Welcome to Xara Online Designer

Welcome to Xara Online Designer

Notes and FAQs

Is my document secure? Can other people see my files I’m editing?

All communication with your browser uses encrypted connection layers, using the equivalent of https (the same as secures your details when purchasing or entering credit card details).  The security of your documents in Dropbox or Google drive depends primarily on the strength of your password. You are strongly recommended to use two-stage authentication (Dropbox details) (Google details).  The security of files in Google or Dropbox (assuming you use sensible passwords) is as great, and probably greater than, files stored on your local hard disc (it’s likely easier to hack your computer than it is to hack Google).

Sharing files so other can see or edit your documents

To share files just make sure they are saved to your Dropbox, Google or OneDrive folder on your computer. With both Google Drive and Dropbox you can share a folder with anyone else who is using those services. You can do this via their websites, or by right clicking on a folder on your hard drive (assuming you have installed Google or Dropbox file sync applications). Note: These cloud-drive services also provide a quick ‘share a link’ option for files. This is currently not suitable for sharing Xara files for editing online. You need to share a folder with the recipient who also needs to have a similar cloud-drive account. The person you are sharing the folder with needs to be able to see the folder and files in their Dropbox or Google Drive. They can then open the same file using the Online Designer file picker - and you can now edit this file together.  Once you have given access to someone else to access your files, you can just copy the page URL of the document in Xara Online Designer, and send that to you collaborators.  Only those authorised to see the document (as determined by your share options in Dropbox and Google) will be able to open and edit it. Obviously, from a security point of view, you should only share the folder or files in Dropbox or Google with those you want to edit your Xara files This system is called OAuth and is used by thousands of companies that provide services that want to read or write files to your cloud drive such as Dropbox, in a secure and safe way that does not send your passwords to the services accessing your cloud drive. No files are accessed until you pick them in Xara Online Designer. You are in charge and you can withdraw access rights at any time using the corresponding cloud drive websites. You pick the files you want to edit, and when it comes to saving them, where in your Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive you want to save them.

Browser compatibility

Xara Online Designer is designed to work with all current ‘evergreen’ browsers for both desktop (with both mouse and touch) and tablets (touch). These are browsers that automatically update themselves and include, the latest version of these: Internet Explorer V11 + and Microsoft’s new Edge browserChrome Chrome for Android Firefox Safari on the Mac Safari on iOS (iPads) We do not test the non-standard browsers on Android (e.g. Firefox on Android, or Chrome on iOS). These may or may not work.

Firefox font issues

Firefox can’t render some core fonts correctly, such as Arial, Tahoma, Verdana and others, causing lines of text to be displayed at the wrong line lengths. Until this bug is fixed we can’t recommend using Firefox if your document contains these fonts. (Ironically Firefox version 6 worked OK, but was broken in version 7, and has remained incorrect ever since).  Firefox on OSX does not have this problem. Chrome, IE and Edge render fonts correctly.

Why can’t I choose my font, text color, etc

At this time, text editing is deliberately limited to using existing Text Styles as set up by the designer or originator of the document and those contained as part of the Ready-made text style schemes for the document, along with the common local effects such as Bold, Italic, Strike-through etc. If you edit the document using the desktop versions of Xara Designer, you can create whatever named text Style you want, and these will be available in the Style list in Xara Online Designer.

What happens if I close my web browser without saving?

Nothing - this is perfectly safe. You can re-open your web browser on cloud.xara.com and your document will be there unchanged. If you do not open it within 15 minutes, then the last changes you made will be saved back to the Dropbox or Google drive. The same applies to any internet disconnection

Touch interfaces

Xara Online Designer is compatible with and designed from the ground-up to work with touch-driven screens, including desktop computers, laptops, and tablets (iPads and Android tablets). It is not recommended to use this on small screen devices such as phones. Pinch Zoom Xara Online Designer is designed to work with the usual tablet touch gestures such as scrolling the page (with momentum scroll), and pinch zoom. In fact the two finger pinch gesture performs a combined zoom and pan operation.


