Adobe has produced a 44-page PDF that explains how to convert your FreeHand documents over to Illustrator CS2. It discusses what changes to expect in your document after the conversion, and what’s different about the Illustrator interface.

Freehand to Illustrator Migration Guide

As long-time Freehand users ourselves, we recommend downloading and browsing through this guide. It is fairly well written, and contains many useful tips.

Adobe has also posted a brief 8-page technical resource paper that is less visual, but uses a question/answer format to cover many of the differences between FreeHand and Illustrator.

Is FreeHand Dead?

Two weeks ago in Paris, an Adobe representative stated publicly “Adobe will halt the development of Freehand and GoLive.” Shortly after that statement, Adobe’s PR department released a counter statement that “Adobe plans to continue to support GoLive and Freehand and develop these products based on our customer’s needs…”

In our opinion, it is pretty clear that the age of FreeHand is coming to an end. We may see an occasional minor bug-fix released. But it is unlikely that a major new version of FreeHand will ever be developed.

What’s Next for FreeHand Loving Designers?

As we remind our FreeHand-loving clients: No one is going to come and take your copy of FreeHand MX away. But FreeHand MX is almost certainly the last version that will be developed. You can continue using it in the short-term, but you should be considering other options for the future.

Many FreeHand users should consider InDesign rather than Illustrator as a replacement for their FreeHand projects. Designers who use FreeHand as a page layout tool for brochures, multi-page documents (or even catalogs), will find Illustrator a poor match for that type of work.

What is missing in our opinion is a Freehand to InDesign migration guide.

Source: This tip inspired by many software coaching sessions Creativetechs has provided over the last year for FreeHand users migrating to either Illustrator or InDesign for their future projects.