A history of recent updates for Xara Online Designer.

July 19



Spell checker

No document editor is complete without a spell checker and now we have one. It works as you type - enter your text, make a mistake and the typo is underlined. Tap on the typo to flag up alternate spellings from the context menu. And tap on the context menu to choose more spelling suggestions from the properties panel.                  You can change the dictionary - the language of the spell checker, by choosing Document language from the Document properties panel and then choosing a language. This is useful if you have a document containing a mixture of languages. So I might have a document in English with a passage of German which I wish to spell check - just switch languages in the spell checker and it’s done. Two more features - Ignore word and Add to dictionary will come in a later update. To see the Document properties panel make sure you have nothing selected (Tap an empty part of the workspace or hit Esc on your keyboard) and then tap the Properties button). 

Document properties panel

With nothing selected, a tap on the Properties button will show the Document properties. These are settings which can be applied to the document as a whole. So there are settings for Document Language (discussed above), Page dimensions, Color schemes and Text Style schemes.

Photo enhance

Another big one - we’ve introduced a handy new photo enhance feature for you to tweak the levels of your photos and images. Just select a photo and then choose Photo Enhance  from the properties panel. You’ll see a lot of different parameters for you to adjust - from the ones that are instantly familiar - like Brightness and Contrast to more sophisticated ones like Saturation, which alters the color intensity. Temperature which makes an image ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ and X-Process which you can use to alter the color channels for some dramatic contrast and saturation effects. Use the sliders to experiment or enter numerical values if you wish. There is a Compare button which you can tap to toggle between your original and current settings.

Adding comments

We’ve introduced a new commenting feature with this release so collaboration just got a major boost. Highlight some text that you wish to apply a comment to, and the context menu now shows an Add comment option. Tap the option and a comment box appears to the right of the workspace. Tap in the text field to add comments. Tap the box itself to bring up a context menu with a Reply or Delete option. The comment remains locked to the text and you can you can drag it around wherever you like. You can resize, as well as changing color, font size and all the usual attributes through the Properties panel.  Tap the speech bubble to minimize the comment box. Collaborators sharing the document can easily see which comment applies to which text - as you select a comment so the comment text subject appears in a bolder highlight. Another thing you can do is to add a comment box as a stand alone item - maybe you want to add a comment without it being hooked up to a piece of text. In this case just tap on the + (Add) button and then the Comment icon from the Insert panel.


Great for diagrams, exploded views, flowcharts etc. Find the Flowlines in the Arrows  folder on the insert panel - tap + (Add) to display the panel.                                There are several to choose from. As with all the ‘SmartShapes’  just tap on them to show the edit handles.  

New sign up permissions for Google and OneDrive

There is now a two part sign up process for new users on Google Drive and OneDrive cloud drives. The first to access Online Designer and the second when the user grants access to either of the cloud drives. This means new users no longer have to grant access to cloud drives at the first stage of the sign up process.

Other improvements

There is now the option to include a message in a share editing request. New templates include the Businesscase, Business and Basenew themes - all with presentations, business letters, flyers and social media graphics. All the older document templates are now compatible with color and text style theme changes. New SVG file import - Find the file in your cloud drive (via the file picker) and tap to open. Or else locally through the Insert panel (+) > File > Local file/Cloud drive. File name extensions are now shown on thumbnail mouseover in the file picker for easy identification.   


June 8



New chat window

What’s this? Tap on this icon (bottom right of your editor window) to bring up our new live chat window. Ask us anything (within reason!) send us a message or submit some feedback. We’ll get back to you within a few minutes during office hours.

Colors in groups

If you select a group containing several colors - the color patch on the properties panel now has a 2 color diagonal split to indicate this. Tap on the patch and the Color Picker displays the group colors at the top of the panel Tap the color you want to edit and then choose a replacement from the Color Picker or tap the + button to create a new color from the Color Editor. Where a patch represents a text color this is indicated. Color picker re-organization You might also notice that the Color Picker has been re-organized so that the Ready- made color schemes now appear in a separate panel which slides in when you select the option at the bottom of the picker. Another useful change is that when a single color is selected - it now has a new easy to find location - appearing at the top of the picker as the Current color.  

New Item Picker location

Select a category from the insert menu + (Add) - and the picker for that category is now displayed in the same panel.  So you’ve got everything easily to hand at the same location.

