8 Best CorelDRAW For Mac Alternatives

CorelDRAW for Mac doesn’t exist anymore so we’ve looked at the best CorelDRAW alternatives for Mac in 2018.

CorelDRAW is a powerful vector design application that was launched in 1989 but the last version that worked on Mac was CorelDRAW 11 back in 2001.

Since then, it has been discontinued and those looking for a version of CorelDRAW X8, X7 or X6 for Mac have been out of luck.

There are plenty of excellent equivalents though and if you’re a professional artist or illustrator, most of them work with the best drawing tablets for Mac too.

Here then is our list of the top alternatives to CorelDRAW on Mac in order of ranking.

1. Adobe Illustrator (60% Off For Students/Teachers)

Adobe is easily the biggest competitor to Corel when it comes to graphic design and Adobe Illustrator is the closest equivalent to CorelDRAW you’ll find anywhere.

Adobe Illustrator came out of the now discontinued Adobe Freehand program and has evolved into an incredibly powerful design tool that’s now the industry standard for graphic designers.

To get the most out of it, many designers combine it with Adobe Stock, which gives you access to millions of professional quality images and videos to inspire and create with.

coreldraw for mac alternative - illustrator

When it comes to designing logos, icons, typography and other complex illustrations, Adobe Illustrator produces outstanding results.

There’s an unparalleled choice of brushes and filters and layers – far more than you’ll probably ever need in fact – but it’s an example of how powerful and complete Illustrator is. From enormous advertising hoardings to tiny logos, Adobe Illustrator has templates for everything.

It can be tricky to get used to at first but if you take the time to learn all of the keyboard shortcuts that come with it, you can also significantly speed-up your workflow. If you already use other Adobe products such as InDesign or Photoshop, then choosing Illustrator really makes sense as the workflow, interface and layout is immediately familiar.

All Adobe Creative Cloud products are integrated with each other making it easy to polish designs and enrich them in other software.

One tip when using Illustrator is that if you need to import CorelDRAW files regularly, you should save files in another format in CorelDRAW (such as PSD or PDF) and then import them into Adobe Illustrator. However, the more you import and export CorelDRAW files, the more you’ll notice formatting errors.

coreldraw for mac alternative - adobe illustrator

The main disadvantage of Adobe software is the subscription pricing model. However, this shouldn’t hold you back choosing Adobe Illustrator because the reality is, subscription based pricing is the way all software is going nowadays.

Even if Corel were to release CorelDRAW on macOS, the likelihood is that it will eventually move its software to a subscription model too.

There are also advantages to subscription based software such as smoother updates and no big upgrade costs when new versions are released.

Students and Educators can currently get a whopping 60% off the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite making it $19.99 per month for the first year which is a much better deal than paying $20.99 per month for Adobe Illustrator alone.

This is a huge saving considering the normal cost of the entire CC suite is $52.99 per month.

A Creative Cloud subscription allows you to use the entire suite of Adobe’s biggest products including apps like Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign plus powerful OCR and PDF editing software Adobe Acrobat DC.

Note that to get this deal, you need to click on the Students and Teachers tab on the Adobe site. You can also choose to pay on a month-by-month basis so if you’re not happy, you can just cancel your subscription at any time.

adobe creative cloud student discount

If you really want to get serious and creative, you can also also add a subscription to Adobe Stock which is a huge repository of over 60 million very high-class images, videos, graphics and templates. This is not only time saving but saves hundreds of dollars that would otherwise be spent on licensing or sourcing of images for commercial use.

If you want something that can genuinely compete with CorelDRAW on Mac and more, you should definitely give Adobe Illustrator a try.

2. Affinity Designer

In just a few years, Affinity Designer has rapidly become one of the best graphic design applications for Mac and won an Apple award for design in 2015. It’s easy to see why too with Adobe quality features and interface touches but without the price tag or learning curve.

Affinity Designer started life as DrawPlus by developers Serif but that’s now a legacy product and Affinity Designer has replaced it. It claims to be the “fastest, smoothest, most precise vector graphic design software available” and it’s hard to argue with that, even in the face of competition from Adobe and Corel.

