Release Notes Animation & Effects Text Handling Xara Cloud 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 April 2016 Update Service release unless indicated otherwise in red.

Animation & Effects

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).

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

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).

Slideshows are published to M Hosting, included free with Web Designer Premium for one year.

The header in this site has a full width slideshow

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

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

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

new - July 2016

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
  • Two separate numbered lists can now be linked (so for example you could have a graphic in the middle) UPDATED - March 2017
  • An extended List Properties dialog for easier list editing UPDATED - November 2016

Other Text Enhancements

  • 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 easy to use Link to heading option (no anchor names required) NEW - November 2016
  • 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
  • And other minor enhancements

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 Web Designer Premium, and they can be used to improve the legibility and presentation of text and to introduce stylistic flourishes.

Xara Cloud

Web Designer benefits from seamless integration with Xara Cloud, which makes it a great additional service. You can find out more & register here.

Significant improvements since last year include:

  • Dramatically improved editing features (add & delete objects, move & resize, add & delete pages)
  • Bitmap export & download
  • PDF export and download
  • Create New Document (yes, your document no longer needs to be created in Web Designer!)
Xara Cloud is being constantly enhanced - you can find news of the very latest updates here

Edit your Xara websites in a browser using any device


All Business Themes Now Included

Yes, we really are including ALL 166 business themes to the Online Content Catalog of Web Designer Premium. 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.  Based on the v11 Content Catalog, this new and improved version will now offer:

  • Regular updates to the templates during the year
  • 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!

UPDATED - November 2016: 23 new photo grids, and a new folder structure to make it easy to find just the right layout for your site.

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

new - July 2016

Stock Photos & Illustration

New in the Online Content Catalog: In partnership with Pixabay we've added fully integrated access to a free library of over 750,000 quality royalty-free stock photos and over 150,000 vector illustrations.  All available under the CC0 license.

The Online Content Catalog now includes top quality CC0 stock photos & illustrations

Other New Templates & Widgets

  • 9 new General Website Themes all including mobile variants
  • A selection of new modern NavBar and standalone button designs
  • Social media templates such as Facebook, G+ and Twitter covers
  • 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 wider range of photo hovers and photo sliders, and extra photo clipart
  • A handy new page counter widget

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 include covers, profiles and more for all the most popular social sites

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 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
  • New Chart SmartShapes for percentage ring, bar chart and column chart (UPDATED - March 2017, now with time-saving chart label text style)
  • New Text Panels and Photo Panels
  • 10 new Timeline SmartShapes NEW - March 2017
  • 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

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

New SmartShapes in the Online Content Catalog include charts and percentage rings

new - July 2016

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 Online 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 categorized 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, making 115 in total. 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.

Just a few of the Photo Filters in the Online Content Catalog


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.

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).

Import & Export

  • Improved Word import and export UPDATED - March 2017
  • Improved PDF import UPDATED - March 2017
  • Improved PowerPoint import UPDATED - March 2017
  • Improved RTF import and export
  • Minor SVG import improvements NEW - July 2016

Other Enhancements

  • The ability to export images in a group with separate settings NEW - March 2017
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Option to keep Content Catalog open after selecting an item  NEW - November 2016
  • Improved web page transition animations (smoother and more consistent across different browsers and devices) 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

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

'Website M' Included Free For 1 Year

Web Designer Premium includes ‘Website M’ hosting (worth \$1.99 a month), free for one year. 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.