Multi-selection improvements

With multiple shapes selected you can now resize them around the center when you hold down Shift. (Use Shift + Tap to add and subtract items for selection) 

Snapping improvements

Multiple shape selections now also show live snapping on resize. So this is like last month’s group snapping resize improvements - but now for multiple selections as well.

Other Improvements…

New Templates: New this month we’ve got social media templates, flyers, a letter and a business presentation all using the new Stylo theme. Pixabay Editor’s Choice: The Pixabay stock photo picker now has an “Editor’s Choice” checkbox which will restrict the search results to just the best images chosen by an Editor. Support added for OneDrive Business accounts.

Tutorial Videos

A surprise bonus this month. Here are a couple of introductory tutorial videos to give you a timely overview of Xara Online Designer.

An Introduction to Xara Online Designer (Part one)

An Introduction to Xara Online Designer (Part two)

May 9



Stock Photo Picker

This month we’ve introduced fully integrated access to a free library of nearly 1 million high quality royalty-free stock photos from Pixabay. The photos are available under a Creative Commons CC01 licence which means they can even be used for  commercial purposes without payment. To find the photos click on the + (Add) button then Image > Stock Photo. You can then use the search box to quickly locate a photo of your choice. You can enter a simple search term e.g. ‘cat’, or qualify it with something more specific like a color e.g. ‘green eye cat’. Search results will appear in the panel - scroll down to see them all. Tap on your chosen photo to add it to your document. If you have an image already selected it will be replaced. Alternatively - tap on an existing image in your document and choose the Replace option to pull up the menu. The photos will appear with the usual adjustment handles allowing you to resize and crop the photo.

Color Scheme Picker

There is now a selection of ready-made color schemes for you to choose from. With a single tap you can instantly change the look of your websites and documents with an aesthetically pleasing refresh. Find the schemes in the Fill color menu. Click/tap to choose a scheme and it will replace the existing theme in the doc and become the main theme in the top panel. Note that your document must contain a designated “Theme color 1” or you won’t see the themes - most of the templates have ready made color schemes for you to choose from.

Text Styles schemes

Just like the color schemes you can also now choose alternative text styles as well. Click/tap on some text and from the Text editor panel select the Text style option. The lower half of the panel shows you the available text styles for the doc. Click/tap to apply the style and the new scheme is applied throughout the doc and replaces the previous scheme in the top part of the panel.  Change everything without breaking anything!

More Snapping improvements

Shapes in groups now show live snapping on resize. Drag out a shape and see exactly where you’re going on the fly.

Replacing symbols in groups

Click/tap on a symbol within a group and select the Replace symbol option. You can either replace the symbol with one from the Symbol Picker or an image from the Replace image menu. A replacement symbol will keep the orignal’s color. The option works for inline symbols and symbols in text too.                     Center align in text panels Text panels now have an additional control (blue blob bottom left) allowing you to center or top align text - you can switch between the two using the control as a toggle. If the text fills the panel so that no alignment is possible, the control won’t appear.

Shadowed objects

Improved selection of objects with shadows.

Vector handling of shapes without fills

Lines and flat shapes with outlines, are now handled as vectors. Meaning - you can zoom in to your heart’s content (well almost) and the shapes and lines retain their crisp outlines.

April 4



Symbol Picker

We’ve added a massive range of symbols and icons for you to use in your documents. Click on the Add (+ icon) and then the Symbol button to see the collection. Either use the search box at the top or scroll through to make a selection. You can place your symbol as a standalone scalable graphic - just click on the symbol with no active selection in your document and it will appear in the center of the doc for you to resize and position.                                  Or with the text cursor active you can insert a symbol into your text  like this. Just place the cursor at the point in your text where you want the symbol to appear and click on the symbol. Now the symbol will behave like it’s part of the text.

