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Developer(s)Apple Computer, Claris
Initial release1984; 38 years ago (1984)
Written inPascal
Operating systemSystem Software 6, System 7
TypeVector-based drawing[1]

MacDraw was a vector graphic drawing application released along with the first Apple Macintosh systems in 1984. MacDraw was one of the first WYSIWYG drawing programs that could be used in collaboration with MacWrite. MacDraw was useful for drawing technical diagrams and floorplans. It was eventually adapted by Claris and, in the early 1990s, MacDraw Pro was released with color support. MacDraw was the vector cousin of MacPaint.

In the preface of the third edition of Introduction to Algorithms, the authors make an emphatic plea for the creation of an OS X-compatible version of MacDraw Pro.[2]

Early versions[edit]

MacDraw was based on Apple's earlier program, LisaDraw, which was developed for the Apple Lisa computer which was released in 1983. LisaDraw and MacDraw were developed by the same person, Mark Cutter.

The first version of MacDraw was similar to that of MacPaint, featuring both the same tools and patterns. However MacDraw was vector-based, meaning that an object's properties and placement can be changed at any time. MacDraw included features for printing and also integrated into MacWrite via cut-and-paste. MacDraw was more advanced than MacPaint, featuring a grid and the ability to change the drawing dimensions. However MacDraw lacked support for using more than one document at a time, and also lacked zooming capabilities. MacDraw was especially useful in drawing flowcharts, diagrams and technical drawings.

Later incarnations[edit]

MacDraw II (1988) was a complete rewrite of the original MacDraw. It was developed at Apple by project leader Gerard Schuten and team members Amy Goldsmith and Marjory Kaptanoglu, and was released by Claris. MacDraw II introduced color and many other missing features and was also enhanced for the Macintosh II. MacDraw eventually evolved into MacDraw Pro (1991) and ultimately ClarisDraw (1993). The final version of ClarisDraw was 1.0v4 (1994). It ran without difficulties on PPC-based Macs under the Classic OS until the arrival of the Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) operating system, which dropped support for the Classic OS.

Dekorra Optics have a version of their EazyDraw software, EazyDraw Retro, that can open documents produced by the various incarnations of MacDraw, including ClarisDraw.[3] Later versions of Libreoffice support MacDraw files as well, but only if the file type 'Legacy Mac Drawing' is manually selected.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Doyle, Susan; Grove, Jaleen; Sherman, Whitney, eds. (2019). History of Illustration. Fairchild Books (Bloomsbury Publishing). p. 534. ISBN 978-1-5013-4211-0.
  2. ^ Cormen, Thomas H.; Leiserson, Charles E.; Rivest, Ronald L.; Stein, Clifford (2009). Introduction to Algorithms, Third Edition. 3rd ed. MIT Press. p. xviii. ISBN 978-0-262-03384-8.
  3. ^ "EazyDraw Support". EazyDraw. Dekorra Optics LLC enterprise. Retrieved March 9, 2020.