EazyDraw 3.0 review

If you liked MacDraw - the vector drawing program that shipped with the Mac way back when - you’ll love its conceptual successor, EazyDraw 3. EazyDraw gives non-professionals a painless way to create illustrations, logos, floor plans, technical diagrams, flowcharts, maps, and Web graphics that can be copied and pasted into other applications, such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, or Adobe Illustrator.

I found EazyDraw 3’s interface inviting, starting with its old-fashioned pencil desktop icon. Instead of presenting users with the traditional Pen tool for creating anchors and generating paths, EazyDraw instead employs a Path tool that works more like a pencil - you click and drag to draw.

Large icons on the program’s context-sensitive Toolbar provide intuitive access to editing tools for a selected object. For example, after you draw a path using the Path, Square, Rectangle, Arc, or other drawing tools, you can use the bar (essentially a control panel) to adjust the path’s thickness and line type (dots, strokes, solid), and choose whether or not to add an arrow at the end.

EazyDraw 3 does not pretend to be a professional illustration program. It lacks a full-featured alignment palette, 3-D effects, and a tracing component - features found in Adobe Illustrator CS4.

But EazyDraw 3 does have more than a few fairly advanced features that allow users to produce polished prototype drawings. For example, there are rulers, grids, and measurement tools that will help you to sketch an office layout to turn over to an interior designer, or rough out a scale map.

You can paste illustrations from EazyDraw 3.0 into Microsoft Word documents, and you can copy and paste text from Word into EazyDraw 3.0 with formatting preserved.

EazyDraw 3.0 includes enough basic desktop publishing tools to lay out a book of several hundred pages - indeed, EazyDraw’s own lengthy manual, including the cover art, was produced with the program.

New to version 3 is Text Link, a control that lets you flow text from one box (or page, or column) to another. And you can embed automatic page numbering, as well as a more flexible auto-numbering scheme that allows designers to number anything from objects in technical drawings to floors in an architectural rendering.

Non-professional illustrators will likely find EazyDraw 3’s Path tool a more intuitive way to draw lines than the complex Pen tool logic of programs like Adobe Illustrator.

You can use layers to stack objects in front of or behind each other, or to hide or isolate them for easy editing. While EazyDraw does not include a specific master page function, used in programs like Adobe InDesign to control elements that appear on every page of a publication, layout designers can work around that omission by using layers for running heads or footers, or for column guides to produce a professional-quality publication.

As in Photoshop, layers in EazyDraw can have an associated transparency so they can be used for shadings and overlays.

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