Is there a current successor to MacDraw?

I’m old enough to remember MacDraw, which was simultaneously a very useful, if simple, graphic drawing program, for diagrams and such (not photos or complex images) and a demonstration of the fundamentals of the Mac’s way with vector drawing. Long gone, obviously, but not really replaced in the Mac software repertoire. Sure, there are CAD programs - complex and expensive, and many complex apps related to commercial illustration and architectural drawing, but the only program I know about that aspired to the kind of simplicity I still wish for was Graphic, an app still sold in the Mac App Store, but in fact no longer being developed (I’ve just had that confirmed). Amazingly it still seems to work under Ventura, but it’s doomed.

I’m kind of hoping I’ve missed it, but has anyone any recommendations for the kind of software that I’m asking about?

The closest I have found is EazyDraw by Dekorra Optics EazyDraw What's New which has a new version out for Ventura. I used it for simple line art for use in my books and articles and like it a lot.

I can think of two off the top of my head, which may or may not fulfill your requirements:

  • The new Freeform application, included in macOS Ventura (13.1)
  • The application MyDraw, still being actively developed.

I was looking for a replacement for Graphic awhile back as well. One app I ran across is Vectornator. The reviews at the time suggested it was promising but buggy. I also ended up buying Affinity Designer, which is overkill for my needs. But I’ve been procrastinating and still use Graphic, so I haven’t really learned how to use either app.

Thanks for these quick replies! I think that EazyDraw looks more like a replacement for MacDraw than the others suggested. Freeform is advertised as a cooperation tool, and none of Apple’s illustrations show anything like a vector diagram, not even a simple box, as far as I can see. Similarly, Vectornator’s examples are all commercial drawings, not diagrams or simple shapes, so there’s a danger of overkill from my point of view, Obviously I need to explore a lot more. But I feel a bit encouraged by these replies!

Here’s one that I’ve never used. But I never used MacDraw either. (I did occasionally use ClarisWorks/AppleWorks back in the classic era.) So I don’t know whether this is anything like what you are looking for.

I find Pages (using the “page layout” document type) and Keynote are both great for the simple diagraming that MacDraw/ClarisWorks/AppleWorks provided. They have all the basic tools built in, as well as the necessary arranging, grouping, and aligning options. And the ability to snap to edges or centre lines.

I’ve used EazyDraw, but I’ve stopped because they switched to a de-facto subscription pricing model.

They used to have a really cool system - charging full price for the latest versions, and lower prices for older versions (all of which were in the App Store). So you could save money by not buying features you don’t need. And I did that. I paid $5 for version 3 (when the latest was version 7 or 8), which covered the basics I required.

But at some point, they did away with all that. They changed the version in the App Store and one day (after an upgrade), I had the latest version and it was asking me for a subscription (via in-app purchase). And the prices are not cheap: $5/mo, $35/yr or $95 for what I assume to be unlimited (until they release an upgrade that forces another payment, I assume).

Today, when I need vector-drawing, I either use Microsoft PowerPoint or LibreOffice Draw.

PowerPoint has a very robust set of drawing tools, but everything you draw is relative to a slide (whether for on-screen or as a part of printed hand-outs). It is difficult, however, to draw an object that will print at a specific size, since everything is relative to a presentation’s slide-size.

LibreOffice Draw works very well, but its UI is a bit klunky. It takes some time to get used to how they do certain things. But it does appear to be very capable.

I was going to recommend OmniGraffle, but they’re raised the price quite a bit in recent years ($150 now), so that may not be worth it unless you have serious use for it.

Growly Draw looks more like MacPaint than MacDraw.

I’ve been using LibreOffice for years, but never considered the Draw module - that looks interesting; I’ll have to check it out.

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Check out Canvas X Draw | All-in-one Digital Drawing Software | Canvas GFX
Another engineer and I have been using Canvas on OS X and macOS for decades. Technical documentation for a mass spectrometer, currently on Mars, used Canvas X Draw to combine schematics, mechanical drawings, images, and text. I think of it a MacDraw on steroids. It handles reading, editing, and writing an astonishing variety of formats.

Thanks. Looks great, i.e. extremely capable (Mars, already!), perhaps too capable for my simple needs. I have to say that the subscription model is a bit of a put-off. I see there is an alternative of a one-off purchase but it’s the equivalent of 5 years of subscriptions. I may opt for the free trial.

More generally, it’s good to get such various replies. I will do my best to try out several solutions.

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Oh, wow…I thought they’d gone under. Weren’t they off the market for a while? I was an avid Canvas user 20 years ago. Good to see they’re back/still around!

One of the great benefits of Graphic (which I still use in Ventura) is that it has (for now!) an iOS version (that also still works)… Any recommendations for graphics programs similar to Graphic that have both iOS and Mac versions so one can work in both domains?

I suspect that the very popular Canva webapp has decimated the market for this kind of drawing program. :(

Pages (or Keynote) :grin:

I hadn’t heard of Canva. I see that there’s free version and subscription-based Pro version. The free version is worth a try, I suppose, but my usage is so intermittent that I wouldn’t want to enter a subscription scheme at this stage. My track record with subscriptions is poor, in that I forget to cancel them. I suspect I’m not the only one.

I just took a closer look at this feature of Pages. It does look quite like MacDraw really, and I have used it from time to time in a very simple way. I note that you can create a graphic made of several vector components, group it, copy it and paste it into another app. I’m not sure if it arrives as a bitmap or a vector - I suspect that depends on the app. For example if you paste into Preview, it’s a PNG. So there are issues like, what if you want to maintain a high resolution? This would be guaranteed in a vector image, but obviously not in a bitmap. I’ll look a bit harder.

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Yes, I’ve not played around with exporting, and it’s surprising that pasting into Preview doesn’t create a PDF. One thing to consider trying is to use Keynote. It has the same tools, but the canvas is based on a customisable pixel size, so might be better for creating images/diagrams for export. Size your slide appropriately and then use the vector tools to create a diagram that fills the slide (I think you can adjust the slide size at any time). Then export the slide as a PDF. You could of course have a document with several diagrams on different slides.

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Another vote for OmniGraffle. I’ve used it for years to do schematics used in academic papers or for lecture slides. Excellent app that sees frequent updates. No subscription required.

It’s probably overkill compared to the more simple MacDraw. I admit I rarely use it for more than stuff I probably could have done in MacDraw and yet I never feel like its complexity is getting in the way of my productivity. In that sense, it’s the exact opposite of MS Office for me. It’s just a really excellently made app.

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Have you considered online tools? I have been using the free draw.io (diagrams.net) for years to do simple diagramming like network diagrams, flowcharts and swimlanes. I’m sure that if one draws diagrams on a daily basis, one requires OmniGraffle (which also handles Visio files quite well) or the like. Me as the once-in-a-blue-moon diagrammer, I cannot justify neither the price nor the learning curve for that extra level of sophistication and UI satisfaction (draw.io is not very Mac-like in that respect).

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