Beadographer User Guide
Watch the Tutorials
Our tutorials are a quick and easy way to learn how to use the app.
- Tutorial 1 Get started with Beadographer by creating a simple bracelet. Watch here!
- Tutorial 2 Upload an image and trace over it to create a fish design. Watch here!
- Tutorial 3 Create stunning patterns with the transform and mirror tools. Watch here!
On the opening page, you have two options:
- New Project starts a brand-new project.
- Load Project allows you to load projects that you previously saved.
When you click New Project, you have three options:
- Round beads include round seed beads and pony beads.
- Cylinder beads include cylinder-shaped seed beads such as Miyuki Delica beads and Toho Treasure beads.
- Fuse beads are plastic beads that are fixed together with heat. Popular brands included are Perler, Hama, and Artkal beads.
Choosing a pattern
Round beads and cylinder beads have six pattern options:
- Loom patterns are appropriate for bead looms and square stitch.
- Brick patterns can be used for brick stitch and peyote / gourd stitch. To create a peyote / gourd stitch pattern, you will turn the canvas by 90 degrees once the app has loaded. There are three versions of brick stitch, depending on how many beads you pick up on each stitch.
- Herringbone or Ndebele stitch.
- Right-angle Weave stitch.
Fuse beads have three pattern options:
- Loom is for grid-like designs.
- Brick can be used for hexagonal and star pegboards.
- Round is for round pegboards. In this mode, some features (such as paint) are not available.
Choosing a size
With the exception of round patterns, you can also choose the size of your canvas. Choose square for most projects, and wide or long for long, thin projects such as bracelets.
Finding your way around
Areas of the screen
Beadographer has three areas:
- The canvas takes up most of the page. This is where you create your design.
- Tools are organized on the toolbar along the top
- Bead styles are arranged on the palette on the left of the page.
If you click on the chest icon on the toolbar, another panel opens up. This is the bead library.
The gear icon at the top-left of the toolbar shows the menu, which gives you further options and tools.
Showing more tools
Some tools may be hidden, depending on the size of your browser window. To see the hidden tools, click on the ... button at the right-hand-side of the toolbar.
Showing more styles
Click on the → button at the top of the palette to see all the hidden styles.
Bead Cat will give you hints as you learn to use the app. Click on Bead Cat to get extra hints. You can hide Bead Cat any time by clicking Hide hints. You can restore Bead Cat by navigating to Help → Show Bead Cat.
Keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) can speed up your work. They are listed in this guide in brackets after each corresponding function.
The draw tool (D) is selected when a new project opens. This tool allows you to draw on the canvas. Simply click on the canvas and beads will appear. Change bead style by clicking on a different bead on the palette.
The erase tool (E) will remove beads from the canvas. You can also quickly access the erase tool while using the draw tool by holding down the shift key.
The paint tool (P) adds or changes entire regions of beads.
The rectangle tool (R) is used for creating rectangles of beads. It is useful for quickly drawing a lot of beads.
Undo and Redo
The undo tool (Alt + Z) undoes the most recent action. To redo an action, click the redo tool.
⚠ When you undo an action and then alter the canvas, you can no longer redo to return to a previous state.
Use this tool to download an image screenshot of the current canvas view.
Working with project files
Important! Back Up Your Work
We recommend frequently backing up your work to avoid losing it. To back up your projects, you must download the files from ‘My Projects’ (the project browser). To download a file, select a file in ‘My Projects’, and click ‘Download’.
Beadographer automatically saves your work as you go, during moments of inactivity. You can see if the file is saved by looking at the title of the tab in your browser. If there is a * before the title, then you have unsaved changes. Beadographer will save your changes each time you enter the menu, and whenever the mouse is still for a second.
⚠ Uploaded images and editing history are not saved as part of the file.
⚠ Projects are saved inside your internet browser. If you delete your offline data from your browser, you will delete all your projects. To save your projects outside the browser, you must download the files from ‘My Projects’. Select a file in ‘My Projects’, and click ‘Download’.
Each new file is automatically called ‘Untitled’. To name your work, navigate to Project → Rename Project.
To save a copy of this project, navigate to Project → Duplicate Project. This will add a shapshot of the current file to your saved projects. You can now continue to make changes and return to the snapshot later.
The project browser lets you manage all the projects you have started. You can see the project browser by navigating to Project → My Projects. You have several options for working with files:
- Load loads the selected project. You cannot load the project you are already working on. To return to it, just press Cancel.
- Upload File loads a project file from your computer. Project files have the file extension .bead.
- Download downloads a copy of the selected file to your computer. You can do this to store a backup of your work, or if you need to clear the offline data from your internet browser.
