Apple's Freeform: 21 Tips and Tricks

Here are some techniques to take your Freeform boards to the next level. Learn how to add backgrounds, create connection lines, import charts, use clipart, add audio and so much more.

Comments: 18 Responses to “Apple's Freeform: 21 Tips and Tricks”

    Ken Steingart
    1 year ago

    Hi. I have Ventura 13.1 and I can not find this app anywhere How can I find it?

    1 year ago

    Ken: Check to make sure you have 13.1 and not 13.0.1. If you have 13.1, then use LaunchPad or Spotlight to search for it.

    Reidar Kvam
    1 year ago

    Thanks for an excellent overview of some of Freeform’s features. I am missing one feature: The ability to annotate a PDF file directly. Ideally I would like to have the drawing tools available when ‘viewing’ the whole PDF file, where different pages are visible, so I can go page by page and use a highlighter and annotations for the whole document. Is such PDF annotation possible?

    1 year ago

    Reidar: You do that in the Preview app. It is one of its main functions. See https://macmost.com/the-mac-preview-pdf-markup-tools.html

    Reidar Kvam
    1 year ago

    Gary, thanks for the response regarding preview annotation. I am trying to do this with the pencil on the iPad, and the Markup function does not appear as an option when previewing a PDF document. There is an option to open the document in a PDF editor, but annotations made there do not save back to Freeform. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1 year ago

    Reidar: Preview is an app for the Mac, sorry. You didn't mention you were on an iPad. On an iPad you should be able to open up a PDF from the Files app and then tap the markup button on the top. This is completely separate from Freeform. Freeform is not a PDF markup app.

    Reidar Kvam
    1 year ago

    Thanks, Gary. I had hoped there might be something similar to Muse’s ability to open a PDF file and do basic annotation in it. I have found a work-around, so all is well. Appreciate the excellent tutorials!

    Louise Kienast
    1 year ago

    After playing with Freeform it struck me that this was a great way to organize an online lesson using various types of media. I could have a collection of materials at my finger tips to instantly open and use. I could send a Pages file to be opened in Pages and demonstrate how to use Pages. I could send pdf files to PDF Expert and use the Table of Contents there which is especially beautifully designed. I could invite students to the board. Thanks Gary for giving me even more things to try.

    KANNAN DURAIMANICKAM
    1 year ago

    Freeform app is not available for imac with Ventura 13.1. Confirmed with Apple Support. But it is said everywhere as available for mac. Why is this confusion..?

    1 year ago

    Kannan: It is definitely on your Mac when you have macOS 13.1. Perhaps you have 13.0.1 instead and haven't updated. Double-check.

    Henry
    1 year ago

    Wow what a rapid and comprehensive overview of Freeform! Thank you very much Gary for sharing your expertise and Happy 2023 to you and yours.

    Peter Grech
    1 year ago

    Gary, on my Mac Pro I'm using wacom tablet and pen. Is there a way to use it with "Freeform"????

    1 year ago

    Peter: I'm sure you can use it as a pointing tool, right? Instead of a mouse or trackpad? But the thing is that Freeform for Mac simply does not have the drawing tool that is in the iPad and iPhone app. It isn't like your tablet isn't supported, it is just that there is no set of tools there to draw with. Maybe something Apple can add in the future. But it would only be for the cross-section of people who use Mac with a Wacom and don't use and iPad or iPhone. So a pretty small group.

    David Taylor
    9 months ago

    Gary, I’m having a ton of fun with this app. Using its limitations to create what I call abstract expressionist designs. Your tutorials helped me get past an issue. I’m sure to come back to it in the future. Thanks

    Donna
    6 months ago

    I would like to be able to export a graphic (designed within freeform) as a photo, and as a sticker. The only workaround i figured was to take a screenshot of my finished board and then crop it, but it still couldn’t be saved as a sticker. Also, I created a logo but whited out (using a white box) part of the image because it stuck out beyond the boundaries of my logo. I would like to select my logo, excluding the portion I whited out. How do I do this?

    6 months ago

    Donna: First, I would export from Freeform as a PDF. Then open the PDF in Preview. Then you can export from there as a PNG or jpeg image. That would be the best way to get an image. Converting that to a Sticker is touch because it depends on the image. Right now you can only use the "Lift Subject" function in macOS to view a photo and convert the subject of that photo to a sticker. How well that works depends on what your image is.

    Donna
    6 months ago

    Hi Gary, I guess Preview isn’t available for the 6th generation ipad?

    6 months ago

    Donna: I didn't know you were on an iPad, not a Mac. Preview is a Mac app. It sounds like you really are looking for an image editing app for your iPad. If you don't have one already, get something like Pixelmator Pro. This will allow you to open PDFs and export them as images.

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