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REVIEW 108 MacDirectory EAZYDRAW 3.0 > TECHNICAL ILLUSTRATION ON A BUDGET If you've been around Macs for a while (a long while, actually), you'll remember a great little program called MacDraw, which eventually became Claris Draw. On the surface, it was pretty simple and straightforward, but it proved to be remarkably versatile. It was equally adept at creating a business form or letterhead as it was in laying out scaled floor plan. It was arguably one of the most useful Mac applications that never made the transition to OS X. While the rest of us pined away at the loss, David Mattson got up and did something about it. The latest version of his reincarnation made its debut at Macworld 2009. EazyDraw 3.0 brings back many of the capabilities of Apple's original but leans more toward the technical rather than casual user. It has the ability to read and up-convert files in Claris Draw format and even import its libraries (if you can find a way to pull them off your old floppies). When the program starts up, the interface should be immediately familiar to anyone who has used virtually any Mac graphics program. There's a tool palette along the left, the drawing area at the center and the toolbar along the top, with a context-aware min-toolbar just below that's used to control the settings of whatever kind of object you have selected. At first blush, it's about as intuitive as interfaces get. However, go a bit further and you'll discover that the EazyDraw interface is quite unique. Much of this comes from the incredibly wide gamut of options the program provides, some elements more typically found in CAD applications, and a level of customization that goes far beyond most Mac applications. EazyDraw 3's greatest strength lies in its power and flexibility as a diagramming and technical illustration tool. It's one of the few Mac drawing programs that provides object libraries and includes a generous collection in the CD and boxed versions. For tasks like creating flow charts, org charts or schematic diagrams, EasyDraw provides you with a variety of flexible connectors that attach to and move with objects. The connectors can be made to jump over each other rather than intersect. It's often necessary to create labels for objects in technical illustrations and this is often a cumbersome task in more traditional graphics programs. In EazyDraw, labels are handled separately from standard text and are attached directly to objects and will always move with them. They can be precisely positioned and rotated as required. For illustrations like floor plans and simple blueprints, EazyDraw can attach scaled measurements to lines and shapes and even manage separate scaling properties for individual layers, but the process is far from easy. EazyDraw includes a comprehensive 312- page user guide and a well-integrated help system. Unfortunately, you will probably need to make extensive use of both. For example, a number of common commands and options on the contextual mini-toolbars are displayed as abbre- viations rather than icons or descriptive text. Even though customizing the main toolbar is fairly easy, you'll probably want to hold off on making changes in the Preferences menu until you've become quite familiar with the program. EazyDraw 3 is a mixed bag of extremely useful features combined with some fairly annoying interface elements. There's also a fairly steep learning curve when you want to take advantage of the program's more advanced features. With a base price of $99 (and only $20 for a nine- month trial), it's far less expensive than the other vector drawing applications that are available and if you want to take the time to learn its intricacies, it can be nearly as powerful. WORDS BY RIC GETTER Product EazyDraw 3.0 Made by Dekkora Optics, LLC Price $139 (boxed w/printed manual), $119 (CD), $95 (download) Pros Useful features for technical illustration; variety of import/export formats; ability to edit and save PDF files Cons Several ambiguous interface elements; Difficult to set preferences & defaults Rating HHHH

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