Web, Print Publishing With a FreeHand

Designers looking to publish their work in multiple media will get help with the newest version of Macromedia Inc.'s FreeHand design tool.

Designers looking to publish their work in multiple media will get help with the newest version of Macromedia Inc.s FreeHand design tool.

FreeHand Version 10 will include tighter integration with the companys Flash animation tool as well as other productivity and illustration enhancements. It will enable users to create content once and publish to different media such as print, the Web and various devices.

"Invariably, our customers come back and want to take what weve done for print and put it on the Web," said Brad Kozak, chief creative officer and chairman of Grok Media Technology Inc., in Dallas. "Because [in FreeHand 10] there are such tight ties in between FreeHand and Flash, it makes that very easy. Macromedia has made a big push in trying to get all its products to play well together."

Kozak, a beta tester for FreeHand 10, added that the color palettes and keyboard shortcuts are now more consistent across the line as well. The tighter integration with Flash enables users to preview Flash movies from within FreeHand.

Other productivity enhancements include the use of master pages, an editable symbol library and the ability to print large blocks of content at once.

The product will be the first design tool available for the newly released Mac OS X. Macromedia also will release a Windows version of FreeHand 10. R. Scott Horner, another beta user, plans to use FreeHand 10 on Mac OS X.

"Having the program rewritten for OS X is going to be a big benefit when we do go over to OS X," said Horner, co-owner of Swarm Interactive Inc., in Plantation, Fla. He added that the new printing features will save him time by allowing him to print an entire storyboard at once instead of having to print each page individually.

"Some of the new integration features are nice, too," Horner said. "Its a lot easier to use symbols in FreeHand 10, and now you can edit symbols. Before, there was a workaround, but it wasnt as elegant."

FreeHand 10, slated to ship next month, includes the Macromedia user interface, which Macromedia debuted last fall and which it plans to spread across the companys entire line. Adobe Systems Inc. sued Macromedia over the interface, claiming patent infringement, and Macromedia countersued. The trial is scheduled for next year.