Improved Text Selection

You can now click-drag to select text without having to click in the text first. So a simple click and drag now works to select text exactly as you’d expect. Similarly you can click-drag on an object to move it, without having to select the object first. The speed of click - the  ‘hold to select’ delay can be adjusted in Settings > Advanced. This feature allows you to customize the application to suit, similar to adjusting the pointer on mouse settings. Delete and Duplicate on multiple selections The Delete and Duplicate operations now work over multiple selections. So if you’ve got three items selected and you hit Duplicate - you get a duplicate selection of your three items. Delete multiple items the same way. Shift + Click to remove from current selection You can now use Shift + Click to remove items from a selection as well adding to one. Auto scroll during item drag Drag an item up or down, left or right and the page will scroll to accomodate. Great for quick drag and drop placement over a multipage document. Repeating Objects now flagged on selection Now when you select a repeating object there’s a heads up on the status line. Repeating objects, as the name suggests, allow you to have objects automatically appear on any additional page/slide of a document. This is often used with logos, headers and footers to provide a consistent look across the entire document. Snapping Even more shapes now work with snapping

March 9



Multiple Selection, Grouping and Ungrouping

We have several significant improvements in this release, the first is that you can select and move multiple items around as one, and also group them, so that they act as a single selectable item. Tap on the edge of a group to select it. Extend / Reduce your selection by using Shift + click - the top status line tells you how many items are in your selection, and a pale blue dotted outline indicates the selection. Then choose Group. Coming soon: Multiple Selection for touch devices (with and without external keyboard)!

Editing things inside groups

By selecting a single object within a group, you can edit it. For example edit text inside a group, replace a photo or edit Shapes. Nevertheless, you cannot delete items inside a group, the Copy / Delete menu will delete the whole group. If you want to remove items from a group, first un-group it by clicking on the pale dotted outline (it will turn blue). Then you can use the un-group option in the context menu.

Snapping Improvements

Some Shapes (for example rectangles) now show snapping lines during resize – more coming soon. Also you can now see snap lines for an object without moving the object, by selecting it, then holding down the mouse button.


 Select any object (Shapes, photos, charts, etc.), and you’ll now see a Transparency control in the Properties panel on the right. On the left here - we’ve got an example of a simple ‘mix’ transparency. Use the transparency slider to adjust the level as you wish.  You can also display and edit objects created with all the gradient transparencies and shapes from our Desktop Products (Xara Designer Pro X,  Photo & Graphic Designer and Webdesigner Premium).  

February 20



Today we have some major improvements for you! With our over 60 fixes, we are steadily increasing our reliability and the functionality of Xara Online Designer.

Improved Object Handling

We’ve incrementally improved our object handling: So creating awesome figures with our Shapes is now super easy!   Alignment guidelines were first introduced in May 31 th 2016, but we’ve now enhanced the guide functionality. Now you can easily and quickly adjust all objects. Different guides will automatically appear while you’re moving your object: Green guides: Shows you the center of each object and each page (horizontally and vertically) Blue guides: Shows you guides, set up in Xara Designer Pro X, like the frame of the page. Red guides: Shows you how you align one object to another. If occasionally you don’t want to see any guides just press the Ctrl key and they will disappear. Our Guides are even better for SmartPictures. As you resize your picture, it will snap to page guides or objects (coming soon for SmartShapes too).   After you placed your object, our new rotation tool tip will help you find the right angle: 1. Select your object 2. Select the yellow button on the top right side of the object and hold the mouse button 3. By moving your mouse our tool tip will automatically appear, giving you information about the angle of your object. 4. For better ease of use, it will automatically snap for common angles like 45°, 90°, etc.

Editing Access for Everybody

There is a major improvement for sharing documents with non-Xara customers, and clients of designers using Web Designer or Designer Pro X to create websites for their clients.   Now when you share a document using Share editing… (see Aug 29th below) you simply enter the email of the recipient you want to share with. The big news is that they no longer have to be a registered Xara customer.   When the recipient receives an invite to share, they follow a link in the email, and click any of the sign-in options Google, Dropbox, OneDrive. They will be authenticated through one of those systems (to verify their email address is the one you sent to), and then they are taken directly to the document and can start editing.   If they are new customers (not owners of Xara Designer Pro X or Web Designer Premium) they will get limited editing rights - they can change the text and re-publish the website. More editing functionality, like changing pictures, will be coming soon. Beware: when they Save, they are saving a version back to your drive - because you’re sharing your file - it’s not a copy they are editing.

January 30



Today’s update is all about inner beauty. A very large number of internal fixes and improvements, but relatively few new features. With one exception: Share is about 10x faster than before! So choosing the Share option, top right  you’ll now get a URL to share your document with your friends, colleagues, or the world, in just a few seconds.
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New  Transparency Feature
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