Xaralx, now known as Xara Xtreme for Linux, is a free and open source image editing program for Linux. It is based on the commercial Xara imaging editing software for Windows, and is primarily used for vector image creation and editing. Over the next few weeks, I will provide some handy tips that you can use in Xara. The first is an easy way to slice an image into whatever shape you want. As with any vector image editing, the resulting shape will be an object that you can move, rotate, add to a larger image, and treat like a normal shape.
Xaralx is available through many Linux distribution repositories. For Ubuntu, simply install it through Synaptic or enter from the command line:
sudo apt-get install xaralx
You may also want to install extras:
sudo apt-get install xaralx-examples xaralx-svg
Import an Image
1. Start xaralx from the menu.
2. Click “File” and “Import“.
3. Find an image you want to use and click “Open“.
Feel free to resize the image or make other changes before your proceed.
Slice the Image
1. Click the rectangle tool, ellipse tool, or quickshape tool (for all other types of shapes — it requires some additional customization).
2. Click in the white space and drag to create your shape.
3. Click the select tool (the first one shaped like a mouse pointer).
4. Drag your shape over top of the image, positioning it however you want to slice it.
5. Click the transparency tool (the wine glass icon).
6. A new toolbar will appear. On the right, drag the transparency bar about halfway so that the shape is translucent. This way you can make sure you have it positioned over the image the way you want it.
7. With the shape still selected, hold Shift and click on the image underneath so that both are selected.
8. Right click on top of the shape, select “Combine Shapes” and click “Slice (cut) Shapes“.
The top shape should disappear leaving a cut-out of your image in that shape. Drag it away from the remaining shape and delete the leftover if you wish.
Export the Image
It is always a good idea to save the whole page for future use, but to save the image only, you need to export it.
1. Select the newly sliced image.
2. Click “File” and “Export…”
3. Select the file type. (If you want the area surround your image to be transparent, select “.png”. PNG is also useful if you intend to manipulate the image further in Gimp).
4. After you have selected the file format and destination folder, click “Save”.
If you are interested in the reverse of what you just did, instead of clicking “Slice“, just click “Subtract Shapes“. Your shape will behave like a cookie cutter, removing that area from your image. If you click “Intersect Shapes“, it will automatically cut out the part that you want and discard the rest.
Once you have sliced your image, you can use any of the other features available in Xara or export the image to another program. In the coming weeks, I will introduce you to some of the features Xara has. Many of its features are similar to Inkscape (a very popular vector graphics editor), while some are unique and welcomed additions to Linux. Although the Linux version is somewhat different from the Windows one, many of the techniques are the same. Experiment and see what you can produce.