November 2017: We’ve released a new version of Xara Web Designer Premium, available now. Owners of Web Designer with an active Update Service can update for free, but note you will need to download a new version, there is no auto-update. Scroll through this document to see a description of the new features, or click the links below as a short-cut to any topic of interest.
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Last updated 15 - Nov - 2017


The latest Designer has a new ‘auto-fit’ capability that enables you to create flexible documents that adapt to almost any size change that you or your customer might want. This is particularly useful for your social media headings, where for example you can now easily change your Facebook cover or post to Twitter or Linkedin or Instagram simply by selecting a new document type. The default position is for all items on a page to be automatically repositioned when you change the page size, but Web Designer actually offers a great deal of flexibility if you want to control how particular items in your design behave. We have created a separate document covering these advanced options here.

Text Improvements

List Styles

Text styles now support formatting of bulleted and numbered lists. To make a list style, first create a list and customize it using the List Properties dialog. Then place the text caret in the list, or select part of the list, and choose Create style … from the text styles dropdown list. Choose a name for your list style and click OK. List styles appear in the styles list marked with so you can distinguish them from paragraph and character styles. List item 1 level 1 List item 1 level 2 List item 1 level 2 List item 2 level 1 List item 3 level 1 List item 3 level 2 List styles include all the list settings you see in the List Properties dialog, from indents to bullet symbols and colors. Each level within a list can have different settings and these are also all recorded in the list style. The example above has only 2 levels of list, but you can have as many levels as you like. To update a list style, simply modify a list that uses the style and then use the Update option in the styles list, the same way you update ordinary paragraph styles. Graphical lists (where you can use any graphical object as the bullet or number) are not yet supported with list styles.
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Next paragraph style This is one of the settings for a text style. For paragraph styles it determines what style should be applied by default to a new paragraph created following the current paragraph. For example heading styles normally set the Next paragraph style to Normal text, because that’s usually what you want immediately following a heading. With a list style however, it’s more likely that you want another list item to be added when you hit return at the end of a list item. So for list styles the Next paragraph setting is only used when you end a list. End a list by hitting return once to add an empty list item, then hit return again. The new non-list paragraph will then use whatever Next paragraph style you chose for the list style.

Anchored objects and text flow

Anchored objects now have a new setting that determines what happens when they reach the bottom of the text area to which they are anchored. Usually it’s not desirable to have the object extending below the bottom of the text area, or even perhaps partially off the page. Instead it’s better to force the text to which the object is anchored to flow to the next page or column, taking the anchored object with it. Therefore this is now the default behavior for newly anchored objects. However it’s controlled with a new Affect text flow checkbox in the Repelling & Anchoring dialog, so you can turn this off if required. And it’s off for existing anchored objects, to avoid changing the way existing documents are formatted.

Embedded object nesting

Designer now has improved support for nesting of embedded objects in text. For example objects embedded into a text panel, that is itself embedded in the main text flow of a document, now work correctly.

Spell Checker language property

Designer now has a new “language” document property. This determines what language new text added to the document will be set to, for the purposes of spell checking, instead of assuming the document language should be the same as the language your device is set to. This new property can be seen and modified with the new Document language option in the Spell Checker menu in the Text Tool. You can still set any text in your document to any language, regardless of what the “Document language” property is set to, so you can still have a mixture of languages in your documents when required. If you change the current document language, you are asked whether all existing text in the document should also be set to the chosen language, or left unchanged. When you open an older document, the document language is automatically set according to the language on the Normal text style in that document. Newly created documents have their document language set to match the language setting of the current device, as with previous versions of Designer.
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Text Panel Alignment options

Text panels can now be top aligned, center aligned, or bottom aligned. Click the bottom left corner handle to cycle through the three alignment options for your panel. If you hold the mouse pointer over this handle, the tool-tip that appears shows you the current alignment setting for the panel. If the panel is full of text with no empty vertical space, then it will look the same no matter which of the three alignment options are selected. But the alignment setting also determines how the panel grows and shrinks, as text is added or deleted, so the setting is still relevant even for ‘full’ panels. Top aligned panels will always grow and shrink from the bottom, with the top edge staying fixed. Bottom aligned panels are the other way around - they grow upwards with the bottom edge fixed, so these are commonly used at the bottom of pages. And centered panels will grow and shrink equally at the top and bottom, so the center of the panel is fixed. Text Panel size Text panels are now also better at remembering the vertical size you have given them. Drag the bottom centre or top centre handles to change the vertical panel height. If you ever add more text than can fit into the panel at that height, the panel will grow to accommodate the additional text. But if you later remove text, the panel will shrink back no further than the height you last set using the height adjustment handles. This helps to keep panel sizes consistent, which is useful where you have a panel occupying a defined space or aligned vertically with other panels or objects of the same height.
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Hyphenating long words at the ends of lines in a flowing paragraph of text allows more text to fit on fewer lines. This is especially important with fully justified text to reduce the “rivers of white” problem, where a lot of white space has to be introduced to pad out each line to the exact width of the text column. In earlier versions of Web Designer, words were only hyphenated if they contained an actual hyphen character or had a soft hyphen added manually. Web Designer now includes automatic hyphenation as a new paragraph attribute. It uses a combination of built-in hyphenation rules, language-specific hyphenation dictionaries and even an optional list of custom hyphenations for each document. With the following full justified paragraph example, note how the spacing of the second line of text is much better when hyphenation is on. Hyphenation Off Hyphenation On To turn the auto hyphenation feature on or off - click on the hyphenation button  in the flyout bar at the end of the text tool InfoBar. Remember this is a paragraph option, so select the text to which you want to make the change first.

