One of CorelDRAW‘s strongest features for many years has been it’s powerful import and export capabilities. Filters are translators for files created in other applications or formats. Import filters bring in the data to from other applications and translate it into information that can be viewed and edited within CorelDRAW. Export filters translate file data from a CorelDRAW document to a format readable by another program or publishing medium.

With CorelDRAW’s powerful filters, we can exchange artwork without having to own many, many over priced applications. It also offers the laser owner more sources for artwork which decreases drawing or re-creating files.

Importing is primarily for bringing in files that were created on a non-laser Corel workspace, laser workspace with different settings than your laser. CorelDRAW has over 60 different import filters for bringing in various file formats into your document. Here are some of the import filters and their file extensions:

These import filters allow you more opportunities to bring in artwork from your customers programs.

CDR File

Remember if you have a file created on a lower version than your current version, you don’t have to import it. Corel will automatically open it. This would apply to old files on your computer after you have updated. Why would you want to import a CorelDRAW file?

While having a CDR file is great, here are two issues that you need to be aware; having the right font and possibility of importing excessive styles.

Fonts can come from a variety of sources – programs, after market sources or those already installed in your computers operating system. It is virtually impossible to have all of the fonts. Have your customer send you two files – one with your text characters in tact, and the other file has the text characters converted to curves. If you don’t have the font, you can fall back to the curves version.


EPS is the most widely usable file format for graphics which are to be included in page-layout and text processing applications.

What is EPS? An encapsulated PostScript file is a PostScript file which describes a single page. The EPS file can contain any combination of text, graphics, and images.

Some EPS files contain a low resolution, bitmapped image preview, or header. If the header isn’t available, you will get a gray box.

The original intention of this format was for outputting, not editing. You would import or place the file in your application and out put it to a printer. And, EPs files were intended for output to PostScript printers. Any non-PostScript printers, such as a laser engraver, will only print out the low-resolution header.


The CorelDRAW import for the PS, PRN, EPS – PostScript Interpreted format is one of the best around, considering this file type was not originally intended to be edited. When you get to the Import Dialog, you have several options. Leave the default VM (virtual memory) set at the default at 3.0 MB. If you have import issues, try a bigger setting. You have two options with Import Text As – Curves and Text. If you have the font, use Text. If you select Text and don’t have the font(s) the file will not have the original look. If you select Curves, the file will import in as the original, but the text will not be editable.


The PLT file format, developed by Hewlett Packard is vector-based. It is used in programs, such as AutoCAD, for printing drawings on plotters. Other Corel applications can interpret a SUBSET of the HPGL and HPGL/2 command set. A scaling factor of 1016 plotter units = 1 inch is used.

Exporting a HPGL/PLT file

Only the outlines of objects are exported to the PLT file format.

Dotted lines, dashed lines, and arrowheads are mapped to standard line types of the PLT file format.

Bézier curves are converted to line segments.

Outline thickness and calligraphic settings are lost.

Outline colors are limited to eight: black, blue, red, green, magenta, yellow, cyan, and brown.


While CorelDRAW can import Adobe Illustrator files, it is limited to older versions. If you are getting AI files from a customer, as them to try the version 7 format when they save the file. And often, the AI user will save the file with the EPS extension. You may not be able to import these files. Try importing these EPS files as AI file. Also, carefully check these files if you are using a vector output on your laser. Often you will have additional layers of the same data, causing the laser to cut twice.


A Windows metafile is a vector format file that can be used by most versions of Windows. Currently, it is the format that many HP scanners use when they convert a scanned bitmap to a vector or Scalable Image. The WMF format does not support some fills and effects that CorelDRAW can.


Corel applications support all versions of compatible American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) file formats. The CGM export filter supports radial and linear fountain fills but not square or conical ones.

Bitmapped Files

CorelDRAW is a vector based drawing program. But it can import and manipulate bitmap files.

It’s a good idea to remember that if a customer sends you a CDR file, it may contain either a vector or a bitmap image, or both. If you are not sure, click on the image with the Pick Tool and note the description on the Status Bar. If it is grouped, click on Ungroup.


TIFF (Tag Image File Format) is the most common and desirable format for exchanging raster graphics (bitmap) images between applications programs, including those used for scanner images. A TIFF file can be identified as a file with a “.tiff” or “.tiffs” file name suffix. TIFF files are commonly used in desktop publishing, faxing, 3-D applications, and medical imaging applications.

BMP Files

You can import BMP files conforming to the Windows and OS/2 BMP specification.

BMP files may be black & white, 16 colors, grayscale, Paletted, or RGB color (24-bit), and will print accordingly, depending on your printer.


If you own a digital camera, you are most like using the JPEG format. The JPG and GIF images are the most desirable for web graphics. The JPG image Shrinks the large file size of your graphic files, and optimizes pictures for faster loading from the Web and for sending via email. Most of the JPG images you get are those that are saved from web graphics. And usually the web designer saves the JPG image in 72 or 96 DPI which is usually not suitable for laser work. If you do have to use a JPG, it’s better than nothing – but just barely.


The GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is one of the two most common file formats for graphic images on the World Wide Web. While they are slightly better than JPEG, they are not the first choice of laser owners.

Other Importing Tips

If you are in the Artistic or Paragraph text mode, and you try to importing a graphics file such as a PLT or other CAD program, CorelDRAW will interpret it as a text file and bring in the CAD code. Depending on the file size, you may get many, many pages of plotter commands, and often it will crash your computer.

Paste vs. Paste – the Paste command creates a copy of the contents of the clipboard. It’s used most often for duplicating objects within a program. For special applications where you want to copy data between programs, you can copy as usual (CTRL+C or from the Edit menu). But you should select Edit | Paste Special when you go to paste in another application.

You can import multiple files if they are stored in the same folder. Click on a file you want to open, and then hold down the CTRL while clicking additional files. You can even open an entire folder’s contents by clicking the first file and then holding the Shift while clicking the last file in the folder.


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