Canvas X

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Canvas X
Canvas X.jpg
Developer(s) ACD Systems
Initial release November 1987; 28 years ago (1987-11)
Stable release X Pro 16 / November 26, 2014; 11 months ago (2014-11-26)[1]
Operating system Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
Platform x64
Available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese
Type Computer-aided design
License Trialware

Canvas X (formerly Canvas) is a drawing, imaging, and publishing computer program from ACD Systems for personal computers.


Canvas' origins date back to 1987. The original idea for Canvas came from Jorge Miranda, one of the founders of Deneba Systems Inc. of Miami Florida, for Apple's Macintosh computers—part of the wave of programs that made the desktop publishing revolution.

The first version was unique in many ways; not least because it was released as both an application and a desk accessory. In the latter form, it could be used while another program, e.g. PageMaker, was running simultaneously; very handy in that time of single program operation.

Canvas provides tools for creating and editing vector and raster graphics. It is used for illustration, page layout, animation, presentations, and publications in printed and World Wide Web formats.

From its inception, Canvas differed from other graphics applications because it combined tools and file formats for both vector (line art) graphics, and raster (photographic and other pixel-based) images, along with word-processing and page-layout features such as multiple page documents and master pages.[2] The user works in a window which is the familiar "page on a pasteboard" analog used by many DTP and vector graphics programs, but in that window, which might be a single illustration page or one page of a multi-page magazine, book, web site, animation or presentation, the user can create or edit and layout text, vector graphics and raster images. Canvas also emphasized technical drawing in addition to artistic illustration features.

With Version 3.5, Deneba went cross-platform, releasing a version with file-format compatibility for Macintosh and Windows computers. At Version 5, Canvas was completely rewritten for both platforms, and included a QuickDraw palette for creating 3D primitives and renderings.[3] Version 7 of the software saw an internal extrusion engine being used instead of QuickDraw.[3]

At version 8, it was the first of the complex graphics programs to be "Carbonized" to run on both Classic and Mac OS X. With the introduction of Canvas 11, support for the Macintosh platform was dropped, making the application Windows-only.

In April 2003, Deneba Systems was acquired by ACD Systems of Victoria, BC, Canada, the developers of Windows image editing and handling software such as ACDSee, before the release of version 9. Canvas development has continued under the guise of ACD Systems of America in Miami.

Canvas is available in a standard and extended version. The once-optional Scientific Imaging module is now integrated into Canvas and provides enhanced input-output filters for file formats commonly used in science and engineering visualization. The geographic information system (GIS) module provides tools for use in mapping and GIS-based data analysis.

While Canvas started out as a prosumer program in the general graphics/DTP market, and continues to be the first (even only) tool of many professionals in such fields as graphics design, advertising, marketing, and DTP, it is less known in the consumer/prosumer market today than programs marketed by larger companies, such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and CorelDRAW. It has been better known in academic and commercial enterprises.

STOP THE PRESS. CANVAS FOR MAC. Sign up to receive important updates and information on products from our upcoming product line: Canvas Draw for Mac and Canvas X 16 for Mac:

CANVAS DRAW FOR MAC. Create professional-looking graphical outputs with dynamic image and transparency effects along with symbols, layers, and a host of other productivity-driven tools. Print or export a variety of file formats, including PDF, for easy sharing. Available for your business in August 2015.

CANVAS X 16 FOR MAC. An array of features and technical tools allow users to work with a high level of precision. Import and export a large array of technical formats, including AutoCAD, CGM, etc. Easily view and distribute final work. Available for your business in late 2015.


UPDATE: Canvas Draw 1.0 released: Press Release | Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:49pm EDT ACD Systems Re-Enters the Technical Drawing Industry on Mac OS X A New Application Release Providing a Universal Graphics Tool in the Form of an Industry Favorite SEATTLE, WA and VICTORIA, BC--(Marketwired - Aug 13, 2015) - Today ACD Systems International Inc. releases the first iteration of their new Mac technical drawing software, Canvas Draw for Mac. Canvas Draw for Mac is a powerful software specifically designed to make it possible for small business owners, designers, illustrators, and professionals to advertise and communicate with confidence. This product is the first of two major new releases of ACD Systems' Canvas X software on the Mac platform.

Version history[edit]

  • Canvas 1.0 (Macintosh)
  • Canvas 2.0 (Macintosh)
  • Canvas 3.0 (Macintosh) – 1990
  • Canvas 3.5 (Macintosh and Windows) – 1992
  • Canvas 5 (Macintosh and Windows) – 1996
  • Canvas 6 (Macintosh and Windows) – 1998
  • Canvas 7 (Macintosh and Windows) – 1999
  • Canvas 8 (Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Windows) – 2001
  • Canvas 9 (Mac OS X and Windows) – 2003
  • Canvas X (Mac OS X and Windows) – 2005
  • Canvas 11 (Windows Vista) – 2007
  • Canvas 12 (Windows XP, Vista, 7) – 2010
  • Canvas 14 (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8)
  • Canvas 15 (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8) – 19 November 2013


  1. ^ "ACD Systems Announces First Product to Integrate Technical and Creative Publication Features". ACD Systems Blog. Seattle, Washington: ACD Systems. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Transparent Publishing With Deneba's Canvas 6". PC World. 31 December 1998. 
  3. ^ a b Ben Long (1 March 2000). "Deneba Software Deneba Canvas 7.0". MacWorld (IDG). p. 32. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 

External links[edit]