We recently released Freehand as part of the InVision platform, and we’ve been downright amazed by the fantastic work and creative ideas you’ve explored with it.
From wireframes to illustrations, marketing matrixes to hand-drawn profiles (yes, really), we’ve loved seeing the unique and inventive ways the design community (and our own team) has used this multi-faceted tool.
Getting started with Freehand can seem a bit intimidating at first—as a non-designer myself, anything other than “type” can be daunting!—but once you know a few tricks, using Freehand feels intuitive and easy. Here’s how to get there.
Creating your first Freehand
There are a few ways you can create your first Freehand. The easiest way is to simply click the “+” button inside InVision and select Freehand. Save it as a draft, and it’ll be added to your projects for easy access later.
If you’re working in Sketch or Photoshop, you can spin up a Freehand right from your design environment with the Freehand plugin from Craft. Lastly, if you have the InVision for Slack app, just type /freehand into any channel to generate a brand new Freehand document.
Key tools and shortcuts
For every tool in Freehand, you’ll find a corresponding hotkey on your keyboard to keep your ideas flowing quickly and smoothly.
Select each one of the tools using 1-5 on your keyboard, or the letter shortcut shown on your screen. Let’s run through them now!
The pencil tool: Draw freely on the infinite Freehand canvas with the pencil tool. It’ll smooth out your lines to make your sketches look a little nicer, too. And, if you hold down the alt or option key and draw a rectangle or circle, it’ll trigger smart shape detection and create a uniform shape. Or, just draw diagonally to create a super quick rectangle, too.
The text tool: Type anywhere using the text tool, and simply press shift+enter to break to a second (or third, or fourth) line.
The image tool: To load images from your computer, select the image tool, then choose an image from desktop. You can also just drag items right into your browser, or copy and paste layers, groups, and artboards from Sketch or Photoshop.
The erase tool: The erase tool will erase the entire path of anything you’ve drawn with your pencil too, but nothing else. For more ways to clear your canvas, click the ellipsis button to reveal a number of clearing options.
The select tool: Use this tool to move, scale, and even duplicate items by holding down the alt/option key, clicking, and dragging.
Collaborating in real time
One of the biggest benefits of Freehand is its ability to bring in multiple collaborators to explore ideas in real time. Click the share button, copy the link, and invite others to start working with you.
Want to walk through your ideas with your team? Enter presentation mode by clicking the play icon next to your avatar, and everyone’s screens will automatically begin following you. If you’d like to switch to following another collaborator, just click on their avatar to follow along.
And that’s just about it! If you need any help with any of these tips, just click the help icon in the bottom corner of your screen for a refresher. And remember, Freehand works on any device, so just load it up on your phone or tablet and start exploring!
Now that you’re ready to use Freehand, we want to see what you can do with it! Share your Freehands on social media with #InVisionFreehand for a chance to win some stellar swag!
Kayleigh got her start as a news reporter, and she still considers that time she wrote the entire paper among her greatest achievements.