Release Notes October 2019 June 2019 March 2019 October 2018 Xara Cloud

Release Notes

V16 Release Notes

You can find full details on all the new features and content in our V16 Release Notes.

October 2019

Chart Improvements

Some major enhancements to chart support, including the long awaited introduction of Line Charts. Plus we've added some very flexible new controls over the appearance of bar & column charts.

Make your reports and presentations stand out with a clear & professional display of your data

Heading Backgrounds

A quick and easy way to add a background color to your text that fills the full width of the text column, great for headings and highlighting text. And since it’s a popular style in Microsoft Word and Google Docs it means even better results when importing documents in that format.

Full width color backgrounds offer a new design choice for titles and paragraphs of text


  • Xara supports an exceptionally wide range of formats which we're constantly working to improve. This release includes updates to PDF and SVG import and export, and Word import (more info in the Release Notes).
  • The InfoBar in the Selector tool now shows the current angle of rotation of a selected object.
  • Some new time-saving text selection shortcuts: in the Text Tool double-click drag to select whole words, triple-click drag to select whole lines of text, quadruple-click drag to select whole paragraphs. Drag works backwards or forwards.
  • New in Options > General: select 'improve editability of imported docs' and Photo & Graphic Designer will auto-create color themes and text styles to match commonly used colors and styles in your imported Word, Powerpoint and PDF docs.

Automatic Bleed

A new auto-bleed feature for PDF/X output, which extends any object touching the edge of the page into the bleed area, giving better commercial print results.

Adjusting the bleed automatically, to ensure a perfect printed result

New Content

The latest additions to the Online Content Catalog give you lots of new options for displaying your data and spreading your message:
  • 4 line charts for this new category in the Online Content Catalog.
  • 4 invites & 4 e-cards: A new selection of seasonal cards and invitation templates, to make it easy to share the happy times with friends and family!
  • Social media templates: Be prepared for the busiest times of the social media year with our new selection of holiday templates for Facebook and Instagram.

June 2019

Smart Fields

Another great time saver: Configure a Smart Field for any repeating text string in your document that’s likely to change, and then you’ll only have to update its value once, in the Smart Field dialog. For example, you might create a Smart Field called ‘price’ or ‘phone number'.

One edit updates all instances of your Smart Field text

Enhanced SVG Export

You can now export individual images in SVG format, a great option for web graphics: smaller and faster to load than jpegs or pngs, with no loss of quality when you scale. It also adds another choice for file interchange with other graphic programs.

Use SVG images for better results when scaled up


Additional improvements to both PDF import and export.

Shrink Text on Overflow

Another variation of our popular time-saving text auto-fit feature. The new option automatically shrinks text to fit only when it starts to overflow the text area. And if you delete text, so it fits in the text area again,  the point size will revert to the original size.

The new shrink text on overflow option, handy when you update text that must fit in a limited space

New Content

The latest additions to the Online Content Catalog give you lots of new options for showcasing the most important text and images in your document or site:
  • 2 Photo Frames
  • 5 Smart Photo Frames (you can customize the shapes)
  • 9 Photo Panels
  • 7 Text Panels
  • 6 Labeled Lines

A small selection of the text panels and labeled lines that are new in June 2019

March 2019

Advanced Open Type Support

Most Open Type fonts include stylized characters that allow you to add interest and impact to your text. It could be a flourish that adds a certain elegance, or a simple and bold text effect that draws attention to a key statement.

Used successfully they are a sure sign of a professional designer, and will make your design eye-catching and memorable.

Specifically, we have added support for:

  • Swashes - decorative or ornamental characters with a flourish
  • Stylistic Alternates - alternative designs for particular characters in the font, purely for aesthetic or design effect
  • Titling Alternates - alternate characters that look best at a bigger size, so often (but not necessarily) used in headings & titles

We have also made some significant performance improvements.

Add some style to your title with swashes and alternates

Smart Layouts

Text Panels

A large selection of new and very flexible text panels - the best way to highlight important text in a range of documents.

Plus all Text Panels now support vertical alignment and text auto-fit.

Photo Panels and Frames

More than 30 new photo panels and a new category of photo frames, offering a host of new options for displaying your images to best effect – one of the most common requirements for all forms of document design.

Lots of new options for highlighting your best images!

Usability Improvements

  • Fast Line Width Control: Change line width by simply scrolling the mousewheel over the line or shape outline (with Ctrl+Shift) - a quick, easy and interactive way to edit your lines. A small usability improvement that’ll save you a lot of time!
  • Vertical alignment control has been moved to the Text Tool InfoBar


  • Significant improvements to PDF import and export and Powerpoint import

New SmartShapes

More than 30 new ultra-editable SmartShapes, including trapezoid and parallelogram - geometric shapes that are popular building blocks for designs from cards to flyers. We've also added braces (brackets).

Design ideas using a couple of the new shapes

Smart Labeled Lines

Really smart lines! The line length adjusts as you enter a label, and if it’s a valid measurement unit it will set the line length. Great for headings & dividers, labels for technical drawings and floating rulers!

Some examples of the new Smart Labeled Lines


Basic tables were introduced in v15 but they've taken a big steps forward in v16.

