FreeHand to Illustrator Migration Guide

A new document has been released that will be helpful for anybody considering the switch from FreeHand to Illustrator. The 6.5 MB PDF is 44 pages long and can be downloaded from here.

Now I’m sure some folks are going to jump to conclusions and think that Freehand is dead, but that’s not the case. The real story is that this document was in development long before Adobe acquired Macromedia. It was conceived as a competitive “switcher” guide. As you know, some projects drag on longer than you wish, and this was certainly one of those. So the document was done, the acquisition was complete, and the Illustrator product team decided to publish the guide anyway.

Some folks will read more into it than is true, but for the rest of us, this is a well-written and helpful document. I’m not interested in more speculation or feature debates, but I am interested in feedback! For the intended purpose of this guide, did you find it valuable? Are there other “conversion guides” that you’d like to see published that would help you use Adobe’s tools more effectively?

6 Responses to FreeHand to Illustrator Migration Guide

  1. Adam, thanks for letting us know this about the guide. It is somewhat of a relief to know that Adobe isn’t just forgetting about FreeHand. I understand some documents take a long time to produce, but couldn’t they have replaced some of the copy so that it sounded like Adobe supports both programs? It would have been nice to comment on how great both tools are and that they both would be supported by Adobe. I think that’s what insulted us FreeHand users the most. We were thinking of publishing a guide that discusses migrating from Illustrator to FreeHand to show how FreeHand has features that illustrator users do not have. But if Adobe is just releasing this because it’s been laying around, that’s fine. But why not release a Corel Draw to Illustrator guide instead? Corel is a completely separate company! Corel Draw is not supported on the Mac. It would have made more sense.

  2. It’s good to know FH is at least on life support for the time being. I think a comparison guide pointing out some of FH’s advantages would be a great idea, and I would hope that Illustrator would consider adopting some of these in future releases. I think the overall simplicity of FH is what really sells it to its users. IMO, some of the recent FH versions have taken a step backward, but I still find it far more productive as a tool for my work than AI. Honestly, I could use FH 8 for the rest of my life and have nearly every bell and whistle I need. Thanks again for instilling hope.

  3. Vonster says:

    Thanks Adam! I hope this pdf is different then the one released last week by adobe which wasn’t very useful for those who have never used AI on a regular basis such as myself.We are the last of the Mohicans. But we know our arrowheads are better then the ‘Three Tooler’ users in the Illustrator tribe.Long live FreeHand!PS: I wa son the beta team for FreeHand for two years and it was pointed out to me that the proper way to type the name is ‘FreeHand’ not ‘Freehand’. FYIThanks and fixed! -Adam

  4. FH Addict says:

    A FreeHand Support Page is now open to every FH Users who want to express their “love’ to this soft : http://www.enrichdesign.com/freehand.htmlMaybe this could help changing Adobe ‘s bad intentions ?[I’m not sure what the bad intentions are considering no intentions have been stated and no products (Adobe or Macromedia) have been discontinued. -Adam]

  5. Hop says:

    Adam Pratt’s post relieves some of my anxieties. My two favorite programs are Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia FreeHand. To see Adobe (a company I’ve always admired) discontinue FreeHand would be a kick in my stomach.To see Adobe make FreeHand more Acrobat compatible and update it to work on Intel based Macs would increase my admiration for a great company.

  6. Garry Prockter says:

    Dear AdamAs a past design student at Victoria University Wellington NZ from 2002 to 2006 Freehand MX was the vector program that we used in training. One specific function was its ability to specify line widths suitable for a laser cutter and to transfer these parameters to the laser cutter program. I don’t know if Illustrator can do that.The fact remains that Freehand was used as a teaching program which I used and understood. The cost was a cost layout to me and the cost of any of these programs is considerable and it is unfair in my opinion to have to replace rather than update over relatively short periods. In a very short time to replace it with something else. It is a struggle for me at 67 to afford to keep up with program developments. Freehand MX was a very useful program. I also use Coraldraw Graphic suite 12. In my opinion when rendering a useful and much used program obsolete I consider that the developers have an obligation to maintain programs which have been purchased in good will with a viable alter-native. I agree that your conversion instructions are good but involve a conversion which requires a new purchase which should be compensated for in some way. Computer programs seem to be creating a new ethos. This is not a satisfactory outcome at all and I am surprised that adobe should adopt the policy that it has. If one has to repurchase under these circumstances the purchaser should be given access to a replacement such as Illustator as a replacement?/or reduced rate. Would you buy a house subject to new terms of purchase every few years where you were required to repurchase. The short shelf life of these products is rearly alarming.Yours sincerelyGarry Prockter. MBChb BDes.[I know these transitions aren’t easy, but by giving Freehand customer’s a 2/3 discount on an upgrade to Illustrator and significantly improving the file conversion from Freehand I think the team has done a good job of lessening the burden. -Adam]