FreeHand 9


Before you get started in FreeHand, it is a good idea to organize your window and make choices about preferences and defaults. To work effectively in FreeHand, it is necessary to have the palettes below accessible at all times. I like to keep them zipped at the right of my document. In File > Preferences > Panels, you can check a box marked "remember locations of zipped palettes". That way each time you zip a palette closed (click right-hand corner) it will go back to the location you gave it to the side of your document. This is a great feature; Try it!

Go to the Window menu to find the palettes shown below.


Changing/Saving default styles

FreeHand opens each new file based on the FreeHand Defaults file. You alter the default styles by opening a new document and setting the font, type size, colors in the color palette, whatever panels you want to appear on the desktop and their locations, page size, orientation, line weight, etc. When the file is exactly how you would like it to be when you open it each time, save it in the FreeHand folder on your hard drive with a name you can remember later.

Next, go to Preferences > Document. In the space labeled "New Document Template" type the name of the default file you just created. Be sure to spell it exactly the same as the name of the file you created. Now whenever you open a new document, your default file will be used.

*** There are now two ready-made defaults available on Applications: one is called "prints" and one is called "slides". If you drag these into your Freehand folder on your hard drive, and then go to Preferences > Document, you can type in either "prints" or "slides" to use one of these for your default settings.



Viewing the page

Magnification When you have selected this tool from the toolbox, you can click the mouse in your document to change your view of the page. If you draw a selection box with it, the area you select will be magnified to fill the screen. Holding option while clicking will decrease the magnification.

View > Fit to Page will always let you go back to the full view of your document.

View > Custom > New will allow you to save the current view so that if you zoom in or out or to a different part of the document, your custom view can be regained by just choosing it again.




Most of the functionality of Freehand is in the Palettes. Here are in order of importance, labeled and named for your reference:


Inspector Palette. This window holds five panels:

Object Inspector (information on selected object)

Stroke (lines)

Fill (gradients and transparency)

Page (Size/Orientation/multiple)

Text (font, size, effects, etc.)






Xtra Operations (can be found under Windows > Toolbars )

Xtra-Tools (can be found under Windows > Toolbars )



Working with files from Photoshop

Importing an image: Save Photoshop files in TIFF format. (Note that all layers must be flattened to save as TIFF).

1. Go to File > Import.

2. Select the correct image from the disk.

3. Click to place the image.


Managing Linked file

Imported files will be linked by default; that is, what you will see in Freehand will be a preview with a pointer to your original Photoshop TIFF. When you print, the data from the Photoshop TIFF is sent to the printer. If you change the location of the TIFF after importing it into Freehand, the link will be broken.

(You can choose to embed an image by selecting it in the Links dialog box below and clicking on "embed". The quality of the image may decrease somewhat but may stay the same depending on the image. The advantage is that you don't need to worry about losing the link to an embedded image.)

Fixing broken links Go to Edit > Links


In this window you will see all the image files you have imported into your document. If the image is listed as missing, you need to click the change button to update it.


Editing a Photoshop file from within Freehand

The easiest way to edit a TIFF placed in a Freehand file is to open the Photoshop file from within Freehand To do this:

1. Select the Image

2. Go to Edit > External Editor. The first time you will have to choose the program you want to open (Photoshop), but after that, it will automatically open your imported images in Photoshop.

3. Edit your image

4. Save your image in Photoshop.

5. Click "Done" and the image will automatically update in Freehand


Cropping imported images

1. Draw a box (with no fill color) around the area you would like to crop (see drawing)

2. Select the image and use Command-X to cut it from the document onto the clipboard.

3. First select the box and then choose Edit > Paste Inside. The image you cut will be pasted inside the box you drew.

4. Now you can get rid of the black line around the image by selecting the box and choosing no fill for the line color

(See Drawing)


5. To move the image within the cropping box, click on it. You will see a blue symbol in the middle. Click and drag on this.

To move the whole box without moving the image inside, click anywhere else on the box.

Note: To make sure the image and the box move together, check the move tab in the Transform palette and make sure "contents" is checked.






This is the most important command to know. You can set the number of undos under File > Preferences. The default is 100. Each undo uses memory, so you can set it lower if the program begins to run slowly, or higher if the program is running well.

Redo: Command-Y.


Click with the pointer tool on an object or draw a selection box with the pointer tool around an object to make a selection. When objects are selected, you can move them anywhere on the page with the pointer tool releasing the mouse button when you want to release the objects.

