Release Notes Website Design Photo & Graphic Design Text Handling Content Other

Release Notes

V12 Release Notes

You can full details on all the new features and content in our V12 Release Notes.

Note: Features described below were in the July 2016 Update Service release unless indicated otherwise in red.

Website Design

Stick At Top

By popular demand, you will now have the option for an object to scroll to the top and then stick.  See our Example Site 2 (the NavBar sticks when it reaches the top of the page).

The new Fresh theme has a Stick At Top NavBar

New Scrolling Animations

We also have a completely new type of animation. You'll find 30 'scrolling animations' in the Reveal tab of the web animation dialog, which link an animation to the position of the scroll bar.

Instead of the animation running once when the object first appears (like reveal animations), the object animates whenever the document is scrolled, and the speed of the animation is proportional to the scrolling speed.

See our Example Site 1

'Website M' Included Free For 365 Days

Designer Pro includes an upgrade to ‘Website M’ hosting (worth \$1.99 a month), free for one year as part of our new Update Service. This includes 2GBytes of free web hosting space and one free domain name (e.g. or or .de etc).  Plus if you publish with Website M you can password protect your web pages.

Other Web Improvements

  • A new and improved media player (by default it uses the HTML5 capabilities of the web browser to play the audio and video where the browser supports it, otherwise Flash)
  • The preview window has been updated to include MS Edge preview (Windows 10)
  • An easy to use Link to heading option (no anchor names required) NEW - November 2016
  • Improved web page transition animations (smoother and more consistent across different browsers and devices) NEW - November 2016
  • Ability to export images in a group with separate settings NEW - March 2017

Enhanced 'On Reveal' Animations

On reveal animations were one of the hits of v11.  These are animations that are triggered as your object comes into view, and we’ve added 40 new animation types that work on reveal, such as bounce, zoom and flip.

Check out our Example Site 2 and Example Site 3, which include lots of examples of the new animations (based on the new Fresh and Able themes).

Parallax Scrolling Effects

The must-have effect for any contemporary site, parallax is a kind of 3D effect created by the background moving at a slower rate to the foreground. See our Example Site 1.

The header in this site has a parallax effect applied

new - March 2017

Full Width Slideshows

You can now set the photos in your Xara Slideshow widget to span the full width of the browser window for maximum effect.

Check out our Example Site 4 (based on the popular Hipster theme).

The header in this site has a full width slideshow

Photo & Graphic Design

Easy Move, Rotate & Scale for Photos

Select a photo in the Photo tool and you’ll see some new handles on the photo, for scale, rotate and crop. It’s a lot easier and more intuitive than using the Fill tool for these simple but frequent actions, and it’s smarter too – ensuring you never see any gaps around the edge of the photo when you move it in its frame or change the shape of the frame. Top Tip – it’s great for horizon straightening!

UPDATED - November 2016: Now as you drag the handles to adjust an image, a faint copy of the full uncropped image is shown behind.  

Scale & rotate with the curved arrow and push the photo with the hand. You can change the shape of the frame with the edge handles

New Blend Modes (dodge and burn)

We’ve added two great new transparency blend modes, compatible with the W3C standards: Dodge (which generally brightens) and burn (which generally darkens).

Magnetic Lasso

Cutting an object out of your photo is now as simple as clicking along the edge of the object to be cut, and hitting Cut!

Click the Magnetic Lasso icon in the Freehand region tool to discover a much quicker way to cut out objects

Photo Effect Painter

Check out the new paintbrush tool on the photo fly out. Now you can simply ‘paint’ on photo effects such as the new dodge and burn. And what’s more you can still edit the values of the effect, or edit the painted region with the Region Painter or Erazer.

UPDATED - November 2016: Feathering settings preserved and region naming improvements in the Photo Effect Painter 


A region painted using the Desaturate-medium effect. The ‘marching ants’ dotted outline shows the region is selected and active still.

New Cross Process Photo Effect

Create some dramatic contrast and saturation effects with this new option on the photo enhance toolbar, which simulates a traditional photographic effect created by using the wrong chemicals (digital photo editors such as PGD achieve the same effect by manipulating the red, green and blue channels).

Create dramatic photo effects with the new cross process option

Photo Filter Pre-Sets

A wonderfully quick and easy way to apply popular effects to your photos.

You’ll find more than 25 ready-made effects in the Content Catalog (image resources > photo filter pre-sets).  Simply select your photo and hit Import!  What’s more you can continue to edit the effects using the Enhance tool or Brightness Levels dialog, and if you replace the photo the effects are retained. See some examples.

NEW - November 2016: We've added 50 new photo filters and we've also categorised the filters to make it easier to find just the right filter to achieve the effect or ambience you're looking for!

