Xara X

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Revision as of 21:33, 10 July 2007 by Bbb (talk | contribs) (→‎Features)
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Features in Common

  • In brief: both are multi-platform and are protected by the GPL. Inkscape is free software; so is Xara Xtreme (currently only partially, as the renderer part of Xara is still closed and binary-only).

Inkscape Advantages


  • open, text-based, XML-based standardized format (the Xar File Format is a published standard too, but not XML, and not widely adopted)
  • scriptable (rich command line), extendable (perl/python extensions)


  • live XML tree editor
  • gaussian blur (not the same as feathering; blurs everything, can be squeezed and rotated)
  • live clones (copies that are linked to the original and update when it's changed)
  • clone tiler (can be used for two-dimensional object scattering with randomization and coloring)
  • tile tracing (tracing anything by a pattern of clones)
  • unclumping (two-dimensional, incremental equidistant distribution of objects)
  • randomizing object positions
  • paint bucket tool to fill any bounded area with a path
  • 3D box tool
  • selection by touch in Selector
  • baseline snapping, alignment, distribution
  • find dialog (find any object by type, style, id, etc)
  • export and conversion from command line, including batch export with GUI and commandline [Xara has batch export via GUI only, using Names gallery]
  • persistent per-object export hints (filename, resolution)
  • command line query options to examine objects in a drawing
  • command line access to verbs (commands) to automate tasks
  • hierarchical layers, "enter group" command making it a temporary layer
  • pattern fills from arbitrary objects
  • gradients/patterns on stroke as well as fill
  • transform/not transform switch for patterns and gradients
  • switch to preserve rounded rect corners in transforms
  • scale/rotate/skew any number of objects separately, each around its own center
  • numeric skew (both axes; by angle, %, displacement)
  • editing transform matrix
  • persistent per-object rotation centers
  • simplify-like deletion of nodes
  • node sculpting
  • symmetric nodes
  • different star/polygon rounding (both Xara's and Inkscape's approaches have their advantages)
  • randomized stars
  • spirals
  • easy segment and arc from ellipse
  • the ability to combine color and transparency in a gradient
  • linked offsets and text-on-path remain freely transformable
  • convenient calligraphy pen (sensitive to tablet pressure/tilt, speed and direction, with tremor)
  • local path thinning/thickening (with Alt in calligraphic)
  • guided drawing, tracing background in calligraphic
  • flowing text into arbitrary shapes, chaining, exclusion
  • one-command removal of kerns from text
  • rotating characters in text (including text on path)
  • whiteboard (interactive collaborative drawing across the net)
  • connector tool for diagrams
  • automatic diagram layout
  • removing overlaps
  • cool effects for paths: randomize, add nodes, swirl, fractal, function plotter and many others
  • effects for colors (inverse, more saturation etc) and text (sentence case, randomize case etc)
  • smoother and more powerful bitmap tracer
  • icon preview
  • masks separate from fill
  • more localisations


  • overall, times more keyboard shortcuts than in xara
  • a large part of all keys are configurable (including Xara emulation option)
  • keys for canvas scrolling (with acceleration)
  • keys for scaling and rotating (including pixel-size)
  • keys for scaling and rotating (including pixel-size) of nodes, including scale/rotate of node groups
  • keys for letterspacing, linespacing, kerning in text (including pixel-size)
  • nodes can be moved with snapping along the adjacent straight line segments or their Bezier controls
  • gradient handles can merge and unmerge
  • history of zooms (Xara has a single "previous zoom")
  • zooming by single key (+/-, without ctrl)
  • any kind of zooming (including area) without tool switching
  • "bounding box" per-object selection hints
  • cursor changes over selectable objects
  • more precision in editable numeric fields

Xara advantages

  • fast renderer
  • blends [Inkscape has limited path+style blending via Interpolate extension]
  • envelopes, including curvilinear and perspective [Inkscape has non-interactive analog via Envelope and Perspective extensions; also non-perspective distortions can be made via node sculpting]
  • linked colors
  • Pantone colors
  • colour blending modes ("transparency types", compositing modes - lighten, darken etc)
  • Photoshop plugins/Live effects
  • editing "clipview" clippath without unclipping?
  • integrated Picture Editor for embedded bitmaps
  • can node-edit more than one path at a time
  • brushes along path, path remains editable [Inkscape has non-interactive analog via Pattern along Path extension], can be used for object scattering with randomization
  • variable stroke width, with selectable profiles or taken from pressure sensitivity
  • dynamic drop shadows [can be emulated in Inkscape via clones+blur]
  • feathering objects' edges (not the same as blurring - only inward from edge, like a blurred transparency mask) [can be emulated in Inkscape via clone+blur+mask]
  • more gradient types (conic, 4-point etc) [a limitation of the SVG specification, only linear and radial are defined]
  • bevel tool (outer/inner; join types; size; light angle and elevation; flat/rounded/chiseled etc types (15 in total))
  • "nav bar" tool for buttons (hidden in Xtreme)
  • quick transparency gradients separate from fill [to some extent, can be emulated by SVG masks]
  • gradient profiles [SVG limitation, can be clumsily approximated by multistage gradients]
  • rainbow/alt-rainbow gradient options
  • different star/polygon rounding (both Xara's and Inkscape's approaches have their advantages)
  • fractal fill (two preset types, no parameters)
  • more input and output formats (including CDR, Flash; but not yet SVG)
  • non-AA display mode (note: anti-aliasing is _not_ a significant factor in the speed of Inkscape)
  • linked stretching (autoscaling objects), e.g. stretching button to fit the text

