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Biology. Biology Graphics Office Corel Draw X4, for poster design - 2010. Biology Photo-Graphics Unit. Office web site Office Location/contact: Department of Biology Room: K145 T: 01904 328729 E: Staff:

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Biology Graphics Office

Corel Draw X4, for poster design - 2010

biology photo graphics unit
Biology Photo-Graphics Unit
  • Office web site
    • Office Location/contact:
    • Department of Biology
    • Room: K145
    • T: 01904 328729
    • E:
    • Staff:
    • Phil Roberts (
    • Sue Sparrow (
    • Andy Northing (



Vector shapes


Check your instructions, & consider your audience

Our standard measurements 1060 x 750mm

A0=118x84cm, 9% bigger than our std, but less economical to print

1060 mm

Landscapeor Portrait

1060 mm


Corel Draw X4 Work Space

standard menus

context sensitive menu


rulers / click & drag for guides


drawing tools


Swatch/ click to expand


paste board


Pick (select, move, resize objects)

Shape (modify the shape of objects)

Crop (crop images)

Zoom (zoom in and out of the workspace)

Freehand / line (draw lines or freehand shapes)

Smart fill ()

Rectangle (use ‘Ctrl’ on keyboard will constrain a square, ‘Shift’ to expand from centre)Elipse (use keyboard short cuts as above for Circles and other effects)PolygonBasic shapesTextTable

Interactive effects (Drop shadows, transparency and more…)

Colour picker and fill

Outline (also known as ‘stroke’, control weight and colour)Fill (flat colour, gradients and textures)

Interactive fill (fill effects)


Scheme and content

Layout: structure, colour, readability

how is this effected by your message/data?

how can this enhance your message/data?


Posters with a Dark Background and Light Text are more difficult to read than Dark Text and Light Background.

  • Text can be coloured by selecting the text with the ‘A’ tool, see left Tool Box. Then choose a colour of your choice from the colour palette.

Poster text Poster text Poster text Poster text

Poster text Poster text Poster text Poster text



  • The colour you see on the screen generally does not match the colour that is printed.
  • Each printer can have variation of colour.
  • A Printer Swatch for the CorelDRAW CMYK Palette is available to view in the Photo-Graphics office, showing CMYK colours printed from the HP Poster printer.
  • Corel Draw has a selection of colours for different jobs. The palette for print jobs should be CMYK, the palette for screen work should be RGB.Corel Draw X4: drop down menu Window | ColorPalettes


  • Background Colour can be applied to your poster by either:
    • Drawing a rectangle over the whole page using the Rectangle Tool, add a colour by selecting the rectangle edge with the Pick Tool and selecting the colour of your choice from the swatch on the right of the work space. Possibly use a separate new layer
    • or
    • Select Layout|Page background, a dialogue box will open. Select Solid and pick a colour from the drop down swatch.

Rulers and Guides

  • Rulers appear on the left and top of the paste board.You can set the units of measurement from the drop down list on the main tool (property) bar.
  • Guides are used to align objects, Corel supports horizontal and vertical guides, as well as a rotating feature.
  • when using Text Boxes, tab guides and indent options appear embedded within the rulers.

Aligning Objects

  • All assets on the page and paste board can be aligned in relation to the page and / or each other using the Align option.
  • This is one of the most useful tools within Corel, especially when working with large scale print work.


  • On the left of the workspace are all the tools available for drawing. If the tool has a black arrow head pointing bottom right, this means that if you click and hold the mouse button for a few seconds, further tools in that series will become visible. This is called a ‘Flyout’.
  • Draw basic shapes and lines with the tools available. There are two types of drawn assets: A ‘Curve’ or an ‘Object’.
  • all vector illustrations are combinations of manipulated / geometric shapes and freehand drawn shapes.


    • If a shape is a ‘curve’, the context sensitive tool bar at the top of the workspace allows you to change line thickness, add arrow heads etc. This will appear if you have the Pick Tool selected and not the drawing tool.
    • NOTE: Line thickness should not be below 1pt Hairlines can be ignored by some printers
    • When using Drawn objects, you may need to alter the stacking order, so that the object of your choice is visible in front of another.


  • Objects
    • Right click on the object for a list of options. Select Properties from the docker that opens you can alter line thickness etc.
    • NOTE: Line thickness should not be below 1pt
    • Use the Outline Tool to add or remove outlines from an object or curve.
    • To colour an object or curve, select it with the Pick Tool, and then select a colour from the colour swatch.
    • Drawn objects are useful for background shapes for posters (columns etc.) as well as diagrams.


