Welcome to the Beadographer user guide. This guide has information covering each feature of the latest version of the app.
You can also watch a Youtube tutorial which covers this guide. The tutorial follows this guide in order and each chapter is linked to a section in the tutorial.
Welcome to Beadographer!
Beadographer lets you design patterns for beading projects. Create designs using seed beads, cylinder beads, or plastic fuse beads. You can make so many things, including bracelets, ornaments, tapestries, and loom designs.
Beadographer is currently developed for Windows, Mac, and iPad only. If you use Beadographer on other devices, you may encounter errors.
Beadographer has a free version and a membership version. There are three extra features of the membership version. You can:
- save your work for later
- export PDFs with diagrams and word charts
- manage your bead collections
To learn more about Beadographer, and for more information on becoming a member, read the about page.
Watch the Tutorials
Our video tutorials are a quick and easy way to learn how to use the app. You can find them at the Beadographer Youtube channel. Subscribe on Youtube to get notified when we release new videos.
Join the Beadographer Common Room
We set up the Facebook Group Beadographer Common Room as a friendly place where users can connect with each other, share designs and tips, and ask for advice.
Errors and Feature Requests
If you found an error with Beadographer, or if you have a feature that you would like to see in a future version, you can contact us through our contact form.
Starting a new project
When starting a new project, you choose the following options to create the project:
Title and description
Enter the title of your project, and a description of what it contains.
Choose a bead library
Choose the bead library that you want to work with. These include Miyuki seed beads, TOHO seed beads, and fuse beads. Fuse bead brands include Perler, Artkal, and Hama beads.
If the beads you want to work with are not listed, you can select a library that most closely matches the appearance of your beads, and then use a custom bead size. For full information about each library, see Bead Libraries.
Choose a pattern
The pattern refers to the layout of the beads. Choose the pattern which matches the stitch or layout you want to work with. In some patterns, some tools and features are not available. For full information, see Patterns.
Choose a collection
If you have created a bead collection, you can choose it now to add all of the beads in your collection to your palette. Otherwise, the default palette will be added.
Rows and columns
Choose the number of rows and columns that you want in your project. This can be changed later. The app displays the approximate project size below. For very large canvases (over 60 thousand beads) Beadographer shows a warning that the app may run slowly, depending on your device memory. For some patterns, such as triangles, a size option will be shown here instead of rows and columns. Please note that rows and columns mean different things for different stitches: a row in peyote stitch only has half as many beads as an equivalent row in brick stitch. If you are unsure how many rows or columns you need then create a larger project, and then use the trim tool later to get the project to the correct size.
Custom bead size
With some patterns, you can specify a custom bead size, which overrides the default size (this depends on the bead library you have chosen). You can specify bead size in inches or mm. The bead diameter is the size across the bead when looking through the hole. The bead width is the length of the hole. The aspect ratio is the ratio between these two numbers. The bead width must stay within 50-100% of the bead diameter.
Finding your way around
Areas of the screen
Beadographer has three areas of the screen:
- 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 swatches (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 swatches
If any swatches are hidden, you can scroll the swatches down to see more swatches.
Keyboard shortcuts (also called hotkeys) are features of the app that can be accessed quickly by pressing one or more keys on the keyboard. Using these shortcuts can speed up your work. In the guide, they will appear in small squares. For example, keyboard shortcut D will look like D.
Useful tools to get started
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 swatch on the palette.
While using the draw tool, access the erase tool by holding down shift. Access the eyedropper tool by holding down Alt.
The erase tool E will remove beads from the canvas.
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 adding 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.
Save to cloud
The cloud tool saves the current project to the cloud (available in membership version only). The app will also save your work each time you enter the menu system. When the app saves your work to the cloud, you will see a notice appear on the screen. Please note, that unlike Beadographer v.2, the app will not save automatically after every action. You will need to click save, or you may lose your work.
Change the view
The hand tool H moves the current view of the canvas. You can also move the view at any time with the arrow keys.