NEW - March 2017: We’ve added another 40 filters. We’ve also introduced Photo Filter Overlays, which can be applied on top of existing filter pre-sets, such as pattern, texture and transparency Overlays. Filters can now be applied & removed with a handy right click menu option.

NEW - July 2017:  10 new Photo Filter Overlays with camera effects such as burn and flare, perfect if you want to make your social media profile stand out from the crowd. Now 125 photo filters in total!


Just a few of the pre-set photo filter effects in the Content Catalog

EXIF Tool Improvements

The EXIF tool has been enhanced, so it now supports IPCT and SMP tags.

Panorama Tool Improvements

Fans of the integrated photo panorama tool will be happy to see some big improvements, see the Release Notes for full details of what's new in PanoramaStudio 3.0.

Panorama examples.

It's easy to stitch together photos to create an impressive panorama

Text Handling

Symbols & Icons

Check out Insert > Symbol. These are not just useful symbols and icons that you can add to your text, but fully editable vector shapes!

  • The popular Font Awesome collection has been updated, and is now supplemented by a collection of Google Material Design Icons making more than 1500 symbols in total
  • We’ve added a search function for the symbols, eg search on ‘Face’ and it will show you Facebook symbols, smiley faces etc
  • The symbols will be automatically updated as new versions become available
  • Plus there’s improved handling of symbols that have been added to your text (so for example they aren’t affected by font changes to the text)
  • A new right click Replace Symbol option (including symbols in bullet lists)

You can now choose from over 1500 icons and symbols

Improved List Editing

  • You can now select just the bullets/numbers in bulleted/numbered lists, so you can then adjust the color, size or font independently of the list text
  • An extended List Properties dialog for easier list editing NEW - November 2016
  • Two separate numbered lists can now be linked (so for example you could have a graphic in the middle) UPDATED - March 2017
  • Further list editing improvements - UPDATED - July 2017

new - March 2017

Ligature Support

Many modern OpenType fonts include typographical ligatures, which allow sequences of consecutive characters in text to be displayed with a single glyph. These are now supported in Designer Pro X, and they can be used to improve the legibility and presentation of text and to introduce stylistic flourishes.

Other Text Enhancements

  • A new 'keep with next paragraph' option, typically used to prevent headings appearing on the last line of the page or text column
  • And a 'keep lines together' option, which can be used to prevent paragraphs from being split across pages or columns
  • Better handling of text on buttons (so font and font size changes are synchronized on the mouse off and mouse over state)
  • Improved subscript / superscript positioning
  • A new rectangular text repelling option
  • Option to change the case of selected text, switching between UPPER CASE, lower case or Sentence case
  • The spell checker menu now allows you to set the language for your whole document
  • Improvements to the auto-kerning (now supports kerning between character classes, so many newer OpenType fonts now render with the correct kerning)
  • An optional extra toolbar for the advanced text options, positioned under the InfoBar by default
  • Ability to align text vertically in text areas NEW - November 2016
  • Delete Style option added NEW - November 2016
  • The Style Properties dialog now includes the option to set the outline level of a heading style NEW - November 2016
  • Ability to hide styles in the Styles menu (Chart labels and TOC hidden by default) NEW - March 2017
  • Ability to select single objects embedded in or anchored to text NEW - March 2017
  • Option to align text vertically in Text Panels NEW - July 2017
  • Improved support for multi-weight fonts NEW - July 2017
  • And other minor enhancements

new - November 2016

Table of Contents

You can now build a Table of Contents automatically and insert it at the caret position, a massive time saver for anyone creating a long document.


new - July 2017

All Business Print Themes Now Included

Designer Pro already includes all the business web themes, now we're also adding all 100+ Business Print themes to the Online Content Catalog. These were previously sold for \$15 each!

Each theme includes everything from business cards and compliments slips to brochures, flyers and poster!

View previews of the Business Themes.

Other New Templates & Widgets

  • 9 new General Website Themes all including mobile variants
  • A selection of new modern NavBar and standalone button designs
  • A wider range of photo hovers and photo sliders, and extra photo clipart
  • A handy new page counter widget
  • A selection of new designs for buttons, cards, invitations, certificates & vouchers
  • Handy placeholder images for common aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9 etc)
  • Google Forms widget added to the Content Catalog. You can create your own custom forms but Google also offers templates for the most popular forms including surveys, questionnaires and contact forms. Plus there's an easy to use editor, reliable data storage, presentation and analysis. NEW - October 2016
  • A new single page web story template and a 5 new presentation themes NEW - July 2017
  • Additonal print templates including a new category of resumes, plus letters and flyers NEW - July 2017
  • Social media templates such as Facebook, G+ and Twitter covers UPDATED - July 2017

View previews of a selection of the themes and other templates in the Online Content Catalog (select the NEW filter to see some of the new ones).

