Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Software Bleg

Does anyone know of a Mac OS application that acts like graph paper? I don't need a full drafting or design application, just the ability to define a grid size and draw shapes that snap to it. Seems like something that ought to be readily available, but I can't seem to find something basic (and preferably freeware or shareware).


Big Tex said...

something like Visio?

Rebekka said...

I usually use Adobe but that is about as far from free/share as possible.

Have you tried looking here?: It'll probably take a bunch of experimenting to find out if they have what you're looking for, unless someone else has a tip.

Anonymous said...

What type of shapes do you want to snap to the grid, and what other behavior do you want from it? What are you trying to do with it?

I sounds like an interesting program, and I'm teaching myself cocoa, so I may take a stab at it.

Anonymous said...

How about "grapher" under utilities, under applications?

Darwin said...


I'm ashamed to admit: I'm enough of a marketing guy I've only ever used Visio for making org charts. (And that rarely. I basically spend my whole day in Excel, Access and PowerPoint.) Maybe I need to download that on the work PC and take a look.


Hmm. That graphing utility is massively cool. (I'm wondering what I could do putting some of my price elasticity data through there and animating market dynamics -- I've always thought executives would respond well to a more cartoon like illustration.) I think I want something I can just draw on for this, though.


The question basically stemmed from frustration this morning as I was trying to draw out the number of 8' landscapping beams in my raised bed and see what the optimal spacing of rebar stakes would be. But I'm something of a graph paper addict. I keep a secret stash where the kids can't get at it and I'm always pulling it out when working on house or yard project for things like figuring out the right spacing for shelfs on a bookcase I'm making, or how to lay out the garden given the spacing each kind of plant is supposed to have, etc.

It seems to me you could do almost anything if you had rectangles and lines (with the ability to draw a line between any two intersections on the grid), points, and perhaps a couple little shapes for marking things like stakes or plants or what have you. Maybe also circles with the center on an intersection and the radius on another intersection.

Since what I'm envisioning is basically just a sheet of graph paper that I can easily move things on and which can be as big as I want it, I'm not sure I can necessarily think of any other feature. Except possibly the ability to define a major and minor grid. (Like, say, square feed divided into square inches.)

It's the sort of thing that seems like a no brainer, but maybe it's that most people would use full-blown design software and I'm enough of a hobbyist to not want to lay out that much more when I'm already chronically over budget on these kinds of endeavors anyway.

Tom Simon said...

You might give this a try and see if it suits you. It's a free download from Apple's website:

Drawberry 0.8

RL said...

Visio will work great. Swing by my desk when you get a chance and I'll give you a quick 1, 2, 3 on it.

Up until a couple years ago I used a version of Visio from 1995 to do everything from drawing ladder diagrams to panel control layouts to floor plans (including furniture sizes and positions) - and even landscaping designs!

Anonymous said...

I hear your love of graph paper. I use this custom graph paper generator to print my own:

It will give you PDFs of every kind of graph paper you can imagine, and some you can't, to your specs.