March 21, 2005

Moving objects between layers

By default, Freehand MX automatically moves selected objects to currently clicked layer, which often cause unintentional operations. For example, if features are placed in the background layer, they will be shown with lighter color. To correct this problem, read "Moving objects and reordering layers" entry of "Using Layers" part in "Using Layers, Symbols, and Styles" Chaper (Using Freehand MX, Freehand Help System).

Posted by sunx0170 at 3:28 PM

March 12, 2005

Learn Computer Skills, Not Be Taught


Posted by sunx0170 at 2:18 PM

Create Legend

The simplest way to create legend is "copy and paste". Creating point feature legend doesn't need any explanation, just "Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V". For line and polygon, if you can find features whose sizes are suitable for legend, don't hesitate to copy them; if not, draw some lines and polygons, and use Swatches and Styles in Assets to symbolize them. For doing that, you need to save your line and polygon symbolization into Styles first; then, select the lengend and simply click the Styles in Assests.

Posted by sunx0170 at 2:13 PM

Make Image Background Transparent


Many point features or labels can be represented by images, e.g., the McDonalds. However, most images are created in rectangles, which set a color as image background and often disturb the map. Most image files contain an alpha value for each pixel controlling transparency. All professional image processing software have the function of setting alpha value, such as Adobe Photoshop. However, Macromedia Freehand MX, a professional VECTOR graphic software, doesn't have the ability to do that. Fortunately, Microsoft Word has a picture tool which is able to set a color as transparent. Though the result may not be very good, for many reasons, it is a good option for most tasks.


1. Insert an image into Microsoft Word;
2. Show the picture toolbar;
3. Select the "Set Transparent Color" tool (The second one from the right);
4. Click the background area of the image;
5. Select the whole image, and copy it using "Edit-Copy" or "Ctrl+C";
6. Go to Freehand, paste it on the map;
7. Resize it if needed.
8. Drag it into Library, save it as a symbol, and give a meaningful name;
9. Apply the image to symbolize features on the map using Swap tool.

Posted by sunx0170 at 2:12 PM

Create Map INSET Using Freehand MX


According to the content of insets, they can be classified into two categories: larger-scale and smaller-scale insets. The first category is used to show a congested area in greater detail; whereas, the second is often used to show the position or environment of the main map within a larger area or context. The method introduced here is only applicable for the first type, i.e., to show more details for congested area. The kernel operation for creating inset in Freehand is "Clipping Path", and the explanation of the concept can be found in "Working with clipping paths" part of "Working with Objects" chapter (Freehand Help: Using Freehand MX).

General Steps

1. Make a backup of the map using Save As command in File menu;
2. Zoom to the area you want to put in an inset;
3. Create a new layer by clicking on "Options - New" on Layers panel, and name it "Inset_Layer";
4. Copy the targeted objects into the Inset_Layer, and lock, hide all other layers;
5. Resize the symbols, reduce stroke width etc. to fit the size of the inset;
6. Instead of a circle, use a rectangle to create a clipping path following the instructions in help;
7. Move and resize the clipping path;
8. If the symbolization of some object is not satisfactory, select and change it using "Subselect" tool and Object panel.

Posted by sunx0170 at 2:11 PM

February 27, 2005

Page Ruler in Freehand

The page ruler and an appropriate unit can substantially help set many important parameters. For example, a text object attached to a path can be set apart from the line with a distance, which can be measured by the ruler.

Using Info toolbar and page ruler, it is easy to calculate the distance on printed paper, thus enabling us to set the scale in representative style.

Posted by sunx0170 at 6:56 PM