Inkscape is the best alternative for CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator – this is a great flexible drawing tool for all designers. This will supported most of the CorelDraw important features such as pencil tool, shape tool, embed bitmap, Transformations, color management, clones and many more options. You can also open the CDR file by using Inkscape application but the only drawback is this will not support multipage format.
This is a great tool for any small company or freelance designer who can’t afford (or doesn’t want to pay) the licenses of the Adobe Creative software. Inkscape is free and open source, it’s available in all major operating systems and you can download it and start working in minutes.
It’s intuitive and easy to master for anyone who has experience in vector drawing software. CorelDraw users will find it extremely familiar, but it will be easy too for those who come from Freehand or Illustrator. His set of tools and features cover most of the needs in everyday design work. It is rare to find something that Inkscape can not do, either natively or with an addon.
I really like the Trace Bitmap tool, very useful to create icons or line art which I use in my desktop publishing and design projects.
Inkscape is developed by the open source community and in recent years has become very active. That means that users can report their problems or the functionalities they would like to see implemented in future releases. There is a lot of documentation online to answer questions about common tasks or to help in the migration if we come from Illustrator.
When you work as a freelance designer one of the problems is the price of the software. With Inkscape you can create professional projects from day one without any investment. There are other tools like Photoshop that are standard among designers and it’s difficult (if not impossible) to find them a substitute. However Inkscape is a real and fully functional alternative to Illustrator.
The user interface needs polishing, sometimes it feels a little bit old. A redesign to unclutter the space would be good. Some properties windows, like the one to export to PNG, are so big that whe you use them the working space left seems very small (in an standard screen). Anyway, you can detach them and arrange them as you wish.
Right now there is no easy way to create multipage documents, but I believe they are going to implement this feature in next releases. I you want to create a PDF with more than one page, you have to do it by yourself.
Inkscape works great as a stand alone software for many vector graphic projects. Yet, even if you already have a preferred vector editor Inkscape is a great compliment to any design software suite. I encourage every digital designer to download it and experiment with its unique features.
You may download for free your Inkscape version from here.