MacUser / October 1997

Adobe Illustrator Now Easier to Use
4.5 mice

by Shellry Cryan

Drawing application challenges Macromedia FreeHand 7's edge with an easier-to-use interface and some Web-friendly capabilities -- but adds only a small number of new features.

Competition for top-dog status in the drawing-package arena is brutal -- especially between Macromedia's FreeHand 7 (4.5 mice, March '97) and Adobe Illustrator. FreeHand 7 crept ahead in its latest incarnation, but the folks at Adobe aren't ignoring the challenge.

With its latest upgrade to Illustrator, Adobe has adopted an interesting strategy: Instead of unveiling a plethora of new drawing tools and features -- as did Macromedia with FreeHand 7 -- Adobe has focused on making it easier to use Illustrator's already rich array of existing features and on facilitating the distribution of finished artwork.

MacUser looks at Illustrator 7.0

This version's productivity enhancements include a sweeping interface overhaul, snappier screen response, and customizable nonprinting grids. The new ability to link to placed images instead of forcing documents to embed images reduces file sizes considerably. The concurrent release of a Windows version of Illustrator, with feature parity and file compatibility, aids those working in a cross-platform environment.

The standouts among the few new drawing features include a tool for reshaping paths and the ability to make adjustments to multiple-master fonts on the fly.

Next: An Adobe Family Resemblance

Adobe Illustrator 7.0, $595; upgrade before September 1, 1997, $99; upgrade thereafter, $129 (list). Company: Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA; 800-649-3875 or 408-536-6000.

From MacUser magazine, now incorporated into Macworld.

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