Are you tired of losing track of your brilliant ideas despite sticky notes cluttering your space?
Even though the old-school way of doing things has a special charm, there comes a time when switching to the modern solution seems like the best idea.
If you often find yourself among the mess of scattered ideas on multiple notebooks, you’ll love that Freeform is now available on Mac.
It’s a complete game-changer to help you effectively organize and visually lay out your thoughts and ideas. On top of that, it’s completely free to use.
Let’s learn more about it.
Introduction to Freeform
First things first, what exactly is Freeform? It’s a brainstorming and collaboration app for Apple devices that helps you store your ideas in a meaningful manner.
The best explanation for this is that Freeform is a magical canvas where you can capture your wildest ideas, organize your thoughts effortlessly, and unleash your creativity without boundaries.
It’s almost like this app is your playground where you can brainstorm, plan, and create most effectively. It’s a virtual thinking place that compliments your brain and shares the load in a way that carries a lot of benefits.
You don’t have to worry about any templates or page sizes, as you have a plain infinite whiteboard sheet to work on. You can stretch it as much as you want and insert any kind of elements, including:
You can also draw whatever you want using the built-in brushes, change colors, add handwriting and sketches, and so much more. You can customize each element to your preferred color, size, and orientation.
Tip💡: Freeform integrates seamlessly with Apple Pencil, so you can use it to your benefit if you have an iPad to draw on.
The canvas comes with alignment guides to help you keep all the elements organized. This is one of my favorite features of Freeform, and it’s also criminally underrated.
The fact that you can position all your elements symmetrically is really pleasing to the eye and ensures you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the clutter.
You can drag and drop any content from Finder or any folder on your system to your boards. After you’ve added or created the elements, you can lock some or all of them to prevent moving them accidentally.
Freeform is excellent for collaboration, allowing you to invite others to your board and work on it together. In fact, it allows up to 100 users to join a single board, making it perfect for group projects, whether for professional or personal purposes.
One of the best collaboration features of this app is the built-in FaceTime option. You can start a FaceTime call with your board and discuss important details. All members can see each other’s collaboration activities within the board, including new additions and edits.
And as is the case with all apps by Apple, every new activity is synced in real-time via iCloud to all the connected devices.
Whether you have a genius idea for a new business or an unbeatable meal plan for your fitness journey, Freeform will allow you to bring them to life in a visually-stunning and intuitive manner.
Say goodbye 👋 to all the scribbling on random pieces of paper.
Benefits of Using Freeform
Since Freeform is made to help you capture all the brilliant ideas swirling around in your mind, it’s packed with plenty of benefits. As a user, you can enjoy benefits like:
#1. Rise Above the Limitations of Traditional Note-taking Apps ✍️
Probably the greatest benefit of using Freeform, you can break free from the limitations of traditional note-taking apps and rise above them.
Once you start using this app, you’ll say goodbye to linear lists and structured outlines because you’ll be able to give wings to your ideas and allow them to flow freely across the digital canvas.
You get to decide what you do with your boards, and there are no limitations to what you can achieve with them.
Whether it’s about jotting down your thoughts, drawing mind maps, creating diagrams, writing a script, or just scribbling on the whiteboard, you can do all of that rather effectively.
Using a digital brainstorming solution like Freeform helps you stay organized by keeping all your boards accessible in one place. You can effortlessly rearrange the content within your canvas and line them up accurately using alignment guides.
Moreover, it allows you to:
Link related ideas
Group your notes
Create multiple boards for different categories
You can create a visual hierarchy that reflects the relationship between different concepts and topics. It’s a worthy app to ditch your paper notes and keep your brainstorming sessions tidy, helping you search and retrieve information whenever needed.
#3. Enjoy Versatility that Helps in Different Purposes 🎬
Freeform can be used for various purposes, from something simple like writing notes to make a full-blown business plan or a film storyboard. It supports different types of brushes, pens, colors, shapes, and other elements to experiment and express your thoughts and ideas in unique ways.
Additionally, you can switch between different styles and mediums in just a few steps. Freeform is suitable for all purposes, whether you’re a student, a working professional, or a business owner.
#4. Integrate it with Other Apple Devices 📱
Being able to integrate an app from Apple with other devices within the ecosystem is a benefit that is no stranger to the users. This is one of my favorite perks of Apple devices because it’s so useful.
You can easily export and share your canvas via Messages, draw something on your iPad and have it appear on your Mac instantly, click a picture with your iPhone and insert it on your whiteboard, and so much more.
It also makes it incredibly easy to continue working on your boards while you’re on the go. As Freeform syncs via iCloud, you can access the same data across different devices.
#5. Make Group Projects More Productive 👥
You can share the content of your boards with others seamlessly and even invite them to collaborate. Invitations can be sent via email, messaging apps, or other mediums.
This allows real-time brainstorming to supercharge your productivity and achieve more in less time. It’s ideal for group study sessions, projects, and other purposes.
Users can bounce ideas off each other, add notes, create sketches, start Facetime calls, and witness the magic of collective creativity unfold.
If you just want to export the boards instead of adding collaborators, you can do that by exporting your canvases as PDFs, images, or presentations. This feature is great when you have to present in a class, meeting, or at home to your potential client.
#6. Act Upon Your Ideas Instantly 🌟
Freeform is very much suitable for people with an eye for creativity. If you wander into blank walls and get the best ideas, it’s wise to jot them down as soon as possible.
With Freeform, you get a space to collect and curate them as they come to your mind. You can create dedicated canvases for different ideas and fill them up with text and many visual elements to help unleash your creativity.
Whenever you need to put those ideas into action or just need a burst of inspiration, you can refer back to your curated collection within the app and take it forward from there.
