Difference between revisions of "MacromediaFreehand"

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[[Category:Developer Discussion]]
[[Category:Developer Discussion]]
[[Category:Other Product]]
[[Category:Other Software]]

Revision as of 09:01, 3 July 2006

Please post links to screenshots and/or criticism of this vector drawing application.

About Macromedia Freehand

Freehand is a quality-leading vectorial editor, early develpment started from Aldus (early than 1990) from the postscript boom of 80's

Versions 1 to 3 were targeted to 1 page documents Versions since 4 allows multiple page over one drawing table (allowing us to see all pages just from zooming out) MacromediaMX (11) seems to be the actual version, and very targeted to .swf and web development.

Macromedia has been bought by Adobe in 2006.


A review specifically comparing Inkscape 0.42.2 and FreeHand MXA: [1]

The most effective site which covers Macromedia Freehand is The Freehand Source. (It is also a proof-by-example that Flash can be used on the Web). Whilst the author admits a little bias with such phrases as "ode to a fantastic program I've grown to love over the years", it really is a wart and all look at the program in its many versions. The (framed) pages on Tips, and Bugs are probably the most useful, but the whole site is worth looking at.

See Review: FreeHand 10, though this might contain too little information to be useful.

Note that Macromedia never really took the trouble to encourage invisible or unsanctioned copying of this product, and there are few if any plug-ins for it, nor many good books. I doubt that after the early nineties many youngsters chose or were exposed to it. Further a Google search containing the term 'Freehand' will (in general) take you to many pages with the phrase 'Freehand Tool' or 'Freehand Technique' that often are about Illustrator.

I have found Freehand to be good for doing precise work (such as charts, maps and diagrams), and also good for people with limited artistic skills; Whilst you will find a few artists who like Freehand, you only have to watch a talented person using Illustrator to realise how good that program is, if you have good drawing skills. Also, the concrete interface to Illustrator is now an excellent match to Photoshop.

Whilst there are many individual features of Freehand that are superior, and ought to be incorporated into Inkscape, I suggest that the history of this program and its current state, is a lesson in how not to run a business unit. Having said that, Freehand has missed most opportunities for bloat, and its feature set is no greater than its loyal customers actually use, it has an excellent reputation for the quality of its Postscript output - though I suspect that Illustrator has caught up (if it were ever behind), and its file format, though binary, has allowed Macromedia's developers to produce a program which handles a lot of metadata for each object.

  1. The Generic pointer tool is small and neat
  2. Selection markers are unobtrusive
  3. Envelopes are only shown on request


  • Inset Tool (see below)


Google Image Search:Freehand

Freehand Inset Tool taken from a Freehand tutorial (and another tutorial on using Inset)

Please add more...

User Interface

Macintosh Keyboard Shortcuts for FreeHand

Offical Links and General Information

Macromedia Freehand Official web site

Macromedia Freehand at Wikipedia

See Also

Macromedia Freehand is the product most directly relevant to Inkscape but we can also learn from Macromedia Fireworks and MacromediaFlash which all seem to be funadmentally very vector orientated software.