Per-feature comparison:

Rectangle tool:


  • Corner radii only in relative units (% of width/height)
  • Can create with rotation ("Radius creation" and "Diameter creation" options)
  • Can edit centre X/Y numerically
  • Can convert to ellipse by doubleclicking center


  • Preview as-you-draw
  • Corner radii only in absolute units
  • A switch to preserve corner radii in scaling

Rotation centers:


  • BAD: looks like once you move a center of an object, ALL objects will use the same center!
  • BAD: does not survive save/reload - all objects are reset to geometric centers. (In other words, the center seems to be the property of the Selector tool, not of objects!)
  • with Ctrl, center snaps to corners/midsides


  • Each object has its own center; if you want to rotate multiple objects around one center, just select them all (taking the object with the center first)
  • Centers persist through save/reload
  • Centers snap to edges and corners/midsides

Bitmap tracer:


  • BAD: all parameters are set in some relative values in the range 1..100, except for "number of passes" which does not correspond to anything quantifiable. There's no way I could find to set explicitly the number of colors.
  • BAD: as a result, tracing a simple line art such as a two-color logo is nearly impossible. Xara almost always creates a bunch of dirt at the fringes due to antialiasing, and shapes get distorted a lot. The Monochrome option seems to be broken.
  • BAD: for photos, there's no stacking option, so full-color traces come out very untidy. The shapes are also more distorted than in Inkscape. If you try to make them less distorted, they start getting pixelated.

Pen tool:


  • you can drag curve and nodes (with snapping and closing) while in the tool (but, strangely, not node handles)


  • live preview of the next segment
  • you can create hor/vert straight line segments with Ctrl
  • length/angle display in statusbar
  • you can easily create disconnected subpaths (starting with Shift)

Path simplification:


  • slider for the just-drawn freehand line (only), to refit both ways (looser or tighter) while it's still selected
  • interactive 0-100% slider in Node tool, looser only but remembers setting while you have the same nodes selected lets you de-simplify back
  • works on selected nodes (actually, ONLY works on selected nodes)


  • Ctrl+L works in any tool, smoothing incrementally with acceleration
  • has wider range and works more gradually
  • works on multiple objects, and on whole object without node selection


Screenshots on the Xara site Page mirror: Web Archive

Screenshot showing Xara Brushes

Screenshot showing Xara Clipart Gallery

Screenshot of Xara depicting a Chevrolet Automobile Screenshot of Xara Wireframe View of Chevrolet Automobile


official site

community site of artists

open source Xara Xtreme

Xar File Format

Xara at Wikipedia


Repeating Inkscape Advantages and doing a full comparision on every page would be redundant. The purpose of these pages is to see what ideas we can learn from other projects, advantages to be copied and flaws to be avoided. Comparisions are more about marketing than development and maybe counter productive. I would recommened a restructuring of this page. -- AlanHorkan

I object. There's no repetition because we do not list just "Inkscape advantages," but "Inkscape advantages compared to this specific program". Therefore the list of items and their wording will be unique for each program that we compare to. And I don't see how an objective comparison can ever be counterproductive.
I agree with both of you: Bulia is right about listing some Inkscape advantages, but this list is too extensive, including a lot of minor features, IMO only the *key* features should be noted, the rest are, as Alan said, redundant. --nicu
You cannot predict which features will be minor or major for someone. Quite often, a user rejects or falls in love with a program because of some very minor conveniences that he loves or hates. I happen to know both these programs quite well, so I listed everything I know, and I welcome more additions to both Xara and Inkscape lists, no matter how minor. We might need to better categorize these lists, but I would object to trimming them down arbitrarily. I also think that we need something like that, if not more detailed, for other vector editors as well. --bb
The goal of this page is to track how we compare to Xara and what remains to do to catch up. This list format is the best for this purpose. Ideally we need to have such lists on all "other vector editor" pages on our wiki. --bb

I still object and think having all the information about Inkscape on this page is unnecessary but I think having my objections here prominantly on record may be enough to warn people this is not intended as Comparative Advertising or be misconstrued as anything other than us being interested in learning from other projects.

I have absolutely no problem if someone perceives this as "comparative advertising", so long as the page is objective and complete. Let the people decide for themselves. --bb