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Which is the best way to work a CorelDraw file in Illustrator?

Explorer ,
Nov 30, 2022 Nov 30, 2022

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I'm trying to work some Corel files (someone else created) in Illustrator and I'm looking for the smoothest way to do it. One that doesn't change the looks of effects or texts.

 

I've tried exporting it from Corel as .AI, .PDF, and .EPS, but this happens:

 

1. As .AI, the file is completely altered: shapes are lacking color, texts are wild, images are not the same.

2. As .PDF, it's much better, but still: texts are disarrayed, shadow effects are not the same, they are more pixelated and ugly.

2. As .EPS, it's also better, but still: texts are separated into little bundles of text, and the shadow effects are uglier and more pixelated, and images are divided into very small pieces.

 

I made screenshots comparing the same file exported in the three ways described above:

 

fasigan para adobe forum.png

 

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Draw and design , Import and export

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Nov 30, 2022 Nov 30, 2022

Yeah, it's not easy exporting artwork from CorelDRAW over to Adobe Illustrator. Generally speaking, artwork that is more complex in nature will have more problems when imported into Illustrator.

I really wonder if the software developers at Corel (aka "Alludo") are doing any quality control tests on how their PDF, EPS and AI export filters perform when the resulting files are imported into Adobe Illustrator and other rival graphics applications. I've used both CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator for

...

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Community Expert ,
Nov 30, 2022 Nov 30, 2022

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Did you check out the questions and answers shown in the Related Conversations below? The first two offer some other options.

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Explorer ,
Nov 30, 2022 Nov 30, 2022

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Hi, yes! But when I open the files I've converted online, all or most of the artwork is missing

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Community Expert ,
Nov 30, 2022 Nov 30, 2022

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Which online converter did you use? Nothing is going to do a perfect job. Have you checked to see if Corel has a demo version you can download and try to work with your files?

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Explorer ,
Nov 30, 2022 Nov 30, 2022

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I actually used like 3 or 4 online convertors.. but none worked, they had different issues.

Also, I do have Corel, so I am able to open the files and export them as I wish, or even edit basic stuff, but I would rather not  learn the entire program to edit some of the more complex stuff, like gradients, opacity, strokes, masking.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 30, 2022 Nov 30, 2022

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Yeah, it's not easy exporting artwork from CorelDRAW over to Adobe Illustrator. Generally speaking, artwork that is more complex in nature will have more problems when imported into Illustrator.

I really wonder if the software developers at Corel (aka "Alludo") are doing any quality control tests on how their PDF, EPS and AI export filters perform when the resulting files are imported into Adobe Illustrator and other rival graphics applications. I've used both CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator for many years. Over the past decade it seems like the list of technical hang-ups have grown.

To be fair, Adobe Illustrator can't import or export CDR files. CorelDRAW can run into plenty of problems trying to read AI files. That's one of the reasons why I've had to use both applications for all these years. CorelDRAW is still very popular in the sign industry and some other niches. I receive CDR files from certain types of users. But most corporate branding work is done using Illustrator. The large format printing RIP applications we use are Adobe certified and tend to produce better results when fed Illustrator-based PDF files. There are lots of features and live effects in Illustrator that have no compatible counterpart in CorelDRAW. The same is true going the other direction. The rival applications do not overlap each other completely in terms of features.

IMHO, the Illustrator AI CS6 filter in CorelDRAW is the best choice to use for exporting artwork to Illustrator. The export filter has its technical problems, but issues get worse trying to place/open Corel-generated PDF or EPS files in Illustrator. Corel's PDF export filter works well at generating files for print-only use. The PDF files are not edit-friendly (unlike Illustrator PDFs with AI editing preserved). EPS has its own issues, plus EPS does not support transparency effects.

While Corel's AI export filter might be the best choice, a lot of repair and re-building work will be involved unfortunately.

Live effects such as drop-shadows should be re-created in Illustrator. Look out for gradient fills on objects getting knocked out of kilter, especially if the AI file was exported from an older version of CorelDRAW. When CorelDRAW exports objects with transparency effects it sometimes turns the fill into a rasterized, pixel-based object. This is definitely true for gradient fills that have varying levels of transparency.

The issue with text is pretty maddening. Single lines of "artistic text" usually import into Illustrator with no problem. Line spacing always gets messed up on any imported multi-line text objects. And you can't simply repair the text by changing line spacing values in the text properties palette. To fix the problem I'll create a "dummy" piece of area text or point text in a new, clean Illustrator file, style it how it should be, then copy the text object over into the file with the imported artwork from CorelDRAW. I'll use the eyedropper tool to copy the properties of the correct text block onto the errant blocks. Usually that repairs the line spacing to a non-corrupted value. The approach can be a real pain in the ***. If there is a lot of text, I'll just copy the verbiage from the CorelDRAW file into a notepad document and then copy that plain text from Notepad into Illustrator. Then I just re-do the styling and placement in the layout.