Selecting multiple objects: Hold the shift key down and click on multiple objects.

Selecting one object behind another: Hold down control while clicking on the object in front. First the object in front will become selected. Click again, and the object in back becomes selected. If you want to select them both, hold down shift as you do this.

Deselecting: Hitting tab or double clicking on an empty part of the page will deselect all objects. Tab is often easier if you have a background on your page, because this tends to become selected all the time. If you have trouble selecting an object, hit tab and try again; some object elsewhere on the page is probably selected.

Group and Ungroup:

When you are working with a lot of objects, it is sometimes convenient to lock a group of them together so you can move them as one. The "group" command allows you to do this. Command-G. Also Modify > Group. To ungroup them, hit Command-U. Also Modify > Ungroup.

Grouped objects can be edited in Freehand without ungrouping them. To select an object within a group, hold down the option key and select it with the pointer tool. While the object is selected you can modify it, and when you deselect it, it will remain in its original group

Send to Front or Back:

Modify > Arrange. When you select an object you can send it to the front (command-F) or to the back (command-B).

Subselect lasso: You can use this tool to make complex selections that won't work well with a rectangular selection box. Double click for options:



This palette is essential for helping you align objects on a page to each other and to the page. This symbol means you are going to line the objects up on the top or bottom edge, or to the middle on the horizontal axis . This symbol means aligning to the left, right, or middle on a vertical axis. (Alignment Palette)


There are several ways to duplicate an object:

1. Clone: "Command-=". This creates a duplicate of the object directly on top of the object (so you won't be able to see it until you move it).

2. Option Key: Select the object you want to duplicate, hold down the mouse button, hold down option, and drag. To copy in a straight line, hold down mouse, option, and shift, and then drag.

3. Duplicate: Command-D. This creates an offset duplicate of the selected object. If you use this or the clone command, then move the copy to its desired location, you can use the Duplicate command again to create another copy the same distance and direction away from the previous copy.

Resize: If you double click an object, small black squares called "transform handles" appear on all sides of the object, indicating that you can transform it. Clicking and dragging on the side boxes will stretch the object. If you move the cursor over the corner, you will get a diagonal arrow. Holding shift and dragging will allow you to scale the object proportionally. Look at the transform palette to decide if you want to scale the lines and fills of an object as well as its size. (This palette gives you more options for transforming and will also allow you to make a more precise transformation by plugging in values.)


Rotate: Double click on an object. Transform handles appear. If you move the cursor outside the box a the corner, you will see a rounded arrow. This means you can rotate the object by clicking and dragging. The transform palette allows you to rotate with more precision by plugging in values.



Publish as HTML: If you go to File > Publish as HTML you can save your entire page as a web page. Each image, object and text block will be saved individually so you can edit the page in an HTML editor such as Dreamweaver, Claris Homepage or Go Live. It actually works very well!

Anti-Alias View: On the View menu and at the bottom of the FreeHand window, you can now preview your art as it will look when printed (smoothes jagged edges) or in an anti-aliased medium.

Custom Units: Usually you want to set the document to inches or centimeters, while lines and text are measured in points. To avoid switching back and forth constantly, you can now type these codes into any window to specify units, regardless of what kind of units the document is set to ( your number goes instead of #):

inches: #
points: p#
picas: #p
millimeters: #m
centimeters: #c
pixels: #x




Drawing Tools | Operations Palette | Knife,Mirror,Envelope | Find and Replace | Freeform Tool | Blend Tool

Mirror Tool | TraceTool | Perspective Tool | Layers | Styles



Using the Operations Palette:

Instead of trying to draw from scratch, it can be easier to start with the standard shapes and manipulate them. Do do this, you need to ungroup the standard shapes first. Then you can select and move the points or combine the shapes with these features found in the Operations Palette.



Knife, Mirror, Envelope


Find and replace: Edit > Find and Replace.

This tool helps you find elements in your document that you want to change. You can choose to find and replace text or graphics.

The text window lets you type in characteristics of text you want to find, and what you want to replace it with.

For the graphics panel, you have a choice of simply selecting objects that you specify, or finding and replacing objects. The first step is to highlight one object representative of the many you want to find. You can search by many criteria, such as color, path shape, blend steps, etc. Searching by path shape even allows you to paste in a path to find and one to replace it. (Example above). Do do this, just use command-c to copy an object from your image and click the "paste in" box in the find and replace window.

