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Saving Defaults For All New Documents

CorelDRAW 5/6/7/8/9

By Tom Anzai


Tired of seeing AvantGarde Bk BT, 24 points come up as the font-of-choice whenever you use the Text tool? Ever wanted to permanently set Snap to Guidelines on? Always wanted your outlines to scale with image when sized? Never quite understood why you kept getting a dialog box similar to this:

def_def dialog.jpg (17842 bytes)


Figure 1 The default settings dialog box

If your answer is a resounding "Yes!" "Maybe", or "What the heck is he talking about", then this article is for you. I wouldn't be surprised given the number of people asking the same questions during one of my training sessions or posted on the CorelDRAW newsgroups. In fact, I just saw the following question posted on the Draw 9 newsgroup yesterday:


How can I make "scale with image" my default setting for all lines?

CorelDRAW 9 newsgroup posting

Defaults and the Grand Scheme of Things

One of my introductory students once asked me "What does the term default mean anyway?" Upon stammering about computer programs using this, that, and yadda yadda, I realized that I had her totally confused. Simply put (and after reading the online help for assistance), defaults are preset options built into an application. Each new document you open uses the default settings.

Historically, setting defaults were not the most intuitive process to do in CorelDRAW. In the days of CorelDRAW 5, you had to intentionally not select anything in order to change graphic and text styles. You’d see the same dialog box as in Figure 1 and if you took the time to read the small print in the dialog box, you would be able to change the defaults for all new documents. Note the emphasis "for all new documents". Back then, you not only changed the defaults for the current document, but also for new documents yet to be created. Technically, you were updating the coreldrw.cdt template file that CorelDRAW used to determine the default settings.

Then came CorelDRAW 6/7, the first versions to allow you to create either document-specific or defaults for all new documents. But finding the command to do the latter was much like finding the Holy Grail. Astute users who clicked the smallish flyout arrow in the Styles Roll-Up, were rewarded with the Template, Save As Default for New Documents command. Arrrgghhh, it’s only a flesh wound!

OK, OK, but what does that have to do with CorelDRAW 8/9 you say? Well, let's fast forward to the present. Buried deep, and I mean DEEP, into the bowels of the Options settings, you'll find the ability to perform what you used to do in CorelDRAW 6/7 providing that you correctly perform the two-step process. So without babbling on, let's do the two-step together (and to think we've barely met).


Changing Graphic and Text Defaults

Now, I could go on about the various ways to change text defaults, but using my trainer experience would advocate use of the KISS approach. Is that where you tell us how to do something, then we'll want to kiss you? (Yech!). Now remember this great tip: Whenever you want to customize something in CorelDRAW, go to Tools, Options 'cause everything's there! New in CorelDRAW 8/9 is an Options dialog box chock-full of workspace, document, and global settings. Gone are the intuitive tabs; in are the nested categories within categories. The only problem is knowing what category contains the options that you need to change. Much like, "hmmm where do you want me to go today?" I digress.


To change text, select Tools, Options. Here's what you'll see:

 def_options.jpg (43434 bytes)


Figure 2 The engaging Options dialog box


Now don't say I didn't warn you. Lots of categories, huh?! A whole lot of clickin' here!

Click the + sign beside Document in the category list, or double-click Document. You'll see sub-categories expand beneath Document. Click Styles. Do the listings look familiar? If you're a veteran CorelDRAW user, these styles such as Default Graphic, Default Artistic Text are the same styles that have existed in the CorelDRAW Styles Roll-Up since version 5. It's here where you can set your graphic and text styles to your hearts content. Go ahead, make your day and change any of the listed styles by clicking appropriate buttons to the right side as illustrated in Figure 3. But do stay tuned for the grand finale.


def_styles.jpg (47188 bytes)


Figure 3 Changing document styles in the options dialog box












The Other Way

Liar, liar, he said he'd implement the KISS approach. So I did, but I still haven't explained why you would use a dialog box similar to this:

def_def dialog.jpg (17842 bytes)


Figure 4 The default settings dialog box revisited   


Instead of setting document defaults using the Options dialog box, you can also use the select nothing route. To individually set defaults for graphics (fill and outline), Artistic, or Paragraph text, just make sure nothing is selected. Sounds like an oxymoron?

