Xara X

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Revision as of 02:39, 21 March 2006 by Bb (talk | contribs)
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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.

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 (perl/python extensions), extendable
  • more localisations, easy to add your own


  • live XML tree editor
  • 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
  • baseline snapping, alignment, distribution
  • find dialog (find any object by type, style, id, etc)
  • export and conversion from command line, including batch export [Xara has batch export via GUI only, using Names gallery]
  • hierarchical layers, "enter group" command making it a temporary layer
  • pattern fills from arbitrary objects
  • 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
  • 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, direction)
  • 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
  • smoother and more powerful bitmap tracer
  • icon preview
  • masks?


  • 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 convenient per-object export hints [Xara has them via the Names gallery, but it's cumbersome]
  • more precision in editable numeric fields

Xara advantages

  • fast renderer
  • blends (Inkscape has limited path blending via an extension)
  • envelopes, including curvilinear and perspective (Inkscape has limited support via extensions)
  • linked colors
  • Pantone colors
  • colour blending 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), can be used for object scattering with randomization
  • variable stroke width, with selectable profiles or taken from pressure sensitivity
  • dynamic drop shadows
  • feathering objects' edges (not the same as blurring - only inward from edge, like a blurred transparency 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 (only two preset types)
  • 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)

Per-feature comparison:

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