Compatibility of Freeform
If you’ve been hearing a lot about Freeform from iPad users but never got a first-hand experience of it, you’ll be happy to know that the app has broken free from its iPad shackles and is now available on other Apple devices as well.
It’s completely free to use and is compatible with the following:
iPhone running iOS 16.2 or later
iPadOS running 16.2 or later
MacOS running Ventura 13.1 or later
You can also use Apple Pencil with Freeform if you have an iPad.
How to Use Freeform
You might know by now that you can do many different things with Freeform. You can plan your next trip, create a storyboard, design a seating plan, and more. Let’s learn in-depth about how to use it.
Before we begin, you need to know that there’s no way to download Freeform on Mac. The only way you can get it is by updating your Mac. As soon as you update your system to MacOS Ventura 13.1 or later, the app will be automatically installed, and you’ll find it on the Launchpad.
Start by opening the Freeform app from Launchpad.
On the left, you’ll see four tabs.
All Boards: Displays all of your boards in one place
Recents: Displays only the recently-created boards
Shared: Displays boards that you’ve shared with others
Favorites: Displays boards that you’ve “favorited”
In order to create a new board, go to All Boards and click on this icon.
You’ll see a plain canvas open. This is where all of your work will be done.
On the top, you’ll see a toolbar with five tools for different purposes.
By using them, you can:
Add sticky notes
Use the pen tool
Add text box
Add a file
Depending upon your requirement, you’ll find almost everything within these tools. For example, let’s say I want to create a storyboard for a short film. Here’s what the end result will look like:
You’ll notice that I’ve added a title, several photos, text boxes, and arrows that perfectly describe the scenes I want to create.
Similarly, you can turn your ideas into reality with Freeform and use it for any purpose.
Use Cases of Freeform
Since Freeform is super versatile, you can use it for a lot of different purposes. Here are some of the many use cases of this app:
#1. As a Student 🧑🎓
Freeform can be a game-changer for your studying routine if you’re a student in university or school. You can use it to create different boards and treat them as notebooks for each subject. You can take notes, draw elements, record and insert audio, attach photos, and more.
It can help you massively in keeping track of your essential study materials.
#2. As a Creative Individual 👩🎨
If you’re an artist, designer, editor, or indulge in any creativity regularly, Freeform can help you express yourself effortlessly. You can sketch your ideas, build mind maps, create storyboards, and give life to your imaginative spirit.
It has many drawing tools and customizable elements, including colors of your choice. And since this app is totally digital, you can make as many revisions as you want without creating a mess with crumbled papers.
#3. As a Dietician 🍎
Whether you’re a dietician for yourself or your clients, you can use Freeform to create meal plans, organize recipes, make shopping lists, etc. Creating step-by-step instructions for your entire plan is a breeze with this app, and it lets you create different boards for different recipes.
#4. As a Business Owner 👨💼
Since managing and running a successful business is not the easiest task in the world, every bit of assistance can prove to be helpful. In this case, the Freeform app will allow you to seamlessly create business plans, road maps, goals, and more.
You can dump all of your thoughts and ideas into it and present it in a visually-appealing way. And, of course, it also allows you to add your team members as collaborators.
#5. For Event Planning 🎉
Freeform can be incredibly useful for event planners or people who organize events, plan trips, manage projects, etc. You can create separate boards for different events, set reminders, create to-dos, and more.
It can help you always be on top of your plans, ensuring the ship doesn’t sink at the last minute.
#6. For Self-Improvement 🏋️
It’s right to assume that Freeform is a safe place to jot down your thoughts, create self-improvement plans, and go after your goals like you’re on fire🔥. Whether it’s for losing weight, getting those six-pack abs, or gaining more confidence, you can create step-by-step plans that’ll help you climb up there.
In a nutshell, whether you’re a student, a professional, or someone who loves staying organized and keeping your life in order, Freeform is the app for you. It has something for everyone out there.
With the kind of features it provides for absolutely no cost, it’s a must-have on your Mac and other Apple devices.
Alternative to Freeform for Windows Users
If you loved what you read about Freeform but do not have an Apple device, I have a solution for you. There’s a fantastic alternative to Freeform for Windows users, and it’s called Microsoft Whiteboard.
It allows you to brainstorm ideas, collaborate with others, run more effective meetings, and do much more.
One of the most extraordinary things about this app is that you get over 60 templates to kickstart your creative process much faster. It’s identical to Freeform, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
Similar Online Tools
Some people might not want to use both Freeform and Microsoft Whiteboard, and if you’re one of those people, there are some great alternatives you can check out. These tools are cloud-based and have a bunch of useful features.
Miro is a visual platform trusted by over 50 million users, including HP and BestBuy. It helps you shape your ideas into meaningful content and turn them into actionable steps.
Since it’s cloud-based, you can use it on any device and operating system. Here are a few of the many features of this tool:
Seamless collaboration options
More than 100 integrations, including Zoom and Google Docs
Over 1,000 templates ready to use
You can easily do brainstorming, event planning, diagramming, and many other tasks.
Get absolute freedom to create plans, take down notes, and achieve your goals using LucidSpark.
It’s suitable for any purpose, from casual to something highly professional. You can enjoy collaboration options, integrations, and other valuable features besides a super flexible canvas.
As they say, “Strike while the iron is hot.” That’s precisely what Freeform helps you do. It lets you capture and act upon your wildest ideas to achieve the goal.
The whole idea behind Freeform is to help you transfer all that creativity and thought process from your brain into the canvas to better grasp the content.
Be sure to utilize this 100% free app on your Mac and other Apple devices to unlock your full creative potential and revolutionize the way you brainstorm.
Adnan is a BMS graduate and a senior writer for Geekflare who loves breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces. He has also written for sites like Sparkian and Techkle. Besides work, you can find him on the football turf or… read more