  • Alternative colour application
    • A flat colour within a shape is called a Fill
    • Gradient FillsandTextured Fillsare available from the Fill Tool (Bucket icon)……However
    • Using complex Fills adds greatly to your overall file size and adds complexity and unreliability to the print process itself.
    • Where possible try not to detract from the readability of the poster by using too many G.E.Ds. (Graphic Emphasis Devices!)


  • Layers are visible in the Object Manager
    • Layers are useful for separating Backgrounds, Diagrams, Labelsand Text. This can simplify selecting objects on a complex poster.
    • Create a new layer using the icons in the top of the Object Manager window.
    • You can also Lock individual layers to prevent accidental alterations.
    • Click on the Eye icon to hide other obscuring layers while working on a specific layer.
    • NOTE: If you ‘Group’ objects which are on different layers, they will all be moved and grouped on to the top most layer.
    • You can still use the normal stacking order options on individual layers.

Screen Views

  • Setting the screen view (drop menu) allows you to find hidden objects, it also allows you to work easily in a lower resolution.
  • Wire frame
    • This option will show traced outlines of all objects on the page. This helps you to find an object obscured by something above it in the stacking order.
  • Draft / Normal / Enhanced
    • These options allow you to view the page at differing resolutions.Use the Normal option as default. Use Enhanced to preview final artwork and EPS embedded objects.


  • Break the content into a clear title and sub-sections.Type the text in Word for ease, but formatting can be done in Corel Draw.
    • Choose a clear, readable font. (Arial etc.)
    • Check any scientific symbols in Corel Draw as they may alter when imported.
    • Font sizes e.g.: Titles 48 – 200pt Sub Titles 30 - 44pt Text 20 - 24pt
    • If the bulk of page is covered in text that is below 20pt there is too much


  • Importing text from Word (or other source)
    • There are many ways to add text from an external document to your poster.
    • If the text is prepared in Word - Copy & Paste. Copy the text from source file, then in Corel, use the Text tool, draw a text box and click into it to see a cursor, then paste.


  • Using Text Symbols - e.g. b µ
    • Corel Draw has an ‘insert character’ docker available from:
    • Text | Insert Symbol Characterthis will appear on the right of the workspace, select the font of your choice from the drop down menu, a list of symbols will appear.
    • If you have a text box selected, double click on the symbol of your choice in the docker window. the symbol will appear where your cursor is in the text box.
    • If you do not have a text box selected, you can ‘Drag and Drop’ a symbol from the docker onto the document as an independent Artistic Text object.


  • Using Text Symbols cont…
    • Occasionally the Corel Draw symbols insertion method can prove unreliable. The alternative is: Select Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Character Mapchoose a font of your choice, click on a character to view it larger, choose the character you want, click select then copyThe character is then in the clip board, and ready to paste into a Corel Draw text box or as an artistic text object.
    • You may then need to set the font size and colour.
    • The Character Map is useful for finding symbols and special bullets.

Importing Photos / Bitmaps

  • Corel Draw is not a bitmap editor, but has some functionality to aid the use of bitmaps within its workspace
    • GIF files, generally found on the Internet are low resolution and are unsuitable for use in a large poster. The size of the final print stresses the low quality of the Gif image.
    • Copying images from Word or PowerPoint to Corel Draw. This process is unreliable. Images that are copied from these two programs can easily become corrupted in the process.
    • Always allow time for an A4 proof print and corrections.


  • Some logos are available from the Photo Unit file store(ask for copies). These include good quality copies of the University logo.
  • Important considerations for bitmap images are:Resolution - the lowest resolution you should use is 150dpi to 100% of print size, the largest is 300dpi.Colour Mode - The printer uses Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK Inks. Your photo files may be in Red Green Blue (screen colours).


  • Excel or other.
  • if possible export from originating software, as either high res bitmap (Tiff, JPG, PNG) or vector file (EMF, WMF, EPS), then import into Corel Draw
  • Alternatively, ‘copy’ the chart, and use the Paste Special option in Corel Draw, and select a vector format
  • (this is trial and error as neither of these options will always work effectively)

PowerPoint for Posters

  • PowerPoint can be used for poster design.
  • Page setup can be found under the Design tab on the menu ribbon. Add page dimensions here. – 1060 x 750mm
  • To create shapes use the features on the Home tab on the menu ribbon. The Format tab is also a key area to find extra layout tools.
  • Use the Insert tab for options to insert images etc.

Aligning Objects in PowerPoint

  • Zooming in and out of a poster in PowerPoint is not as easy as Corel Draw. this makes it more difficult to precisely arrange text boxes, images or drawn shapes.
  • Select the objects you wish to align, then select the Draw Tab (see Tool Bar diagram) from the list that appears you can select a variety of alignment styles from the Align or distribute option.
  • You will also find other useful options, such as grouping.