- Rename renames the selected file.
- Delete deletes the selected file. This action cannot be undone.
- Cancel returns to the file you are working on. If you accessed the project browser from the app’s opening screen, clicking Cancel will start a new project.
Change the view
The hand tool (H) moves and rotates the current view of the canvas. You can also move the view at any time with the arrow keys.
When the hand tool is active, the rotate tool appears in the center of the canvas. You can use this to rotate the camera, to work at any angle. Clicking on the button in the middle of the rotate tool will reset the angle. Clicking more times on the button will rotate the camera by 90 degrees.
The zoom out tool (-) and zoom in tool (=) change the zoom of the current view.
The marquee tool (M) selects beads in a rectangular area. Click and drag on the canvas to select beads. Hold down the shift key to make additional selections. If you click on the marquee tool a second time, it will turn yellow. This indicates that you can copy selected beads by dragging them.
The select tool (S) lets you individually select or deselect beads. Hold down the shift key to deselect beads. Click on an empty space to deselect all the beads. If you click on the select tool a second time, it will turn yellow. This indicates that you can copy selected beads by dragging them.
Color select tool
The color select tool selects all beads of one color and deselects all other beads. This is useful when you want to try changing the color palette of a project. If you click on the color select tool a second time, it will turn yellow. This indicates that you can copy selected beads by dragging them.
These five tools appear whenever the marquee, select, or color select tools are active. The transform tools allow you to transform the selected beads, either rotating or flipping them. Only the selected beads will move; other beads will not be affected.
⚠ When selected beads move on top of another bead, the unselected bead will be deleted.
There are two extra keyboard functions for selecting beads. These shortcuts only work when the marquee, select, or color select tools are active.
- Press A to select all beads.
- Press I to invert the current selection. All beads that were selected will be deselected; all beads that were not selected will now be selected.
Changing the style of selected beads
When any of the marquee, select, or color select tools are active, you can change the style of all selected beads by clicking on a bead in the palette. All the beads will be assigned this style.
Move or copy beads
When any of the marquee, select, or color select tools are active, you can move selected beads by dragging them. If you hold down Alt and drag the beads, you will copy the current selection. This is useful for quickly creating repeating patterns.
⚠ When selected beads move on top of another bead, the unselected bead will be overwritten.
Copy and paste between projects
To copy beads to another project, select beads you want to copy, then press Alt + C to copy the beads. Then open another project and press Alt + V to paste.
⚠ When copying between projects, the beads will be pasted in the same location in the canvas as where they were copied. You may need to change the view to see where they were pasted. They will overwrite any beads in the new location. If the canvas is a different size, the beads may not appear. If the type of bead is different in the new project, the beads will change finish and will lose their description.
Using the palette
Selecting a style
Clicking on a bead in the palette will select a style. If the marquee, select, or color select tools are active, this will change the style of the selected beads. If a non-drawing tool is active, the draw tool will become active when you select a style. The first 9 styles in the palette can also be selected using keyboard shortcuts 1-9.
Customize the palette
You can update the styles in the palette in a few ways. You can drag the beads around the palette to re-arrange them. To create a blank palette, click on the gear icon and navigate to Palette → Clear Palette. You can also save palettes and load palette files that you previously saved.
Using the prototype bead
The large bead at the bottom of the palette is the prototype bead. It shows the active style of bead used for adding beads to the canvas. Clicking on the prototype bead will show the color picker menu. You can also access the color picker menu by clicking on the palette icon in the toolbar.
- Move the three sliders in the color picker menu to change the color of the prototype bead.
- Click one of the three finish selector beads (to the right of the prototype bead). This will change the finish of the bead: you can choose matte, semi-gloss, and gloss. This feature is not available for fuse beads.
- Drag the prototype bead into your palette. It will replace the bead with the new style you have just created.
The eyedropper tool
This tool allows you to select a style of bead on the canvas. The prototype bead will change to reflect the style you chose. It is useful if you want to select quickly the style of a bead you have added to the canvas. You can also access the eyedropper tool by holding down Alt while the draw tool is active.
The bead library
Another way to customize your palette is through the bead library. Click on the chest icon in the toolbar to open the bead library panel. When the bead library panel opens, a list of beads will be displayed. These are the beads from the library that most closely match the prototype bead’s current color. This feature allows you to search the library by color. If you update the prototype bead, the bead library will be re-sorted to match the new color of the prototype bead. You can scroll through the bead library results by using the up and down arrows on the bead library panel.
Searching the library
You can search the names and descriptions of beads in the bead library by typing in the search box at the bottom of the bead library panel. If you enter multiple words, it will apply multiple filters to the bead library; so, if you want to find beads that are both blue and opaque, you can enter “blue opaque.”