An extra panel appears at the bottom of the screen when the hand tool is active.
This tool shows or hides the guides.
This tool shows or hides the symbols.
This tool shows or hides the inactive beads.
This tool shows or hides the finish rendering.
This tool moves the current view of the canvas back to the origin.
Q, U, X, and G are all useful keyboard shortcuts for changing the view. Q toggles bead symbols, U toggles the display of inactive beads, X turns on and off rendering the bead’s finish, and G toggles showing the guides.
You can use the rotator tool to rotate the canvas. Clicking on the button on the circle will reset the angle.
The zoom out tool - zooms out.
The zoom out tool = zooms in.
The marquee tool M selects beads in a rectangular area. Click and drag on the canvas to select beads. Hold down shift to make additional selections.
The select tool S lets you individually select or deselect beads. Hold down shift to deselect individual beads. Click on an empty space to deselect all the beads.
Color select tool
The color select tool W 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.
An extra panel appears whenever the marquee, select, or color select tools are active.
Rotate selected beads right.
Rotate selected beads left.
Rotate selected beads 180 degrees.
Flip selected beads horizontally.
Flip selected beads vertically.
Erase selected beads
Toggle clone mode. When clone mode is active, dragging beads will copy them.
When selected beads move on top of another bead, the unselected bead will be overwritten.
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 swatch in the palette. All the selected beads will then be assigned this style.
Moving or copying beads
When any of the marquee, select, or color select tools are active, you can move selected beads by dragging them (this function is not available in all patterns). 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.
Copying and pasting 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 into the same location on the canvas as where they were when copied. 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 swatch
Clicking on a swatch in the palette will be selected. You can drag the swatch around the palette to re-arrange the order of your swatches.
The large bead at the bottom of the palette shows the active style. The active swatch is also highlighted with a border.
If the marquee, select, or color select tools are active, clicking a swatch 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 swatch.
Editing or deleting a swatch
Click on the palette tool to edit the current swatch. This opens the Edit Swatch dialog box, which will let you update or delete a bead. After editing, beads on the canvas will be updated to reflect any changes you make.
Another way to open the Edit Swatch dialog is to Shift + click on a swatch in the palette will open the Edit Swatch dialog box.
You cannot delete a swatch if it has corresponding beads on the canvas. You will need to erase all of those beads from the canvas first.
Selecting all beads of the same style
Alt + clicking on a swatch will select all the beads of that style on the canvas.
Creating a new swatch
At the bottom of the swatches you will see a blue bead with a + sign. You may need to scroll down to see it. Click this bead to add a new swatch.
- Enter a description and symbol for the bead. The symbol will be used in export diagrams.
- For iPad, you will see an arrow to move the bead up and down within your palette.
- Move the three sliders in the New Swatch dialog to change the color of the new style.
- You can also specify a color by clicking on the # button and entering a hex code (such as ff0000 for bright red).
- Click on the six finish-selector beads to choose the finish of the bead. On the first row, you can choose between matte, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes. On the second row, you can choose between opaque, transparent and inside color beads. This feature is not available for fuse beads. See the Guide to finish options for more details.
- Enable a tint by clicking on the 'add tint' checkbox. Three more sliders will appear, which will allow you to change the tint of the bead. This is useful for representing metallic and irridescent beads.
- When you are happy with the swatch you have created, click Save.
The eyedropper tool
This tool allows you to select a swatch by clicking on a bead on the canvas. The active style will change to match the bead you clicked on. This is convenient for selecting directly from the canvas. You can also access the eyedropper tool by holding down Alt while the draw tool is active.
The bead library
The bead library lets you manage bead products and add them to your project. It also lets you create and manage your bead inventory. Click on the chest icon in the toolbar to open the bead library panel.
Choosing which beads to display
When the bead library panel opens, a list of beads will be displayed. There are two modes of sorting beads: by product number, or by color. If you check the 'Color match' checkbox, it will sort the beads by color, showing the closest matches for the currently selected swatch. This feature enables you to search the bead library by color.
