Xar Format Specification

The Xar file format, previously known as the Flare file format, is an ultra-compact, open, vector graphic format. It is also the native graphics format for Xara X application (and also its predecessors such as CorelXARA).

The document below describes the format in detail and provides information for third parties interested in converting to or from this graphics format.

Why another vector graphics format? The Xar file format is not new. It dates back nearly ten years and so it predates more recent formats such as SVG. It is not designed to compete with SVG, but Xar files are considerably simpler to understand (the SVG spec is 700 pages) and, more compact (often 10:1). However the primary reason for the existence of the open file format specification is to enable third parties to read and write the Xara X native files.

Download Xar Format Document - 2.3MB
Last updated: 14th September 2007 (change log)

Import/Export filters

For information on developing filters for Xara Xtreme for Windows, click here. For filter development for XaraLX, click here.

Additional Downloads
XarLib Library

When using C++ (or any other language that allows linking to C++ static libraries) the easiest way to implement a Xar file Reader or Writer is to use the XarLib library. The library provides access to a Xar file at the record level for both the reading and writing of Xar format files. The library is responsible for handling the ZLib compression and certain other features of the format (e.g. atomic and essential records) leaving you to deal with interpreting or writing the records without having to worry about the low-level details.

Download XarLib Library - (660KB)

XPFilter Archive

The XPFilter archive contains a simple example filter object (XPFStats) that uses the XarLib library to handle the reading and writing of the Xar format data and a test bed program (FilterDemo) for testing the filters.

Download XPFilter archive - (98.5KB)