Microsoft PhotoDraw

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Microsoft PhotoDraw
Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 Icon.png
Microsoft PhotoDrawV2 Screenshot.png
A screenshot of PhotoDraw 2000 V2 running on Windows 95.
Developer(s) Microsoft
Stable release 2.0 / December 31, 1999
Development status Discontinued
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Vector graphics editor
License Proprietary
Website [1]

Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 is a discontinued vector graphics and raster imaging software package developed by Microsoft.


Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000[edit]

Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 was released in 1999 along with Microsoft Office 2000 Premium and Developer, but came separately on 2 CDs. It developed from the Picture It! 2.0 engine's .MIX format and expanded further into vector imaging technology. It required a separate installation from the main installer for the core Office suite, and was also released as a stand-alone product as part of Microsoft's Graphics Studio line of products (Greetings, etc.).

Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2[edit]

Microsoft released the subsequent version called Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 to General Availability on December 31, 1999.

PhotoDraw Release Vehicles[edit]

PhotoDraw 2000 shipped via these release vehicles

  • A standalone packaged product composed of 3 CDs.
  • As part of Office 2000 Premium (CD 3 and CD4)
  • As part of Office 2000 Developer (CD 3 and CD4)

PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 shipped via these release vehicles

  • A standalone packaged product composed of 3 CDs.
  • As part of Office 2000 Premium SR-1 (CD 3 and CD4)
  • As part of Office 2000 Developer SR-1 (CD 3 and CD4)

Relationship to the Office Suite[edit]

Both versions of PhotoDraw were branded "Microsoft Office Application," and considered a "member of the family," as were other Microsoft applications (most notably Publisher) at the time.


After PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 was released, Microsoft discontinued the program.

Purpose and features[edit]

PhotoDraw is a full-featured dual-type (vector and bitmap) graphics software application like Adobe Fireworks, developed for semiprofessional business use. It includes a vast library of clip-art, and a good collection of additional fonts.

As positioned mainly as an MS Office family companion and a business graphical solution suite, it was not useful enough for home users, who are more interested in manipulating digital pictures - which are bitmaps - than creating vector graphics. Microsoft has responded by bundling Windows Picture and Fax Viewer with Windows XP, developing Microsoft Picture It!, as well as creating Microsoft Office Picture Manager for Microsoft Office 2003 to expand on Microsoft Photo Editor. Furthermore, PhotoDraw was also not good enough to challenge Illustrator, the de facto standard for graphics professionals.

File Format Support[edit]

PhotoDraw's native file format is .MIX.

Photodraw can open files in these file formats:

Photodraw can save files in these file formats:

Changes in PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2[edit]

  • Improved performance and stability
  • New Batch Save Wizard
  • Setup based on the Windows Installer engine
  • Web effects
  • Improved integration with Office applications
  • Windows XP Compatibility
  • Larger collection of clip-art and fonts

Use of the .MIX file format[edit]

PhotoDraw's native file format is ".mix", a proprietary format developed by Microsoft. Only PhotoDraw can save and load its MIX files and retain the full ability to modify those files.

The MIME media-type for the MIX format is "image/vnd.mix" (IANA assignment for the MIX format)

Product Lifecycle for PhotoDraw 2000 V2[edit]

  • General Availability Date: 12/31/1999
  • Mainstream Support Retired: 6/30/2004
  • Extended Support Retired: 7/14/2009


PhotoDraw is no longer available for purchase from Microsoft.

Compatibility with newer versions of Microsoft Office[edit]

In addition to Office 2000, PhotoDraw works with later versions of Microsoft Office, up to at least version 2003. The early beta (and Beta2 Tech Refresh) versions of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite compromised the file handling and bitmap import/export filters of PhotoDraw, rendering it incapable of properly opening or saving files in any format other than its native .mix and the standard .bmp types. Saving in other formats resulted in distorted aspect ratio or errors. It also became impossible to copy and paste images between PowerPoint and PhotoDraw. Users reported these problems to Microsoft.

As of February 2007, the RTM version of Office 2007 seems to solve these problems. PhotoDraw once again works seamlessly with this build of Office, without the issues described above, apart from that objects copied from PowerPoint must be pasted as special EMF (enhanced metafile) in PhotoDraw, otherwise the latter won't recognize the content of the Clipboard. This fuels a new hope that PhotoDraw can be used with the final release of Office 2007.

Compatibility with newer versions of Microsoft Operating Systems[edit]

PhotoDraw 2000 V2 is currently known to work with the following Microsoft Windows O/S:

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • Windows XP
  • Windows XP Pro
  • Windows 7 Pro
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

External links[edit]