If you change the active style while 'Color match' is checked, the bead library will be re-sorted to match the new color of the active style.
The dropdown menu in the library panel allows you to choose between displaying all beads, beads in collections you have created, and all beads you have in stock.
Bead library results
Each bead in the bead library list has three buttons:
- Add swatch to palette
- Replace the currently selected swatch with this style
- Add to collection. This will add the bead to a collection you have created. It will also let you manage your collections.
The bookmark icon will be filled in if the bead is part of a collection. If the bead is part of multiple collections, the bookmark will be filled in with the color of the first collection.
Searching the library
You can search the names and descriptions of beads in the bead library by typing in the search box at the top of the bead library panel. If you enter multiple words, multiple filters will be applied; so, if you want to find beads that are both blue and opaque, you can enter “blue opaque”. You can also search by product code, for example “DB1808”.
Searching 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 active style will immediately change to the color represented by that code, and the bead library will be re-sorted.
Edit library bead
Click on a bead library bead to open the Edit Library Bead dialog. This lets you overwrite the app's default settings for a library bead. For example:
- You can add your own title or description to a library bead.
- You can change the library bead's color or finish (this will not change the color of any beads in a project. It will only change how the library bead appears in the future.)
- You can assign a stock level the library bead, to record how many beads you have of this product in stock.
You can choose the meaning of the four available stock levels. For example, depending on the user, a half-full tube might mean "half a tube remaining" or "only a few tubes remaining".
You can remove any of your custom settings by clicking Reset in the 'Edit library bead' dialog box.
Add library bead
You can add your own custom bead to the bead library by clicking on the 'Add Bead' button in the bead library dialog.
Collections allow you to group beads together into palettes or groups. Beads can be added to multiple collections. Each collection has a title, a color, and a list of associated beads.
To create or edit a collection, first click on a bookmark icon next to any of the bead library results.
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 with other design tools. You can also convert the image into beads.
Uploading an image
Click the image tool to upload an image. Accepted image types are .jpg and .png. Only one image is supported at one time; if an image is already present on the canvas, it will be replaced.
Images are not currently saved as part of project files, so if you want to work with the same image during different sessions, you will need to upload it again and move it to the same position.
Moving and transforming the image
When the image tool is highlighted, you can move the image around the canvas by dragging it. The image toolbar also appears 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.
Changing the image opacity can help you trace over an image.
Converting the image to beads
To convert the image into beads, press the convert to beads button on the image toolbar. A dialog will appear that gives you options for converting the image:
- Number of Colors. This allows you to choose the number of colors used during the conversion. For example, selecting 5 will limit the conversion to using 5 colors.
- Use only styles in palette. This option will limit the conversion to the beads you currently have in your palette. For example, if you have only black and white beads in your palette, the image will come out with only black and white beads.
- Method. This is the method that the app uses to find the closest bead color to the specific part of the image. RGB compares the red, green, and blue components of the image data, and HSV compares the hue, saturation and value of the image data. Usually RGB works best, but you can try HSV as another option.
Deleting the image
To delete the image, click the trashcan button on the image toolbar.
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.
Beading mode: changing 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. With some patterns you can click the circular arrow button (or press shift) to change the orientation of the highlighted beads.
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
- Both horizontal and vertical reflection
- No mirror
For triangle patterns, there is only one mirror mode available (a 3-way mirror.) For medallion patterns, there are the following mirror modes:
- Horizontal reflection
- Vertical reflection
- Symmetrical rotation (3 types: 2-way, 4-way, 8-way)
- No mirror
To measure a length between two points, drag a line on the canvas. You can change the units between inches and centimeters in the menu under Settings → Units.
Row shift tool
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. The Row Shift tool is not available for every type of bead pattern.
You can use the row shift tool to create a canvas with a mixture of offset and square rows. You can use this feature to design brick stitch projects with added fringe areas.
