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Adobe abandons Freehand, pushes Illustrator

updated 10:00 am EDT, Thu May 17, 2007

Adobe abandons Freehand

Adobe has confirmed it will abandon Freehand, the popular illustration tool acquired as part of its merger with Macromedia. Although the company continues to sell Freehand MX -- last updated more than four years ago, it is now urging current Freehand users to migrate to Illustrator CS3, and says it has added features to that version of the application it hopes will make the migration "comfortable," according to a blog posting on the company's website: "Adobe does not plan to develop and deliver any new feature-based releases of FreeHand, or to deliver patches or updates for new operating systems or hardware. Adobe will, however, continue to sell FreeHand MX, and will offer technical and customer support according to our support policies," Adobe's John Nack wrote.

Adobe has also created a Migration FAQ (PDF) that explains the details of its decision not to update FreeHand, and talks about those Illustrator CS3 features added to make FreeHand users more comfortable.

The company is providing a special upgrade to Illustrator CS3 for registered owners of FreeHand, offering the newly released vector tool for $200. The upgrade is available worldwide through the Adobe Store and through the Channel; however, there is no direct FreeHand-to-Creative Suite 3 upgrade.

In addition, the company is offering several resources to help users migrate to Adobe Illustrator. The FreeHand to Illustrator Migration Guide -- available as a PDF and in printed form -- is targeted to designers and illustrators: the four-color manual provides a graphical comparison of the FreeHand and Illustrator workspaces, along with differences in terminology, features, and functions between the two applications.

The more technical Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator is designed for production managers, IT managers and designers, and offers tips and suggestions for moving legacy FreeHand content into Illustrator, handling different file formats, outputting files, and other information.

by MacNN Staff





  1. boulder1259

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It seems as though they've abandoned Illustrator, too, because when was the last time there was a significant Illustrator update (I mean something more than just changing the version number!)

  1. fashizzle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Freehand, R.I.P.

    Anyone in the prepress industry knows that Freehand is king over Illusrator. When Adobe introduced that BRAVO rendering for Illustrator, it was very easy to make it choke on 1/3rd the paths of Freehand. I've used both versions since 1.0, including the ghastly Illustrator '88. Adobe never caught up to the ease-of-use and sheer power and intuitiveness of Freehand. It just sucks now that there is no alternative to the Adobe monopoly of professional vector apps. Sure, some less powerful alternatives exist, but none near as powerful as Freehand. Way to go Adobe. Step 1 - buy competition, Step 2 - kill off competition, Step 3 - stagnate the market with a kludgy, less powerful app and never update it.

  1. chucker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    another monopoly win

    Adobe is the microsoft of graphics software - well we all knew that.

    Also with Canvas dying a slow death from the PC centric company that bought it, it looks like doing drawing on a mac is getting pretty difficult.

    Ironic since all those years ago, the only thing my mac hating friends would actually concede to mac users, was they were way ahead for drawing programs.

  1. suhail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I was afraid of that…

    Freehand was my faivorite vector application. Illustrator SUCKS in making arrow-heads, round corners for boxes, and many other features. Freehand also rules when it comes to selecting objects below the upper object, Illustrators solution for this is totally retarded. I hope Adobe takes the good from Freehnad and implements it in Illustrator (Command Click).

  1. Art Vandelay

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Already was dead...

    Macromedia effectively killed it when they stopped updating it and removed it from their Studio suite. Macromedia's apps had two major upgrade cycles (MX 2004, Studio 8) before Adobe bought them and Freehand was never updated. So no shock here, it was already dead.

  1. designr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is a shame...

    Without giving away my age, I have been using both Freehand and Illustrator professionally since each was first released. Freehand has always been the better product. It's tools have always been easier to use and more intuitive.

    Bottom Line: I can draw pictures and design logos far faster and with much greater precision in Freehand than in Illustrator.

    They should have abandoned Illustrator!

  1. suhail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: this is a shame…

    I do agree, if I was givin a choice I would've chosen Freehand over Illustrator. Freehand is much easier to use and its tools are very relevant to product design, logo design, etc. It has a multipage feature which is also nice. The only drawback I could think of, which Adobe could have easily fixed, is the printing engine it did not generate PS as reliably as Illustrator.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Disagree somewhat

    I have used both Freehand and Illustrator, and I like Illustrator much better. I found the pen tool easier to use, and I actually like the paths and appearance windows/inspectors. Layer management was also better.

    Adobe was fair in this. They abandoned the weak imageready for the far superior Fireworks--- here they made a choice. Very few companies keep different solutions for the same problem/market.

    It would be different if Illustrator were the pro product, and Freehand the "home" or entry level...but they were both geared to the pro.

  1. hokizpokis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    major lawsuit pending

    sell your adobe stock now...

    Adobe killing Freehand is very bad for everybody!!

    A huge disaster for the media business!!

    the Feds should be burning the Adobe monopoly down very soon!!

    Death to the Adobe monopoly

  1. brainiac_7

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ces't la vie

    I like Illustrator; please don't hate me. Take cold satisfaction in knowing that I loved ImageReady and hated Fireworks.

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