Macromedia Freehand 5.0 and 5.5

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Macromedia FreeHand (formerly Aldus FreeHand and subsequently Adobe FreeHand)  was software for two-dimensional vector graphics for professional use in  desktop publishing illustration and Web content. Competitive products were Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW,  Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress. Applications included graphic design, illustration, cartography, fashion, product design, architecture, scientific research, and multimedia.

FreeHand was designed by Altsys in 1988 and licensed to Aldus, which released versions 1 through 4. In 1994, Aldus merged with Adobe. Because of competition with Adobe Illustrator, FreeHand was returned to Altsys, who was later bought by Macromedia, which released FreeHand versions 5 through 11 (FreeHand MX). 

FreeHand 5.0, sold for $595 in 1995, featured a more customizable and expanded workspace, multiple views, stronger design and editing tools, a report generator, spell check, paragraph styles, multicolor gradient fills up to 64 colors, speed improvements, and it accepted Illustrator plugins.

In September 1995, a FreeHand 5.5 upgrade added Photoshop plug-in support, PDF import capabilities, the Extract feature, inline graphics to text, improved auto-expanding text containers, the Crop feature, and the Create PICT Image feature.

Version 5.5:

  • Knife tool automatically closes the paths it cuts.
  • Copy and paste attributes from one object to another.
  • Objects can snap to Objects and guides.
  • A Perspective tool for objects.
  • Documents viewed in up to eight different windows.
  • Individual layers be viewed as Keyline or Preview.
  • Zoom up to 1,638,400%. Automatic trapping.
  • Eyedropper tool picks up colors from imported images.
  • Graduated and radial fills with up to 64 colors.

A FreeHand 5.5 upgrade was part of the FreeHand Graphics Studio (a suite that included Fontographer, Macromedia xRes image editing application, and Extreme 3D animation and modeling application).

Version 5.5: (Mac only release)

  • PDF Import
  • Accepts Photoshop plug-ins, to control scanners or apply filters to images.
  • Place drawn objects within text blocks so they flow with the text.
  • Export pages or objects as bitmap images

Platform: Apple Macintosh IIci or better  8 Mb RAM available 20 Mb Hard disk available Disk 3.5

             Mac OS System 7.1 or newer

             16-inch Screen or larger

Application Software (AS:) Graphics

Version: 5.0.1

Platform: Apple Macintosh IIci or better Apple PowerMac  8 Mb RAM available 20 Mb Hard disk available Disk 3.5 CD-ROM

             Mac OS System 7.5.5 or newer

             16-inch Screen or larger

Application Software (AS:) Graphics

Version: 5.5

Platform : Apple Mac II
Format : Disk 3.5 & CD-ROM
Publisher : Macromedia
Authors :
Date : 1995
Product Code :

Related Items in the Collection:

Other Software by Macromedia:

Item Manufacturer Platform Format Date
Authorware Macromedia PC CD-Rom 1990
Macromedia Freehand 5.0 and 5.5 Macromedia Apple Mac II Disk 3.5 & CD-ROM 1995

Information About Macromedia:

Item Manufacturer Date
Macromedia Inc. 1 Jan 1992




This exhibit has a reference ID of CH44964. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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