For example, to set your Artistic text defaults make sure nothing is selected. To make sure, use the Pick tool and click on an empty part of the drawing page. Select Text, Format Text. Make your text selections and click OK. You'll see the Default dialog box appear. Check either Artistic Text, Paragraph Text, or both. (Note: If you're using CorelDRAW 7 or earlier, the Default dialog box appears before you make your text selections. This earlier warning makes more sense to me and gives you a chance to bail out if you did not mean to change the defaults.)

To set default outlines and fills, again make sure nothing is selected. Either select the desired choice by clicking one of the Outline or Fill flyout buttons in the Toolbar or left-click Color palette to choose fill, right-click Color palette to choose outline. The Default dialog box is displayed allowing you to choose whether to apply the default to graphic, Artistic, or Paragraph text. Continue by selecting the desired properties.


Changing Other Document Settings

You can modify any other settings that are changeable in the Options dialog box. Instead of restricting your changes to graphic and text styles, you can also change anything found within the Document category. These changes include the sub-categories illustrated in Figure 5.


def_doc options.jpg (12652 bytes)

Figure 5 Click and change any of the categories listed under Document to customize your defaults



For example, to change the default page dimensions click the Page, Size category in the Options dialog box and choose the desired settings. Or, to activate the Snap to Guidelines, click the Guidelines category and check Snap to Guidelines. To change the default Ruler units click the Ruler category and change the units. Get the idea now?




Lest We Forget…

Here's the clincher that apparently even has veteran users stumped. For example, one of the answers to Robert's newsgroup posting mentioned at the beginning of this article was:


But I agree, there doesn't seem to be a way I've found to get CD9 to default permanently to that setting, it's certainly not listed in their book or help menus.

CorelDRAW 9 newsgroup posting


Well it is in the User Manual and online help, but you have to know where to find it. It's called saving settings for all new documents and is an option in the Options dialog box. If you don't do this step, any defaults you have changed are active only for the current document. Creating a new document reverts back to the original defaults.

Here's what you have to do. Select Tools, Options and click on the Document category. You'll see the following:

def_save new.jpg (48796 bytes)


Figure 6 The hidden jewel, save options as defaults for new documents


Check Save options as defaults for new documents. Then, check all options including Styles (if you don't do this step, then the styles you changed for Default Graphic, Artistic Text, etc. will not be used when creating new documents).

That's it! Go ahead and create a new document and test if your defaults are remembered. Then exit CorelDRAW, start it again, and test if your defaults are still remembered. We have successfully performed the two-step together! Hey, as long as I don’t have to kiss you, I’m happy.



Parting Shots

While this article concentrates on setting defaults for CorelDRAW 8/9, you can also set graphic and text defaults for all new documents in version 6/7. After setting your defaults, select Layout, Styles Manager (version 6) or Layout, Graphic and Text Styles (version 7). In the Roll-Up, click the flyout arrow located in the top-right corner. Select Template, Save As Default for New Documents.

Or, another way to save default settings including page, grid, rulers, and styles is to use the Tools, Save Settings (version 6) or Tools, Settings For New Documents (version 7) command.

Lastly, if you’re a CorelDRAW 8/9 user and you muck around too much with the Workspace settings in the Options dialog box hold down [F8] when launching the program to set the workspace back to its original factory settings. Note that any workspaces that you customized will be overwritten, so make sure you back them up first (located in the \Corel\Graphics [8/9]\Workspace\CorelDRAW[8/9] folder unless you’re an NT administrator then it’s in \WinNT\Profiles\Administrator\Application Data\Corel\CorelDRAW [8/9]). This neat little trick will reset all settings in the Workspace category of the Options dialog box back to the way CorelDRAW was first installed. However, your precious graphic and text defaults that you customized are preserved!


Tom Anzai of Anzai! Inc. is a Corel-certified trainer who authors Introductory and Advanced Corel-approved step-by-step training manuals for Draw and Ventura. Tom presents Draw and Ventura seminars throughout North America and parts of Europe. Visit or email tom at .


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