to leave only one part of the object by pressing Tab while the pointer is over the ending point of the cut (but don't release the mouse button until you select a desired part).
  3. Holding down Shift while cutting an object with the Knife tool puts you in Bezier curve mode. Holding down Shift+Ctrl puts you in Bezier curve mode with the curve constrained by increments of 15 degrees.
  4. You can add a node to a curve by double-clicking with the Shape tool on a curve's segment where you want the node to be added. The same way, you can delete a node by double-clicking it with the Shape tool.
  5. While in node editing mode (Shape tool selected), you can add a node exactly in the middle of a curve segment if you select a node and press gray "+" on the numeric keypad. You can select several nodes at once to add multiple new nodes to corresponding segments.
  6. To move a control point hidden under its node, deselect all nodes on the curve object, hold down Shift, and drag the control point out from under the node.
  7. To select the first or end node on a curve object, select the curve object with the Shape tool. Then press Home to select the first node, or press End to select the end node. Note that on a closed curve, the first node and the end node are the same.
  8. To select all nodes on a curve, hold down Ctrl+Shift and select the curve with the Shape tool.
  9. With the Pick tool selected, you can easily access full node editing capability by holding down "Z" on the keyboard.
  10. Pressing Tab while you draw with Freehand or Natural Pen tool toggles between straight and freehand line segments.

User interface

  1. Double-click outline/fill color swatch on the status bar to bring up the corresponding outline color/fill dialog.
  2. You can quickly move a button on a toolbar by dragging it while holding down Shift and Alt. To delete a button from a tool bar, drag it off the toolbar with Alt key down. You can duplicate a button or create a copy of it on another toolbar if you Ctrl+Alt+drag it.
  3. You can change the image of a button on a toolbar if you click it with the right mouse button while in Customize Toolbars section of Options dialog and select Properties from the pop-up menu.
  4. You can group roll-up windows if you Alt-click the title bar of one roll-up and drag it over another. To ungroup a roll-up just drag its name from the group list of a roll-up group.
  5. The Status Bar in CorelDRAW 8.232 suffers from some problems and tends to loose some controls such as object datails. To restore it to the default state click it with the right mouse button and choose Reset Status Bar from the pop-up menu.
  6. You can enter arithmetic expressions in the Proprty bar, such as 1.0+(.4+.2)*2. Thus, to increase the object width by .75" you don't have to calculate in mind, just type "+.75" at the end of the current width value and hit Enter. Or to scale the object by 50% just type "/2" in its width/height field.


  1. You can duplicate an object without offset by pressing gray "+" on the numeric keypad.
  2. You can adjust the distance for placing duplicates instantly without visiting Options dialog. After you duplicated an object, move it to desired position. If you duplicate the object again, a duplicate will be placed at the new offset. Once the object is deselected, duplicate offset distance is reset to its default values.
  3. You can align objects without opening Align dialog box. After you select objects press "C" to center them horizontally, "L" – align to left, "R" – align to right, "T" – align to top, "B" – align to bottom, "E" – center vertically.
  4. If you press Alt key while placing an imported picture, you can scale it non-proportionally.
  5. Pressing Alt+Arrow keys pans the document.
  6. You can click a color well in the on-screen palette with Ctrl held down to add 10% of that color to fill of selected object(s).
  7. If you click on a color well and pause for a second, the color variation window pops up allowing you to choose variations of the selected color.
  8. If you hit the spacebar or Enter key when CorelDRAW prompts you to specify where to place the imported image, the image is placed in the center of the current page.
  9. Pressing Ctrl+Shift+A brings Copy Properties From... dialog.

More tips to come soon!

Troubleshooting CorelDRAW

If you have problems using CorelDRAW (e.g. crashes, hangs, etc) and nothing seems to help, try reseting your workspace. Corrupt workspace information might be the major problem which may result in CorelDRAW not launching.

To restore the workspace to the factory defaults press F8 while launching CorelDRAW8. Then you will be prompted whether you want to overwrite the workspace data with its factory defaults. You may also do this from a DOS box command line. Use switch "/FACTORY" on the command line that has the same effect as pressing F8:

C:\COREL\DRAW8\PROGRAMS>coreldrw.exe /factory

However if this doesn't help, then probably you'll have to reinstall CorelDRAW. Don't forget to clean up the workspaces after you uninstalled CorelDRAW because they are not removed by Uninstaller if you are running multi-user system setup.

If you have Windows 95 installed on your computer and under Control Panel/Passwords/User profiles you have clicked on "All Users of this PC use the same configuration..." then you only need to delete Corel/Draw8 folder (or whatever you installed CorelDRAW8 into). Don't forget to backup any custom files (color palettes, patterns, templates, scripts, etc.) first!

If you have Windows 95 installed on your computer and under Control Panel/Passwords/User profiles you have clicked on "Users can customize..."   or you have Windows NT 4 installed, then follow these steps to remove CorelDRAW8 profiles:

  1. Under your Windows directory find a folder called Profiles.
  2. In that folder select the user profile that you used when you ran CorelDRAW8 and open it.
  3. Choose Application Data folder and then Corel folder. Delete the folder called CorelDRAW 8. Deleting other files or folders may result in not being able to uninstall other Corel applications on your system

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Copyright 2000 by Alex Vakulenko. All rights reserved.
This page was last revised on 03/09/00.