Affinity Designer is incredibly fast working at an impressive 60fps, well designed, relatively easy to use but packs a serious design punch and offers as much as both Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. Some of the nice touches in Affinity Designer include a 1,000,000 x zoom for precision drawing, support for Photoshop PSD import and export, customized tool palettes and layer support.

affinity designer

The nice thing about Affinity Designer is that the interface doesn’t feel a million miles away from Adobe Illustrator but it’s less intimidating, easier to get to grips with and allows you to do pretty much everything you can do in Illustrator.

For just $50, Affinity Designer is an incredibly professional design software for Mac without the Adobe subscription model. It’s not on the same level as Illustrator but it’s definitely suitable for those that are looking for a desktop app with CorelDRAW style features.

You can read more about it on the Affinity Designer site and see a full list of Affinity Designer features here.

3. Inkscape

There are two big attractions to Inkscape: it imports CorelDRAW files and it’s free. OK, the import tool isn’t perfect and you’ll have to do a certain amount of manual editing to correct it but try to find another design application out there that can not only import CorelDRAW files but doesn’t cost a cent.

coreldraw for mac - Inkscape

Inkscape is surprisingly powerful for a free graphic design software and uses Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) – an open source XML based format that you can easily import and export into other graphic design programs. Among Inkscape’s many features are object creation, object manipulation, fill and stroke, text support, rendering and more.

Inkscape is regularly maintained by the open source community and is compatible with the latest versions of OS X including Sierra and El Capitan. On the downside, Inkscape is RGB only. You’ll also need to install XQuartz first in order to run Inkscape on Mac and then need to configure XQuartz correctly to ensure that Inkscape runs correctly on Mac.

Of course, Inkscape is nowhere near the same level as Adobe Illustrator but considering it’s completely free to use, Inkscape is a remarkably good alternative to CorelDRAW.

4. Corel Painter

Corel Painter is available on both Mac and PC and while it’s not exactly the same as CorelDRAW, it’s a very good alternative if you want to stick with Corel products.

Corel Painter is closer to Photoshop than CorelDRAW and is aimed at those that want to create stunning digital art. Corel Painter is certainly more complex than CorelDRAW but if you’re a professional designer, the learning curve is no different to Adobe Illustrator.

corelpainter

However, if you’ve used other Corel products, you’ll be up and running considerably quicker than someone coming to Corel products for the first time and there are many Painter tutorial videos to get you started.

The only thing to be aware of with Painter is that it’s probably best when used on tablets with a stylus. You can easily use it on your Mac but to get really creative and create designs naturally, you get the best out of Corel Painter with a Wacom tablet.

Although there’s more in Corel Painter than you’ll probably ever need, you can extend it’s functionality with plugins too.

There’s really too much in Corel Painter to sum up in a few words but it’s about the closest thing Corel currently offer to the original Mac version of CorelDRAW.

5. Autodesk Graphic

Autodesk Graphic is by the creators of the hugely popular CAD software for Mac AutoCAD. Autodesk Graphic started life as DrawPlus on iPad but Autodesk saw its potential after it was released on Mac and bought it to create Autodesk Graphic.

Autodesk Graphic is available for both Mac and iOS and has evolved into a very powerful vector drawing tool for an app that costs just $29.99. In fact in terms of bang for buck, you can’t really get much better than Autodesk Graphic.

graphic

Graphic can import and export to PSD, SVG, PDF and EPS files and has a fully featured Bezier Pen tool for creating custom shapes. There are also tons of brushes, layer styles and it’s optimized for OpenGL.

Graphic is similar to Affinity Designer although we prefer Affinity for its Adobe inspired interface and all round general ease of use.

However, for $29, you can’t go too far wrong even if you decide Graphic is not for you, it’s definitely worth trying.

6. Sketch

Sketch is another increasingly popular alternative to CorelDRAW that’s very popular with UI designers. In fact Sketch is actually powerful enough to be a wireframe alternative to Visio on Mac.

Sketch is a very accomplished all round graphic design software for Mac that’s used by companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple.

sketch

Sketch is designed specifically for Mac so it looks amazing on macOS and produces professional results whether it’s icon design, web design or product design.

It’s definitely more of a design tool than a drawing tool like CorelDRAW but if you’re into UI and wireframe design, it’s unrivaled on Mac.

You can download a free trial of Sketch to try it for yourself.