Freeform tool

The freeform tool allows you to alter the shape of an object without selecting points. When moving the tool over a selected object, it changes between push and pull form. When it passes over a line, it becomes a pull tool. If you click on a line and drag, you can pull a point out of the line. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to make the area of the selection larger or smaller. On the outside of a line, the freehand tool becomes a circle with which you can push the form to change its shape. The circle becomes bigger or smaller by using the arrow keys.


Beginning with an ungrouped rectangle you can make any interesting shape with the freeform tool:

In just a few seconds the pushing and pulling of the freeform tool has created a new shape.




Blend tool

Blend the shape and color of one object to another. Look at the object inspector to choose the number of blending steps. Remember, if you are using preset shapes such as rectangles or circles, you need to ungroup them first.

Begin with two shapes. Select them both and click on the blend tool in the Operations Palette.


The object inspector has a place to type in how many blend steps you want. This one has five.


Here is the same blend with 25 steps.


You can make the blend take a shape by attaching it to a path. Here is a blend with the path drawn.


Select both blend and path andgo to Modify > Combine > Join Blend to Path.


Mirror tool: Select one object and make a circle of objects using this tool. Useful in making virus coat proteins. You can specify the number of objects in the circle, and control the diameter of the circle. You can also rotate the objects as they form a circle. It can also be used to reflect just once by specifying only one object.

Trace tool: Traces a scanned or vector objects. Great for tracing graphs.

Perspective Tool: Now you can make any of your objects conform to a perspective grid. Follow these steps to use the tool:

1. Turn on Perspective grid by choosing View > Perspective Grid

2. Select an object with the Perspective Tool (in the Toolbox.)

3. With the mouse button pressed, use the arrow keys on the keyboard to indicate which side of the grid to snap the object to.

4. To make a custom perspective grid, go to View > Perspective Grid > Define Grid

Layers: Click here to see how to use the layers palette. Layers are useful for drawing, especially if you have a scanned-in drawing that you are planning to trace in Freehand, if you are using a background that keeps getting selected, or if your image is so complicated that it is hard to select the parts you want to change. You can also turn layers on and off if you want to hide part of your image while you are working.



Styles: Styles are formatting attributes that can be saved and applied to text paragraphs or graphics. You can save information such as stroke, fill, and color for graphics, and font, size, alignment, etc., for paragraphs. The styles menu is in the same palette as color and layers. To save a new style, select the text or graphics with the attributes you want to record. Then choose new from the styles menu. It will ask you to name the style. This tool can really save you time.





See Text Palette for basics on using text, changing size, font, etc..

Text Blocks: Text blocks can be fixed or auto-expanding. Use the text tool to draw a fixed text box. In this format, text wraps automatically. Hold down control while you draw to make an expandable text block. You can also make an expandable text block by using the text tool to click in the document and type.


More Text Effects:

Converting Text to Paths

By going to Text > Convert to Paths, you can turn text into an object. There are three situations in which you might benefit from doing this:

1. If you are using a font that won't be available on the computer you plan to print from, you can convert all the text to paths. Then the font will no longer be necessary. Keep in mind that once a font is converted to objects, it is no longer editable as text.

2. You are having imaging trouble on the film recorder, text moves around or disappears. Converting everything to paths will avoid some of these problems.

3. You want to change the shapes of the letters. In the example below, I converted the text to paths, ungrouped the letters, and then moved individual points around to change the shapes of the letters.


Text becomes just grouped objects when you convert it to paths.
If you ungroup the objects, you can edit them:


By moving and manipulating points, you can treat create interesting letter shapes.




Working with Color

The color palette in Freehand comes with some basic colors. By clicking on "Options" you can access many color libraries. By holding shift while you select colors from these libraries you can add the colors you choose to the color palette.

Mixing Colors


Color Matching

Freehand comes with Kodak Digital Science, a technology that alters the colors on your screen to simulate the colors you will see when you print. The difference can be surprising. You can turn this feature on and off depending on whether your final output will be prints or slides in File > Preferences.



When you print, there are a couple of things to check.

1. File > Page Setup. Make sure the page size and orientation are correct.

2. Scroll to the Freehand settings and look at the print settings. The box marked"Use PPD" should be checked, and the printer you are using should appear next to that. This is not the same as choosing the printer. If a black and white printer appears here, the print will be in black and white even if you are printing to a color printer.

Note that you can scroll in the box marked "scale %" to Fit to Paper if you want to shrink the image to fit if it runs off a little.

Check the tile box if the image is too big to fit on one piece of paper at full size.

3. Click "Print".