I have some old Freehand files (versions 9 and 11). I remember that in the past I could open them with Illustrator CS4 and then I could open that CS4 with Illustrator CS6. I remember I could not open directly with CS6.

Now, June 2017 I do not have the computer with the Illustrator CS4. My question is if I pay the Adobe Creative Cloud will I be able to have the Illustrator CS4? Is there now any other way to open Freehand files.

  • 2
    I keep an old laptop I picked up for $30 loaded with old software just for stuff like this.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


The Internet Archive has an old version of Macromedia Freehand (free to use).


It looks like a PC formatted executable. You will need to download all the files and then run the installer.

  • It seems like it is only for pc. Is that right? I only have macs.
    – Nrc
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 7:46
  • There's a link at the bottom to a different version, donated by Tucows, which seems to be a Mac version (though whether it will run on a new Mac is doubtful—it'll probably be PPC-only). Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 10:48

I took a quick look on Illustrator and the format is not there in the open menu.

You can Download Corel free for 30 days, and most likely you can open it there. I have now the X7 version and it is still there.

To add the specific filter go to

Tools>Options>Global>Filters>Vector formats and install the FH one.


There is a Freehand plugin for Illustrator (not free) from Tensai which can apparently do it - I have never used it so I can't verify, but here's the link anyway. tensai.co.uk/ai/download.php

As to your other question. No, Illustrator CC does not give you access to the CS4 version.

If you already have Illustrator CS4, installing CC will not delete or affect the software you already own and have installed.


There are a few ways around your problem. As others have noted you can try to open the files up in CorelDRAW, which has some chance of opening your file correctly even if you had effects. You can also try using Inkscape which I had success opening very simple and basic files from Freehand MX. Unfortunately I lost proper CMYK support on those files.

Affinity Designer from Serif has a vector editor that works on both Mac and Windows that also has Freehand support, it's a relatively new tool set, so give it a spin (But you will lost all the text in document unless you convert it to path). My money is on CorelDRAW being the solution you looking for.

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