an All Creative World site


thornysarus's picture
930 pencils

Mourning the loss of a friend: Freehand

Maybe old news to some, and maybe the writing has been on the wall for quite some time, but I remember a time when Freehand was the only illustration app available for the Mac. That is if you don't count MacDraw, which no one ever does, even way back in the day. When Freehand hit the streets, it was the most amazing thing any of us had ever seen.

Ivan's picture

Let Illustrator do the math

transform paletteLet's say you have an object that is 22cm wide and you need to make it 2cm wider. You could calculate the amount and punch in 24cm, but if you had a more complex calculation, you may not be able to do it without a calculator. For example 12.3cm-1pt.

Ivan's picture

Rediscover the spirograph


Remember how joyfully you contributed to deforestation when you got your first spirograph at the age of five? You can relive the experience in a much more environmentally friendly way using Illustrator or any other vector application if you have a fast enough computer.

Ivan's picture

Layered vector effects


Macromedia Freehand's days may be numbered, but we shouldn't forget about it yet. Hopefully the feature below and many others not existing in Illustrator will find their way into the next version of Adobe's vector application.

Ivan's picture

Adjusting selection

In Freehand when you start dragging with the subselect tool (white arrow) you may realize that the starting point of is a bit off. You don't need to try dragging again and again until you find the right starting point. You can press space while dragging to momentarily change the function of the tool (and the cursor too) to move instead of drag. Once you start using it, you won't be able to live without it. Btw, this works in PS too, but it's more useful in vector applications.

Ivan's picture

Drag & drop

If you have a Freehand document that has elements you want to add to the document you're working on you don't need to open the file to select it's contents and than paste them into your working document. Just take the document that contains the elements you need and drop it over your working document.

Ivan's picture

Using the library

Many times we use certain elements on our design repetitively. Logos for example are usually appearing several times throughout our documents. Once this repetitive element changes, we have to go through our document updating all the instances. There is a better way to do it. If you are familiar with Flash, you already know what I'm gonna say. In Freehand (and Illustrator) there is a panel called Library that can be used to keep frequently used elements.

Ivan's picture

Move/Duplicate/Delete pages

This is not a trick, but a function, which is overlooked by some Freehand users. It's common to use the Window/Inspector/Documents palette for such operations, but there is a much better way to do it.

Select the page tool (the third arrow) in the toolbar (or just press D) and select a page. With this tool you can move around the pages by clicking and dragging them. If you press Alt you will make a copy of the page. Press Backspace and it will delete the page. It basically treats pages like regular objects.

Creativebits is a blog about Creativity, Graphic Design, Adobe, Apple and other related subjects.

Do you need a great new logo?

Pick a pre-made design from a collection of 50,000+ logos that will be customized to your business name for free.