RISC World

DrawWorks Revealed

Aaron Timbrell continues his series on DrawWorks.

DrawWorks Third Millennium

As many of you will be aware a new version of DrawWorks has just been launched. Since the most common question seems to be "what's new?" I thought I would take this opportunity to explain.

To summarise the main new features are shown below

  • Compatible with future versions of RISC OS.
  • Works on all versions of RISC OS from 3.1 onwards.
  • Faster than any previous Millennium version of DrawWorks.
  • Over 50% less processor load than any previous version.
  • Double click an EPS file and it loads into Draw.
  • Autoscroll or manual scroll toolbars.
  • Autoscroll toolbars now move much faster.
  • All features now work with !DrawDA.
  • New microbar with commonly used features.
  • Line width, colour, rotate and scale options always available.
  • Font and pt size menus always available.

New Tools

  • Export as SVG option.
  • Export as PDF option (using GhostScript).
  • Writable options for start cap and end cap menus.
  • Nudge buttons for start and end cap triangle options.
  • Freehand drawing mode.
  • DWDistort tool to distort objects visually by dragging.
  • Extract the text from text objects automatically.
  • Export all text objects from a drawfile in one text file.
  • Text Area control tool including font and point size.
  • Change the number of columns in a text area easily and quickly.
  • Set margins, line spacing and paragraph spacing for text areas.

Improvements to existing features

  • Export GIF with NetSafe colour palette.
  • New moulds for the path moulder.
  • Improved EPS output.
  • Shadow tool auto groups all soft shadow layers.
  • Start cap and end cap menus tick to show current selection.
  • JPEG export tool improved.
  • Re-designed preferences window.

So that seems like a few useful improvements, well at least I think they are useful. A great deal of changes have gone on under the surface of DrawWorks. These have helped make it work quicker and also make it more compatible. The previous version of DrawWorks would only work on RISC OS 3.6 or later. This version will work on RISC OS 3.1 or later. As with previous versions a lot of the more obvious changes have been motivated by customer requests.

The Microbar

This is a new toolbar which floats over the !Draw window being worked on. This allows quick access to the most commonly needed features regardless of which main DrawWorks toolbar is being used.

The DrawWorks Microbar

Line width, fill colour, line colour, font and point size are among the features available on this new toolbar. Also included are the "nudge" buttons found in DrawWorks New Millennium.

DW Distort

This new tool allows you to distort and object by dragging handles. Although all versions of DrawWorks include the DrawTrix tool many users have wanted to be able to distort objects visually. Any object in the DW Distort window can be moved using the Adjust button, and be distorted by dragging the red handles using the Select button.

DrawWorks Distort in action

Freehand drawing

DrawWorks Third Millennium also includes a free hand drawing tool. Simply hold down ALT and F on the keyboard with a curved line style selected from the !Draw toolbar and you can draw freehand directly into the !Draw window.

Freehand drawing

This has been one of the most requested features throughout the life of DrawWorks and makes hand drawn illustrations a doddle. One tip when using freehand drawing is to zoom in when drawing and zoom out when you have finished. This makes it much easier to do complex designs.

TextArea tool

DrawWorks has always been able to handle text areas but until now it wasn't easy to change the font in a text area, or alter the line spacing, paragraph spacing, or indeed the number of columns a text area occupied. This new tool allows a user to do all this and more and adds a useful DTP like facility to DrawWorks.

Textarea tool

Other new tools

The new DrawWorks also offers other new tools, such as the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) exporter and the PDF exporter (which uses GhostScript). Other enhancements that have been requested by customers include writable sizes for start and end cap arrows as well as nudge buttons that allow arrow sizes to be changed visually. The old problem of slow scrolling toolbars has been addressed by allowing users to have either auto scroll or manual scrolling toolbars.


For the first time users of !DrawDA (Draw Dynamic Area) can use DrawWorks properly. DrawDA was released by RISC OS Ltd to allow users to make larger files, and will be included in the new RISC OS 4.5 Select scheme. Older versions of DrawWorks will not work on operating system versions higher than 4.03, but DrawWorks Third Millennium will. DrawWorks Third Millennium is currently only available to owners of DrawWorks Millennium or DrawWorks New Millennium and is supplied as an upgrade CD costing £11.50 for UK customers and £13.50 outside the UK.

That is it for this whistle stop tour of the new DrawWorks, more details can be found on the iSV Products website.

Aaron Timbrell