New templates for key social media sites in the Online Content Catalog

New SmartShapes

SmartShapes are an amazingly quick and easy way to create and edit some of the most commonly required shapes. There are improvements to the way SmartShapes work (eg improved handles) plus some great new additions to the Online Content Catalog library of these ultra-editable ready-made shapes:

  • New Text Panels and Photo Panels
  • A new and more flexible version of the popular Spiral SmartShape
  • Other new SmartShapes include some simple shapes such as a rectangle where you can edit corners individually and custom lines
  • New variants of existing SmartShapes such as arrows and speech bubbles
  • New Chart SmartShapes for percentage ring, bar chart and column chart  (UPDATED - March 2017, now with time-saving chart label text style)
  • New Chevron SmartShapes NEW - November 2016
  • 15 additional arrow SmartShapes, plus a new handle that makes it easy to change the head and tail design where appropriate NEW - November 2016
  • 10 new Timeline SmartShapes NEW - March 2017
  • New Flowline SmartShapes (in arrows) NEW - July 2017

We will soon be offering a public API for SmartShapes for anyone interested in developing their own (programmed in Javascript). Contact Us.

New SmartShapes include charts, percentage rings, text panels, timelines & chevrons

All Business Web Themes Now Included

Yes, we really are including ALL 166 business web themes in the Online Content Catalog of Designer Pro. These were previously sold for \$15 each!

Each theme is a complete website, with linked pages typically required for that business type, and with professional photography suited to the business.  This makes it easier and quicker than ever to create a complete, professional looking website for almost any type of small business!

View previews of the Business Themes.

A New Online Content Catalog

An enhanced Online Content Catalog will be included free for one year as part of our new Update Service.  Based on the v11 Content Catalog, this new and improved version will now offer:

  • Fully integrated access to a free library of over 750,000 quality royalty-free stock photos and over 150,000 vector illustrations  UPDATED - November 2016 (can now download higher than HD resolution photos for print docs)
  • Regular updates to the templates as part of the Update Service
  • Full keyword search of the entire catalog
  • A new more logical structure to the content offering a better work flow 

The Designs Gallery (now 'Local Designs Gallery') will now be used to display only your current assets (those downloaded from the Online Content Catalog or from the optional back-up CD) making it quicker to access the resources you are already using.

Finding the right content is now easy with the Search feature in the new Online Content Catalog

Photo Grids

These are a cool new way to display your photos. We’ve added both fully editable Smart Photo Grids (Smartshapes) and simple photo grid templates.

The Smart Photo Grids let you display any collection of photos, even those with different shapes and aspect ratios, in a compact grid on your website. Drag and drop your photo onto the grid and it automatically updates to fit your photo in, no matter what shape it is!

Photo Grids in the Online Content Catalog offer a cool new way to display your photos


Update Service: Access New Features As They Are Developed

We know that many of you find it frustrating that you have to wait a whole year for our next update - knowing that we are working on (and likely finished) new cutting edge features and on-trend content.  We have the answer! For the first time you’ll have access to new features and content as we develop them, at any time during the 365 days after you purchase. You’ll be able to download and use these new features, for no extra charge, in addition to the version that you buy today.

The Update Service gives you 365 days access to:

  • The new Online Content Catalog, including any new templates released during that time
  • M Website Hosting
  • Upgrades and patches to Designer Pro released in the 365 days after you purchase and register. Note: these updates continue to work after 365 days in any installations at the date of expiry, but if you reinstall the software after the Update Service expires (and you don't renew) then these updates will not be included (the software will revert to the version at your date of purchase or registration).

Other Enhancements

  • You can now give individual objects names in the Page & Layer Gallery, to help find objects and to organize your designs
  • Distribute operations have been added to the Align toolbar
  • Styles updated in blank templates in File > New (eg adding 'Keep with Next' to heading styles of print templates) NEW - November 2016
  • Option to keep Content Catalog open after selecting an item  NEW - November 2016
  • Improved mouse pointers over SmartShape handles NEW - March 2017
  • 'Smart' handles are now automatically shown when you select a SmartShape with the Selector Tool NEW - March 2017
  • Paste to multiple pages NEW - March 2017
  • New 'Change width of all pages' option NEW - March 2017
  • Right click > Replace option for symbols inside groups NEW - July 2017
  • New document language property for the spell checker NEW - July 2017

Import & Export

  • Improved Word import and export UPDATED - March 2017
  • Improved PDF import/export UPDATED - July 2017
  • Improved PowerPoint import UPDATED - July 2017
  • Improved RTF import and export
  • Improved PSD import & export (we now map Xara objects to & from Photoshop layers)
  • Minor improvements to SVG import
  • PDF/X4 export which includes support for transparency NEW - July 2017