7. OpenOffice Draw

If you don’t need something complex and shiny on your Mac and just want a free alternative to CorelDRAW on Mac, then take a look at OpenOffice Draw.

Draw is part of the excellent Office for Mac alternative OpenOffice and is a surprisingly accomplished drawing tool that doesn’t cost a cent.

coreldraw alternatives mac - openoffice draw

It doesn’t have the features or polish of most of the other CorelDRAW Mac alternatives featured here but as a drawing tool, it allows you to do much of what you can accomplish in CorelDRAW.

Especially if you just want to draw org charts on Mac or business processes, OpenOffice Draw is ideal although for more advanced design such as dealing with layers and different paint brushes, it’s not really suitable.

However, there are useful tools such as a 3D object manipulator, smart connectors to create professional flowcharts on Mac and you can import images from most major file formats (but not SVG or Photoshop).

For a basic free alternative to CorelDRAW on Mac, OpenOffice is worth looking at although it’s nowhere near as powerful as Corel’s software.

8. EazyDraw

EazyDraw has been around for many years on Mac  – since OS X 10.2 Jaguar in fact – and there’s no denying it’s definitely a bit dated nowadays compared to recent competition such as Affinity Designer and Sketch.

However, it’s still a very complete drawing software and definitely a good alternative to CorelDRAW on Mac and one of the few that mow supports the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro.

EazyDraw is more of an all round drawing application that’s suitable for everything from technical drawing to 3D logo design and creating floor plans on Mac.

corel draw for mac alternative - eazydraw

EazyDraw offers some unusual but interesting purchase options too. You can try EazyDraw for free but it’s limited to 20 objects. However, a better option is to pay $20 for a trial license which allows you to use it with no limits for 9 months.

If you decide it’s the graphic design tool for Mac you’ve been looking for, you can deduct the $20 from the full purchase price of $95. Alternatively, you can even order USB Flash drive for $119.04 with EazyDraw installed that you can plug-in and run anywhere.

CorelDRAW For Mac By Running Windows

If only the real thing will do for you, the good news is you can run CorelDRAW on a Mac. Parallels is a virtualization software which allows you to run Windows within OS X.

Nowadays, Parallels is extremely easy to set up and use and is definitely the best way to run Windows on Mac for free.

There are many Mac users that happily use CorelDRAW on their Mac using Parallels and so if you really want the real thing, installing Windows on your Mac using Parallels may be your best option.

coreldraw in parallels

Why Is There No CorelDRAW On Mac?

Confusingly, Corel does offer various other Mac software such CorelCAD, design app Corel Painter, CAD software for Mac CorelCAD and popular archiving tool WinZip – but not CorelDRAW.

There are a few reasons why the company decided to ditch it on Mac.

The main one is because Corel decided that it simply wasn’t profitable enough to cater for the Mac market. The only reason is that Corel Painter still exists for Mac is that Corel originally bought it ready-made from another company and therefore the product was already up and running.

Creating a Mac version of CorelDRAW would mean starting from scratch, employing a while new team of designers and engineers and then there’s the additional expense of supporting the app after it’s released to ensure it’s compatible with the latest versions of OS X.

The market of Mac users compared to the market of PC users is simply too small in Corel’s opinion to justify investment in a Mac version. Considering that most designers use a Mac as their design tool of choice, this is a real irony considering that CorelDRAW is one of the leading graphic design applications out there. There’s a good economic analysis here by Graphics Unleashed about the economics behind why there’s never likely to be a version of CorelDRAW on Mac again.

The other major reason is technical. CorelDRAW on Windows uses VBA/VSTA scripting which is a technology not even available on Mac with no realistic equivalent. As a result, macros would not work on the Mac version which would remove essential functionality from the Mac version of CorelDRAW.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, there are plenty of excellent alternatives to CorelDRAW on Mac nowadays.

Adobe Illustrator still remains the best replacement for CorelDRAW on macOS. For students or teachers in particular, it’s really a no-brainer with 60% off all of Adobe’s products.

However, newcomers Affinity Designer and Sketch both provide some serious competition for Adobe both in price and functionality and are both standalone products with no subscription.

If you have any questions, problems or suggestions about the software featured here, let us know in the comments below.

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