Hyphenation Settings

To change the hyphenation settings for the current document, click on the Hyphenation Settings option in the drop down menu of the spell checker . The settings dialog will appear.
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You can control the size of the shortest word that can be hyphenated, as well as how far from the beginning and end of a word hyphens can be introduced. Adjusting the Hyphenation Zone will change the degree of "raggedness" before hyphenation is applied. So for example, with left justified text this would be the size of the margin to the right that would be empty without trying to fit in more text using automatic hyphenation. With right justified text this would be the margin to the left, and with fully justified text this would be empty areas - "rivers of white" between words. Increasing the zone allows less hyphenation, and consequently more white space. The Hyphenation Zone can be expressed as an absolute value as in pixels, mm, etc., or as a percentage of the width of the text object (the default is 5%). Use the Consecutive Hyphens fields to limit the number of consecutive lines that can end in hyphenated words. The Attenuation setting specifies a "soft" limit on this, so that you can set a balance between having consecutive hyphenated lines and lots of white space on following lines. A useful value is between 5% and 10%. Values higher than 20% often inhibit consecutive hyphens so much that they no longer occur at all. The final three checkbox options allow you to choose whether ALL-CAPS WORDS, Capitalised Words and the last words in a paragraph can be hyphenated or not.

Custom hyphenation lists

You can add hyphenation rules to your document for specific words . Click the Edit document hyphenation list button on the settings dialog. The dialog shows the current list of words for the current document and
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allows you to enter new words. Use the tilde “~” character in a word to specify the hyphenation point(s) for that word. Or if you want to prevent a word from being hyphenated at all, enter the word without any tilde “~” characters in it.

Personal hyphenation lists

Each time you add a word to the hyphenation list for a document, that word is also added to a personal hyphenation list stored on your computer. Similarly, removing a word also removes the word from your personal list. This list is automatically applied to all new blank documents you create (File->New), so you don’t need to keep adding the same words to all your documents. However when you open an existing document, your personal hyphenation list is NOT automatically applied to it, because that could change the way the document appears. It would mean that two people opening the same document, could potentially see different results, because of their different personal hyphenation lists. So instead applying your personal list to a document has to be done explicitly - simply press the “Import my list” button on the Document hyphenation list dialog.

Hyphenation in websites

You can use hyphenation in your websites, but since Designer controls the exact length of each line of text in the website HTML (so that you get an accurate representation of your page in all browsers), words that are hyphenated at the ends of lines are broken into two parts. This means search engines won’t index your site on these broken words.

Multi-weight font improvements

We’ve made some significant changes to the way that Designer handles multi-weight fonts. Prior to this update if a font was updated so that its multiple weights were presented in a different structure, this could cause Designer to show missing font warnings for documents that had been created using the previous version of the font. Now any such changes to a font should be transparent, so you can update to a newer version of the font without encountering any problems with existing documents that use that font.   This update also has improved handling of the Bold button with multi-weight fonts. Prior to this update, Designer would not allow bold to be turned on if the selected text used anything but the regular variant of a font. Now it will work with any variant, automatically choosing the most appropriate heavier weight variant of the same font. For example if you have some Open Sans Light text selected and you press the Bold button, the text will appear as Open Sans Regular.
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SmartShapes and Symbols

Flowline SmartShapes

Great for flowcharts, diagrams, exploded views, etc. The Flowlines behave just like Arrows, in that you can change the heads and tails, apply rotation, thickness and so on - as well as having 90° segments which you  can drag to reposition. Find them in the Arrows folder - Insert > Shape > Arrows…                       

Bar & Column chart label and value text (Premium only)

Now when you change the appearance of a chart label, such as changing the font, font size or color, that change is immediately replicated across the other labels for each bar. However this only happens if those other labels have the same text style applied (usually “Bar chart labels”). So if you want one of the labels to be different, perhaps to highlight one of the bars, simply give it a different style or use the No style option in the styles menu to remove the style. The same happens with the value text.

Timeline SmartShapes

The handy Timeline SmartShapes are already included in Web Designer Premium, and have now been added to Web Designer. The Timeline SmartShape consists of a line with an object (or group of objects) repeated along its length with regular spacing. You can increase or reduce the number of objects on the line, adjust their spacing, size, vertical alignment, etc. using the SmartShape’s handles. To insert a Timeline, use Insert > From Content Catalog > Components > Print & Web Components > Timelines.
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Replace Symbol

To replace a symbol, right-click on it and choose Replace symbol… from the context menu. This brings up the symbol picker, where you can search for a new symbol. You can also use this operation in bulleted lists to replace the symbol used for the bullet points. Place the text caret in the list, right-click and choose Replace symbol… this now also works if the symbol is inside a group so you don’t have to perform a “select inside” operation first.

Photo Filters

All Photo Filters have now been added to Web Designer (Web Designer Premium already has them, if you are an owner of the non-Premium version you can find full details on how to use the Photo Filters in the 365 Release Notes). In Premium there are 10 new Photo Filter Overlays with camera effects such as burn and flare, great for making a more eye-catching social media profile! Some of the new Photo Filter Overlays
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New Content

We’ve added a selection of new templates to the Content Catalog: 6 new text panels Many new social media templates for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr 3 new presentation themes (Business, Travel & Water) All the single page website themes have been added to Web Designer, and 2 completely new single page themes have been added to Web Designer Premium (Simple & Cameras) A new business web theme (Auberge)

Other Improvements

List editing improvements. PDF Import improvements. Word import improvements. Various other minor fixes and improvements.