Graphics: Is Freehand compatible with Illustrator/InDesign?

started by Mpj on Feb 9, 2004 — RSS Feed

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

Is Macromedia Freehand MX entirely compatible with Illustrator and InDesign/Quark Xpress when importing or exporting .eps .ps .ai etc. files?

In a nutshell, I need to know if Freehand is a cheap alternative to the Adobe/Quark products for the occasional times I'm asked to do print design.


Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

The Freehand/Illustrator debate is much like the Mac/PC thing. Some people swear by FreeHand and others swear at it. It depends on the type of work you will be doing, there is no absolute answer which is the better one for you. I used to have both but I abandoned FreeHand four or five years ago and haven't upgraded since. I don't need both now.

Yes, it will produce .eps files that can be used in XPress etc.

It will import Photoshop .psd files up to version 6 but doesn't export .psd. PNG(32) is the native bitmap format in Fireworks.

It supports Illustrator .AI files up to version 9.

I think your choice comes down to whether you used Photoshop or Fireworks. Illustrator works better with Photoshop and FreeHand with FireWorks. If you also used InDesign instead of XPress, there would be no contest. Print is moving more and more towards .PDF for output and there is no doubt, Adobe has the upper hand in that department.

Illustrator CS is $100 more than Freehand MX 2004 if you are buying new and not taking some kind of competitive upgrade. They both offer free demos, try them and see what you think.

If you are working on Mac, Canvas is a good cheap alternative to both. If you are on a PC, Xara X beats most other vector programs for a fraction of the price.

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

Thanks Joe,

Lots of food for thought...

The basic issue for me is that 90% of my work is web based. That 10% of print work however, comes from a couple of very good clients whom I absolutely can't afford to let down.

I need to be 100% sure that I can accept files from a print designer to adapt for the web. Likewise, I need to be 100% sure that I can send a file to the printers and they won't have any hassle opening it.

Studio MX is great for web work (inspite of Dreamweaver) but I need to know if Freehand can cut the mustard in the print department or if I should consider investing in CS Standard edition too. That begins to look like a scary amount of money...

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

Clarity is everything and my previous message was anything but...

I should have specified that I have neither Studio MX nor the Adobe CS Package but I am familiar with the software offered in both and intend to purchase one package or the other - hopefully (for my wallet) not both.

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