CorelDRAW for Mac doesn’t exist anymore so we’ve looked at the best CorelDRAW for Mac alternatives 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. Thankfully, there are many excellent applications that have filled the gap so here are 8 top alternatives to CorelDRAW for Mac in order of ranking.
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 is an incredibly powerful graphics tool that’s now the industry standard for graphic designers.
When it comes to designing logos, icons, typography and other complex illustrations, Adobe Illustrator produces stunning results. There’s an unparalleled choice of brushes and filters and layers – far more than you’ll probably ever need but it’s just another illustration of how powerful and complete Illustrator is. From enormous advertising hoardings to tiny logos, Adobe Illustrator can handle it all. 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 is a no-brainer as the workflow, interface and layout is immediately familiar. Plus all Adobe Creative Cloud products are integrated with each other making it easy to polish designs and enrich them in other software. Note that if you need to import CorelDRAW files regularly, we recommend saving files in another format in CorelDRAW (such as PSD or PDF) and then importing them into Adobe Illustrator. However, the more you import and export CorelDRAW files, the more you’ll notice formatting errors.
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 for Mac, 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. Adobe Illustrator costs $19.99 per month and you can cancel after a month if you’re not happy. However, if you already use other Adobe products or plan to get serious about design, you’re far better off getting the entire Creative Cloud Suite which includes all of Adobe’s biggest products including Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign for $49.99 per month. Students and teachers get 60% off the entire CC suite which is a much better deal than just paying for Adobe Illustrator alone. One of the big benefits of subscribing to Creative Cloud too is that it also includes access to Adobe Stock which is a huge repository of over 60 million very high-class images, videos, graphics, templates and 3D art that you can use for commercial use and add another dimension of professionalism to your work.
Put simply, if you want something that’s not only as good as CorelDRAW but even better, you can’t go wrong with Adobe Illustrator. You can also try a free trial of Illustrator to see what you think for yourself.
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.
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.
Considering it’s completely free to use, Inkscape is a remarkably good graphic design application and an excellent alternative to CorelDRAW for Mac.
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.
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 CorelDRAW for Mac.
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.
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. You can read more about it on the Affinity Designer site and see a full list of Affinity Designer features here.
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 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 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.
Sketch is another increasingly popular alternative to CorelDRAW for Mac that’s very popular with UI designers. In fact Sketch is actually powerful enough to be a wireframe alternative to Visio on Mac for UI and wireframe designs but it’s also a very accomplished all round graphic design software for Mac that’s used by companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple for graphic design. Sketch is designed specifically for Mac so it looks amazing on OS X 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
How To Run CorelDRAW on Mac
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.
Why Is There No CorelDRAW For Mac?
Confusingly, Corel does offer various other Mac software such CorelCAD, design app Corel Painter and popular archiving tool WinZip – but not CorelDRAW.
There are a few reasons why there’s no CorelDRAW for Mac.
The main one is because Corel decided that it simply wasn’t profitable enough to create a version of CorelDRAW for Mac. 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 for Mac.
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.
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. 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’ve found this look at the best CorelDRAW for Mac alternatives useful, you may also find our guide to Paint for Mac alternatives and Visio equivalents on Mac interesting too. If you’re looking for something more technical, check out our guide the best CAD software for Mac too.
If you have any questions, problems or suggestions about the software featured here, let us know in the comments below.