Like a native tablet app On both iPads and Android tablets you can ‘save to home screen’ the Xara Online Designer app, and when launched from the home screen, it behaves more like a dedicated native app - it has no browser ‘chrome’, so the app works full screen. You should find that it behaves as fast and as smoothly as equivalent native apps.        On iPad click the highlighted icon and select ‘Add to Home Screen’. Make sure you are running iOS version 8.3 or later as Apple fixed some important bugs in this area. Portrait orientation is better on tablets Holding a tablet upright gives you more working area with the soft keyboard on screen. See below:      Left: Online Designer on an iPad. If you ‘save to home screen’ Xara Online Designer operates like a native app. In portrait orientation there’s more screen area to view the document and controls. The left thumbnail bar and the text edit control can be hidden to give even more space. (Slide the thumbnail side-bar off the screen. Or, can hide and show the text controls using the top bar icon, shown in blue). You can use Bluetooth external keyboards with both Android and  iPad tablets, in which case the on-screen keyboard is not shown.

Google Drive on the web

Google’s plan is that you can use Google Drive on the web, as a purely web-based operating system, with your files and your applications all being web-based ‘in the cloud’. Everything operated using only a web browser, from anywhere in the world, from any device. Xara Online Designer fits with that vision. A web-based way of viewing, editing and publishing your documents. Thumbnails When you save a file using Xara Online Designer, it will create thumbnails for the file that is visible in the Google Drive web version (if you put it into Thumbnail view). Open with… Google Drive goes further than Dropbox, in that you can associate file types with web applications, so that double clicking on your file, (or right click and select Open With…) in the web version of Google Drive, it will open the file directly in Xara Online Designer (in a new browser tab). You can now Edit and Save and your file is saved back to the cloud - no need to use desktop software for any part of the process.

Use cases

Shared editing

If you use the file sharing capabilities of Dropbox or Google Drive you can allow third parties to view and even edit your .xar file using just a web browser. Why is this useful? Consider these scenarios…

1) Website Design for your clients

The suite of Designer products are used by many professional web designers - it's the fastest way to prototype websites, to produce and publish no-programming, designer-created websites. Now Xara Online Designer gives you (the website designer) the ability to allow your client (the customer) to update specific parts of their website, using any web browser, and re-publish their own changes.  This is a type of Content Management System (CMS) that is super-easy to use (not to say really fast, fluid, and WYSIWYG). Website owners, often small business owners, rarely have the time, skill or inclination to learn web design or new desktop software. We have designed Xara Online Designer to be usable by even the most non-tech savvy users. This allows, for example, the client to update the content and replace pictures. They click Save using Online Designer, and within 30 seconds or so, your Designer file has been updated on your computer with all their new content.  They click Publish and their website is updated. The great thing about this approach is that the client cannot mess with the design - they can only update the text and pictures, using a web-based system that dramatically simpler and easier to use than alternatives. Your client has the power to update and re-publish their content, as often as they like, without involving you - and their files are synced to your cloud drive (and desktop computer).

2) Update your own websites and Xara documents from anywhere

Xara Online Designer means you can now update the content, add or replace pictures, save your file, and re-publish your website using just a web browser, even an iPad or Android tablet.  If you have the Dropbox or Google Drive utilities installed on your desktop computer your changed files will automatically be updated on your computer as well. Update your news, your blog content, your prices, food menus, or product descriptions, from anywhere, using any connected PC or tablet. Xara Online Designer can open any Xara .xar file, so you can use it as an online word processor, or a way to update the content of any Xara file - DTP documents, Presentations, documents of any type.  And, thanks to desktop sync via Dropbox or Google Drive, the file you’re updating online, is the same one as you have on your desktop computer.

3) Collaborative Documents

Say you’re working on a Web Presentation created using Web Designer. But you have multiple people who contribute content, perhaps one designer who controls the overall look and graphic design of your presentation. The designer can use the full power of Web Designer desktop version, to share a file with one or more colleagues, who can add content using the Xara Online Designer editor. All editing the one file, synced back through the cloud to the desktop of anyone who wants the file.