Recover old Chemdraw PICT files

[Thursday update: Tested this this morning under Illustrator CS3 and OS 10.6.7, still works]

Had an embarrassing moment the other day . I found some old Chemdraw graphics that I’d used in a presentation in 1998 that were PICT files. On a modern day MacOSX  system they were identified as Quickdraw files and were openeable by Preview, but the resolution was awful. Here’s the embarrassing bit: I could not find the original chemdraw .chm (or .cdx) files – I hadn’t kept them as a backup. Aargh!

PICT files came in two flavours, bitmap and vector graphics – the latter is what Chemdraw used as it scales better on printing etc.

I had quick hunt around the interwebs but turned up nothing about how I might resurrect these files into something useful when I started thinking about previous blog posts about other vector graphics packages that suffered from the round-trip editing problem with MS Word. And guess what? Adobe Illustrator, which doesn’t list PICT as an import option in its Open dialog box, can open vector graphics PICT file just fine. And edit them!

All you need to do is drag and drop the file onto Illustrator. (BTW this is just an example, yes I know I could have redrawn Boc-Phe-resin much faster 🙂

Whodathunkit? The graphic communities favourite whipping crew Adobe comes to the rescue. But of course there is a downside, there always is. You cannot seem to get the bitmap back into Chemdraw via copy-paste or drag-and-drop or anything else I’ve tried so far. So this “fix” is just for taking elements from the PICT file and changing size, colours line thicknesses etc, and of course saving the results in a high res format.

About martin

almost on holidays
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