Like all SmartShapes editing is visual and interactive: you can use simple drag and drop to arrange the table, add or remove columns, adjust the width and height of rows and columns or the whole table, re-arrange rows, adjust spacing and cell padding. It's now an ultra-flexible table tool. Improvements include:

  • Can now apply style changes to a selection inside a table
  • All text and All border options added to the replace color list when changing multiple colors. Plus other improvements to the color editor when used with tables
  • Shift + drag on table width/height handles stretches the table around its center
  • Improved border positioning and border formatting
  • Now supports repositioning of row/columns that have merged cells
  • Performance improvements

One of the flexible table templates

October 2018

Import & Export

  • There have been some significant improvements in PDF import & export and Word import & export - see the Release Notes for full details

Color Palette from Photos

A common professional trick is to tie the document colors to colors used within a key photo in that document. 

Normally this is a pretty time consuming, manual process. Designer Pro now includes a powerful new tool that will analyse a photo, identify the pre-dominant colors in that image, and create a color palette of those colors with the names Theme Color 1 to Theme Color 5. By using those Theme Colors in your document, and linked shades of those colors, you can quickly and easily give your document a harmonious, professional look.

Try it yourself with our demo doc!

An example of just how effective this feature can be. The same text and layout with different photos, with theme colors based on the photo

Enhanced Pie Charts

Pie Charts are a new addition to the Charts category. These offer a super-easy way to create high quality vector pie charts. Designer will even automatically calculate the correct percentages for each pie slice!

Like all SmartShapes there are some very flexible editing options:
  • You can adjust the pie segments by dragging the handles, entering the figures or pasting CSV data
  • You can display values as percentage or absolute
  • It will automatically position the labels around the pie
  • You can 'pull out' sections to highligh important data
  • Segment colors are taken from theme colors or a color of your choice

Pie Chart with data import area (you can paste in CSV data)

Improved Arrows

Arrows are one of the most popular elements in the entire Content Catalog, which is why we've built Arrow SmartShapes into one of the most flexible and easy-to-use arrow tools to be found. 

We've made some significant improvements to the Arrow SmartShapes, see the Release Notes for full details. And we have a selection of the new Arrow SmartShape designs in the Content Catalog: Insert > Shape > Arrows to give them a try.

Editing an arrow is an interactive, visual experience, and now there's nothing you can't edit!

Other Text Handling Improvements

  • You can now include embedded graphics in Repeating text such as headers and footers, and anchor objects to that text

Tables v2

Basic tables were introduced in v15 but they've taken a big step forward with this release.

Like all SmartShapes editing is visual and interactive: you can use simple drag and drop to arrange the table, add or remove columns, adjust the width and height of rows and columns or the whole table, re-arrange rows, adjust spacing and cell padding. It's now an ultra-flexible table tool.

Improvements include the ability to paste tab delimited text data into your table, better border control, cell merging and un-merging, improved selection options and inner & outer padding controls. See the Release Notes for full details.

One of the new Table SmartShapes. Select Insert > Table.. to check them out.

Open Type Improvements

We first introduced Open Type ligature support last year, but we've made some significant improvements in v16 including dynamic previews of ligatures, stylistic sets and text capitalization, and support for contextual ligatures and contextual alternates.  

The net result is that you now have great flexibility to enhance the readability of key text, deal with unusual characters and introduce some beautiful and interesting decorative text into your documents - perfect for example for cards, invitations and flyers. 

Using contextual ligatures and contextual alternates signal a pro's attention to detail

Auto-Fitting Text

A powerful and time-saving new option that automatically resizes your text to 'best fit' into any shape. Forget about manually adjusting your font size, just turn on the new auto fit feature and type away - what you type will be automatically re-sized to fit. What's more it works with mixed font sizes, maintaining the relative size, and it even works with repelling borders!

Your text simply resizes to fit the shape, as you type

New Case Options

You now have lots of new case options available to you - including ALL CAPS, all lower, Initial Caps and small caps. You'll find them in the Advanced Text Toolbar under Text Capitalization. Simply apply them like other text settings such as bold and italic. Another great time-saver!

New Templates & SmartShapes

  • 3 new cards in Print > Cards & Invites (Birthday Invite, Newborn Card, Wedding Invite)
  • 4 new Pie Charts in Components > Print & Web Components > Charts
  • 2 new Smart Tables in Components > Print & Web Components > Tables
  • 6 new Arrow designs in Components > Print & Web Components > Arrows

You can view previews of a selection SmartShapes and templates in the Online Content Catalog.

Some of the new Arrows (the shaft is now a line and not a fill, so you can use line effects such as dash patterns)

Xara Cloud

Photo & Graphic Designer benefits from seamless integration with Xara Cloud, which makes it a great additional service.

Xara Cloud is an ultra-simple way to edit and share your Xara documents online in a web browser, using any computer or tablet. The Premium version of Xara Cloud also gives you the ability to work on Xara documents or Xara Cloud templates in collaboration with friends, colleagues and clients, commenting and editing together in real-time.

Xara Cloud is being constantly enhanced, and new features are made available as and when they are ready - you can find news of the very latest updates here.

You can find out more about the Free and Premium Xara Cloud options & register here.

Edit your Xara designs in a browser using any device