Search for a specific color
If you have a specific color you want to add to your canvas, you can enter a six-digit hex code (for example, 1a2e45) which represents that color. The prototype bead will immediately change to the color represented by that code, and the bead library will be re-sorted.
Adding or removing libraries
Navigate to Bead Library → Choose libraries to select which libraries appear in the bead library. Currently, the following libraries are available to use:
- For round beads, Miyuki 15/0, 11/0, and 8/0 seed beads, and TOHO 6/0, 8/0, 11/0, and 15/0 seed beads are available
- For cylinder beads, Miyuki Delica 15/0, 11/0, 10/0, and 8/0 beads, and TOHO Aiko 11/0 and TOHO Treasure 11/0 beads are available.
- In fuse bead mode, Perler, Hama, and Artkal beads are available.
Starting beading mode
Beading mode highlights a row or column of beads to help you navigate through your work when creating it. To start beading mode, click on the beading mode tool, then click on the bead where you want to start your work.
Moving the highlighted beads
Click on the arrow buttons to move the highlighted row or column. Or, if you are using the keyboard, press Enter to advance the highlighted beads one space, and Backspace to move in the other direction. To change the orientation of the highlighted beads, click the circular arrow button, or press Shift. This lets you swap between columns and rows.
Using the info tool
The info tool identifies the bead styles used in your project. It will add letters to any connected region of beads. Click on any bead from the region that you want to list, and letters will appear on your beads. Each letter represents a style used in your project. Beads with the same style have the same letter.
Download a bead list and word charts
When the letters are displayed, you can also download a list of beads as a text file. The letters in the bead list will correspond to the letters on the screen, so you can use this to prepare your beads for creating your project. The bead list will either display the product number and description of the bead (if the bead came from the bead library) or it will display an approximate description of the bead’s color (if you used the color picker menu to create the style.)
For brick, peyote, and loom designs, a word chart will be created that gives instructions on how to bead each line.
⚠ Word charts are only available for 1-drop brick and peyote designs. It will not work if you have shifted the rows using the Row Shifter tool.
Using an image file
Working with an image
You can add an image on top of the canvas as a useful reference for your work. For example, you could use it to trace animal shapes from photographs or designs you have made in other design tools. You can also convert this image into beads.
Upload an image
Upload an image either by clicking the image tool, or by clicking the gear icon and navigating to Image → Upload image. Accepted image types are .jpg and .png. If an image is already present on the canvas, it will be deleted. Only one image is supported at one time.
⚠ Images are not currently saved as part of project files, so if you want to work on the same image during a different session, you will need to upload it again and move it to the same place.
Move and transform the image
When the image tool is highlighted, you can move the image around the canvas by dragging it. The image tools also appear on the canvas. The upper slider controls the size of the image, and the lower slider controls the opacity (how transparent the image is). Dragging the red dot next to the image on the canvas allows you to rotate the image.
Convert the image to beads
To convert the image into beads, navigate to Image → Convert image. A dialog will appear that gives you options for converting the image:
- Palette size. This allows you to limit the number of colors used during the conversion. For example, selecting 20 will limit the conversion to using 20 colors. Selecting 'Unlimited' will not limit the number of colors used.
- Use library will associate every color with beads in the current library. For example, if you currently have TOHO 11/0 round seed beads in the library, the process will use these beads to create the picture.
Delete the image
To delete the image, click the gear icon and navigate to Image → Delete image.
The mirror tool lets you add beads in a symmetric pattern. To add a mirror, click on the mirror tool, then click on a bead where you want the mirror to pass through. Click Enter or click on the mirror tool again to change between four modes:
- Horizontal reflection
- Vertical reflection
- Horizontal and vertical reflection
- No mirror
The note tool lets you add notes to your work. To add a note, click on the note tool, then click on a bead where you want your note to point. Notes can be moved by dragging; they can be deleted by clicking the X next to the note. Notes are only visible when the note tool is active. Beads with a note have a * sign, which is always visible.
To show the ruler, drag a line on the canvas. You can change the units between inches and centimeters by navigating to View → show units in cm/inches.
Row Shift tool
In round bead mode and cylinder bead mode, the Row Shift tool toggles the offset of an individual row. This allows you to create custom row patterns, for example combining 1- and 2- drop peyote.
Tooltips remind you what each tool does and what its keyboard shortcut is. These hints can be disabled by clicking the gear icon and navigating to View → Hide tooltips.
Preview mode lets you view your work without the background grid. To see a preview, click the gear icon and navigate to View → Preview.