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README file for DrawView

DrawView is an application that allows Draw files created by the Acorn/RiscOS application Draw, and other compatible applications, to be displayed on a Linux or other Unix system. It is written in C++ using the Qt and KDE Frameworks libraries, and released under the GNU GPL.

The file is displayed in a desktop window which can be scrolled and zoomed as required. The drawing can be exported in PDF, SVG or PostScript format for printing or use in other applications.

The file formats supported, and their original Acorn file types, are:

File format Acorn file type Applications
Plain Draw file DrawFile (AFF) Draw, many others
Draw file with extra data DrawFile (AFF) DrawPlus
Compressed Draw CmprDraw (C4B) Chameleon, Poster, Vector
Compressed with extras VecFile (C56) Vector
Draw with tagged objects Poster (CC3) Poster
Object library DrawLib (810) DrawPlus, Vector

All types of standard Draw objects, and the additional ones provided by Vector, are supported and displayed. There are some features that it is not possible to reproduce exactly, due to limitations in the Qt library or the underlying platform, but the results obtained should be as close as it is possible to achieve. See the home page for further information.

Libraries are initially displayed with all of the included objects superimposed. The "Library Object" selector (in the "View" menu) can be used to display or export a single object.

The best results for text display are obtained if a good selection of scalable fonts are installed. The mapping between the original Acorn font names and available fonts is configurable.

Batch conversion can be performed by running DrawView from a shell with the arguments:

-e <file> Convert an input file and save it as the output file specified. The format for conversion is taken from the extension of the output file or can be specified using the '-f' option.
-e <directory> Convert any number of input files and save them in the directory specified. The format for conversion can be specified using the '-f' option, the default is SVG.
-f <format> Specify the format for conversion. The value can be "SVG", "PDF" or "PS" in upper or lower case; the default is SVG.
-o Overwrite already existing export files, by default do not overwrite them.

DrawView requires the Qt 5 (version 5.10 or later, available from and the KDE Frameworks (version 5.68 or later, available from libraries. These are already included in many Linux distributions. Qt/X11 is free for use and development of open-source applications. The 'qt4' branch works with the older Qt 4, while the 'qt5' branch works with Qt 5 alone (no need for Frameworks).

The source download (with some example files) and further information is available from GitHub at:

More information and documentation is available from the home page:

To build and install the application, you will need CMake to configure and generate build information. Assuming that you have this and the Qt and Frameworks libraries as above, build the application as follows:

# Clone the source repository from GitHub
git clone
cd drawview
git checkout frameworks5
# Generate the required configuration files and scripts
mkdir BUILD
cmake ..
# Now follow the standard build steps.
make install
drawview [file...]

The Qt-only branch ('qt5') still uses GNU autotools. To build this version, do:

# Clone the source repository from GitHub
git clone
cd drawview
git checkout qt5
# Generate the required configuration files and scripts
autoreconf -i
# Now follow the standard build steps, see the INSTALL file
# for more information.
./configure [options...]
make install
drawview [file...]

This is a work in progress; further facilities and improvements are planned. Reasonable suggestions, bug or problem reports are welcome.


View Acorn/RISC OS Draw, Vector or Poster files on any Linux or Unix system







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