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Software Review of:
CorelDRAW Basics
Click-n-Learn series



Clarke Bird has been a CorelDRAW user for three years but frequently sneaks a peak at the Click-n-Learn Basics CDs when his CorelDRAW Saturday class isn't looking.

From the October, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

Several years ago, my wife and I bought a series of four VCR tapes Learning WordPerfect 6.1. I would sit in the den watching the lessons on our TV — the lessons were well done, by the way — but frequently, I would find my eyes getting heavy with the hypnotic sound of the woman instructor's voice. Then I would have to get up and go into my office to my PC to practice a technique shown on the video tape. That was before CD teaching audio-visuals, designed to be used at your PC were introduced. No more VCR tapes for this guy.

Yes, we live in a visual world but the CD provides a far richer medium for learning a program than does a VCR tape.

In the August, 2001 issue of PC Alamode, I reviewed a multi-disk set of Click-n-Learn lessons on CorelDRAW and Corel Photo-Paint programs. Now, Scott Georgeson has introduced a new 2-disk set of learning CDs — CorelDRAW Basics.

When a new user is faced with a daunting program such as CorelDRAW with it’s steep learning curve, you need all the help you can get. These Click-n-Learn CDs are just the ticket for a new user to get up to speed, especially this new Basics CD that is particularly designed for the novice or beginner user of CorelDRAW. In addition, an experienced CorelDRAW user may forget some basics techniques if he/she isn’t using them in a normal part of their day and this 2-CD set would be a good “refresher course”.

Covering all the key elements of CorelDRAW, there are 67 audio-visual lessons to work through. Switching back and forth from the CorelDRAW Basics CD to a prepared screen in your CorelDRAW program itself, this technique seems to me to be a “fail safe” way to learn a program.

Inserting CD #1 into your CD tray activates the self-install feature. You are given the option to install on a server (in a PC lab or in a school) or for a single user. Once installed, the first screen you see is the Lesson Control Panel in which you select which lesson you want to view (or go back to for review). Upon selecting the lesson set, another window presents specific lessons from which you can make your choices. As each lesson ends, you are brought back to this window to make your next selection.

What does the screen look like during a lesson? Visualize watching a video of a CorelDRAW screen, frequently with some extra graphics showing keyboard shortcuts, depending upon the lesson you’ve opened. Throughout you will hear Scott Georgeson’s voice-over with a definite Australian accent walking you through the lesson — while watching the cursor move around the page, clicking on icons, using the various tools from the toolbar, etc. You will quickly get accustomed to the Australian terms: “Zed” for our letter “Z” (it’s the same in Canada and England) and discovering “click heah” means “click here.” 

As in many sophisticated software programs, there are several ways to perform a task, including keyboard shortcuts. Each way of doing a technique, including the keyboard shortcuts, is shown in detail.

Didn’t quite understand that last procedure? Simply click on the Screen Cam that parks in the lower right part of your screen (Figure 5).You can review or redo any lesson at any time thoughout the course of CorelDRAW Basic’s lessons. If you are working on a project six months down the road and you stop and say to yourself, “Now how can I do that?” Just pop CD 1 into your CD tray, pick the lesson covering the procedure you want to accomplish, and click on the lesson.

For those serious about CorelDRAW, a final “Design Exam” will help assess your progress and provide you a “workplace ready” certificate. If your goal is to acquire an Official Corel Certification in CorelDRAW, you should be fully equipped with the required knowledge to take a Certified VUE Corel exam at the basic level (there are only two levels — Basic and Advanced).

In an early lesson, Click-n-Learn presents the user/viewer a screen showing the various tools and parts of a CorelDRAW window and walks you through the various rollups and flyouts. This is a good lesson for CorelDRAW beginners as each time you click on a tool, the toolbar changes and soon you find yourself lost, wondering what happened to the familiar tools you had just been using.

A neat inducement to try Click-n-Learn’s CorelDRAW Basics is that CorelDRAW Essentials will be included with your 2-CD ‘Basics package. For those who are not familiar with ‘Essentials, Corel frequently repackages “last year's version” of the pro graphics suite as a consumer product. For the new CorelDraw Essentials, Corel took CorelDraw 9 Graphics Suite, removed a few features, and gave it a more affordable price (about $70 street price). Still, Essentials is reported to be loaded with mature tools, including vector-drawing and page-layout features, Photo-Paint 9 for image editing, 5,000 pieces of clip art, and 1,000 digital photos. Since Essentials wasn't developed with an eye on the amateur user, it may seem somewhat complex, but Click-n-Learn CorelDRAW Basics will ease the learning process with its excellent tutorial lessons.

In other words, if you don’t already own a copy of CorelDRAW, here is a very inexpensive way of obtaining the program and a 2-CD set of lessons to learn how to use it.

You can obtain CorelDRAW Basics plus CorelDRAW Essentials for $249 U.S. by going to Click-n-Learn’s Website. You can Fax Click-n-Learn at: 61 8 8370-4087.

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