Astute Graphics' Vector First-Aid plugin has a feature that can repair strings of point text and area text that have been broken apart into lots of little pieces. Astute Graphics' plugins are great, but they're not cheap.

Oh, one more thing, I usually do not run CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator at the same time. There is a technical problem with fonts. If I have CorelDRAW running in the background while using Illustrator I'll see some styles in some type families disappear from the font menu. These are fonts I have installed directly into the Windows Fonts folder, not using Corel's Font Manager. It's weird. If I close both applications and then re-launch Illustrator all of my fonts are restored. 

There are plenty of things I do like about CorelDRAW. It's a breeze to use for creating technical drawings. But if the artwork in a layout is going to involve a lot of complex fills, transparency effects, etc I may choose to create the layout and shop drawings using only Adobe Illustrator.

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Explorer ,
Dec 01, 2022 Dec 01, 2022

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Thank you for the detailed response. You have mentioned most of (if not all) the issues I have been confronted with. 

I was wondering though, have you ever tried using inkscape or any other program to open a CDR file and export it to Illustrator? 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 01, 2022 Dec 01, 2022

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I occasionally tinker around with Inkscape and have used it to import ancient CorelDRAW files. For reasons that have never been made clear CorelDRAW has long had some limitations at opening or importing its own CDR files. Back in the 1990's Corel cut off file open/import support for CDR files made in versions 1 and 2. In recent years Corel moved the goal posts. The last few versions of CorelDRAW cannot open/import CDR files made in vesrion 5 or earlier. Only CDR files saved in version 6 or later will open at all. This issue doesn't affect anyone who started using CorelDRAW after 1995. Still, where does this nonsense stop? What's next? Do they cut off support for files made before version 10? There are people like me who have upwards of 30 years or more of archived files. Those files still have value. If Corel can't support CDR files made in any prior version then that makes it a liability to use the CDR format for any long term file storage.

Around 20 years ago I was attending a public function at a college and the speaker was extolling the virtues of digital technology. This person boasted how we would be able to put some media in a time capsule and people 100 or 200 years from now would be able to open it far more successfully than if the information was just printed on paper. Even back then I thought the claim was ridiculous. Today I think the notion is just laughably stupid. The truth is it's a serious struggle trying to keep digital assets and data "alive" and still viable. There are so many possible points of failure to kill your data. Dead storage formats. Dead software applications. Even dead operating systems.

Inkscape can import CorelDRAW CDR files, even ones made earlier than version 6. But the application is pretty flaky at opening the files. A fair amount of repair work would be involved. And if the old CDR file has a lot of live text objects using fonts bundled in those early versions you'll need access to an old install disc that has those fonts. Another drawback with Inkscape is it only works in RGB mode. It also writes SVG files in its own unique way, which can lead to some compatibility issues.

BTW, the current version of Adobe Illustrator can open AI or EPS files made in any prior version of Illustrator, going all the way back to the late 1980's. But, pretty soon, any AI files containing text objects styled using Postscript Type 1 fonts will have problems.

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Explorer ,
Dec 01, 2022 Dec 01, 2022

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I agree a 100% percent with what you say, and so all do all the main bosses at the company I work for, who know a lot about softwares and technology. They actually all use linux and open source programs, which tend to have less issues about compatibility and obsolete program versions.  I'm the only one that uses windows because of Adobe. And still, even though I work with the best hardware in my company, it tends to have many problems because of windows itself.  It is no surprise to me that inkscape, being a free, open source program can open old cdr files that Corel itself cannot.

 

Also, I tried Inkscape and it was exactly like you said, it's flaky when opening the files, and it doesn't read the artwork well. It was a long shot, but I had to try at least once.

 

Thanks again for your response and your time. It is truly helpful to read this from someone with so much experience as yourself.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 01, 2022 Dec 01, 2022

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Bobby Henderson covers a lot of ground there, and tips some good workarounds. With disparate type and effects engines, as well as different "interpreter" approaches, neither program reads (or writes) the other's formats correctly. A file that only contains simple vector shapes will probably work fine, but a full layout that combines text, vector graphics, and raster images just has too many ways to fail. Throw in some native effects and you get full-on incompatibility. If it were my project, I'd be rebuilding the layout in InDesign, where such mixed content belongs. It should be possible to export each graphic element discretely from DRAW! as PDF for placement in InDesign, and no matter where you take it, the type will have to be reset. I'm sorry there isn't a simpler answer.

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Mentor ,
Dec 01, 2022 Dec 01, 2022

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I haven't had to do this for a long time, but the best least worst solution for me was to create two separate docs, one with only text, and one with no text, export each to pdf, place in Illy then embed to reunite. Your mileage may vary...

[There's a neat script by Frederic Robin (http://robinfredericf.free.fr) that will unite live text that is broken up in the .eps process - I don't know what he's calling it as everything is in French, it might be mergeText or mergeTextToBlock, I'm sure you can find it on the interwebs]

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