Creating Charts & Graphs in Macromedia Freehand

charts and graphs

Although charts and graphs can be created within Microsoft Word and Excel, I prefer the graphical control you have using Freehand. Once created in Freehand, a graph or chart can be exported as a jpg, gif, etc. and imported into a Word or other document if necessary.

Overview of the Freehand Interface:

charts and graphs

Fig. 1

When you open Freehand you may or may not see any of the toolbars, and you will not see the document page until you go to File --> Open and open either a new or existing file.  In order to see any of the Toolbars you need to go to the View menu and check Toolbars. The Panels checkbox allows you to open a selection of panels to the right. The panels allow you to very specifically modify different aspects of your drawing. I will cover some of them in later tutorials.


Fig. 2

The toolbars shown above can be selected from the Window menu in the top menu bar, and moved around on the desktop. The Toolbars I have selected are:

  • Tools

  • Toolbars --> Text

  • Toolbars --> Status

  • Toolbars --> Xtra Operations

  • Toolbars --> Xtra Tools

Creating a Chart:

The Chart icon is in the Xtra Tools Palette.


Fig. 3

Freehand charts and graphs

With the Chart icon selected drag a box to the desired approximate size of the chart.


Fig. 4

Freehand charts and graphs

When you release the mouse a spread-sheet style window appears, allowing you to enter the values of graph entries.

I entered the following random values to use for this example: 25, 35, 42, 64, 55, and 37. The default chart style is a bar graph.

Fig. 5

Freehand charts and graphs

The default colors are grey-scale, but can be changed. Select each individual bar of the graph with the white Sub-select arrow from the Standard Tool bar, then choose the desired color from the paint bucket Fill color tool.

Fig. 6

Freehand charts and graphs

Fill color and border width (Stroke), can be modified either in the Basic Tool Box or in the Object Panel. To turn on the Object Panel first make sure that Panels is selected (see Fig. 1) and select Object in the Window menu on the top menu bar.

The Object Panel allows a greater flexibility in modifying the object. As well as selecting a fill and border color you can change the type of fill and the width of the border line.

Fig. 7

Freehand charts and graphs

Fig. 8

In the above example I have given each border a width value of 2 pt.

A variety of colors not only makes the presentation more interesting, but also makes it easier to present to an audience. You can refer to a particular chart value by color.

Freehand charts and graphs

To create labels make sure that the chart is selected and double-click on the chart icon again to open the Chart Styles window. Enter the labels in the first column and the data in the second column as shown in Fig. 9 to the left.

Fig. 9

Freehand charts and graphs

Select the Bar Graph icon in the top left corner to bring up more options.

Select Data numbers in chart and Drop shadow.

Fig. 10  

Freehand charts and graphs

The drop shadow colors can be changed just as in Fig. 6 with the main rectangle colors, but I found it easier to stick with black and just change the first rectangle to grey.

The Text and Label styles and sizes can be changed using any of the text tools.

You complete the project you can add a heading with the text tools and a border with the rectangle tool.

Fig. 11  

Freehand charts and graphs

Fig. 12

The finished graph can be exported in a variety of file formats for use in another document.  If you plan on changing any of the data you should save the Freehand file format.

Freehand charts and graphs

Here is the same data represented as a pie graph.  All that would be required to convert your existing chart is to select Transpose (see Fig. 9) to move the data horizontally across the cells, and select the pie graph symbol (see Fig. 10).

The type of information and comparisons that you are trying to get across will determine the style of chart you should use.  Experiment with some of the other settings to see the various effects.  It is a good idea to save several versions of you project in case you want to go back to a previous version.




T. Carson 2008