Bead Soup tool
The Bead Soup tool allows you to randomly combine colors when you are adding colors to the canvas with the draw, paint, and rectangle tools. To enable Bead Soup in the menu, select swatches in the upper table of the palette menu, and then click create bead soup with selected swatches.
Now when you click on the Bead Soup tool, the active style will be replaced with the bead soup image. This means that whenever you use the draw, paint, or rectangle tools, beads will be taken at random from the swatches you added to the soup. You can exit Bead Soup mode by clicking on any swatch in the palette.
The star tool (available for peyote star patterns only) allows you to swap between different views: front, back, and each of 5 warped squares that make up the star.
Beadographer Menu Area
The My Projects page lets you manage all the projects you have created. You can sort your projects and filter them by pattern, library, or tag.
This section allows you to modify your current project. You can add the following metadata to each project:
- Tags (useful for categorizing your projects)
- Beading instructions
The choices available in this section will depend on the pattern and bead library that you have chosen. For example, you cannot convert a loom pattern into a medallion pattern because they have incompatible layouts. Learn more about the options for different patterns at Patterns.
If you decrease the number of rows and columns in your project, you may delete beads. This cannot be undone. To avoid losing your work, please duplicate your project first in My Projects section of the menu.
This action trims off empty rows and columns from all around your project. This allows you to design your project on a larger canvas and then reduce its size later for export.
This will add a duplicate of the selected file to your saved projects. This lets you try out changes to a project and return to the saved copy later.
If you often design projects with the same specifications and palette, you can save a blank canvas as a template, then duplicate it to easily create new projects with the same specifications.
Copy front to back (peyote star only)
This action copies the front of your peyote star to the back.
This part of the menu manages your current palette and your saved collections.
This table lists of all your current swatches. You can click on the pencil icon to edit the description, symbol, finish, and transparency options for each swatch. You can delete the swatch by clicking on the trash icon. You can select the swatches using the checkbox in the left column.
Delete unused swatches
This button will delete all of the swatches that are not in use in the project. In other words, it will delete all swatches with a bead count of 0. This is a quick way to clear away unused swatches once you are finished creating your swatches.
This action cannot be undone.
Creating Bead Soup with selected swatches
This button will create a new Bead Soup with the selected swatches. See Bead Soup tool for details.
Auto-assigning symbols to selected swatches
This button will assign symbols A, B, C... to all selected swatches. It will overwrite any existing symbols.
Matching selected swatches to bead library
This will match each selected swatch to the bead in the bead library with the closest color.
This action will overwrite ALL the description, color, and finish information of all selected swatches.
This menu lets you change user preferences and the appearance of your project. Some of the options have hotkeys enabled so you can toggle them without having to use the menu.
|Theme||Changes the background color of the app.|
|Units||Changes the units for the ruler tool.|
|Show pointer coordinates||These are the numbers in the bottom right hand corner of the screen in the main app.|
|Show bead symbols Q||These are the letters associated with each bead style. For example A = red, B = green, C = black...|
|Show inactive beads U||Inactive beads are the spaces between your beads on the canvas.|
|Render as simple blocks X||This option shows each bead as a simple shape with no realistic finish.|
|Enable mouse scroll||This allows you to use your mouse wheel (or two fingers on a touch pad) to scroll the view of your project.|
|Guides G||Set guides to help you keep track of where you are in larger projects.|
|Horizontal guide spacing||Sets the distance between horizontal guide lines.|
|Vertical guide spacing||Sets the distance between vertical guide lines.|
|Color||Sets the color of the guide lines.|
This button loads one or more project files from your computer. Project files have the file extension .bead.
.bead files can only be read by Beadographer. If you want to download an image or PDF of your work, use the screenshot tool or the Export tab in the menu.
The template area contains the text that will appear on your PDF export. It also contains shortcodes, which will be replaced by various auto-generated elements. The available shortcodes are:
- title - project title
- image - the image of the entire project
- description - project description
- details - project details such as bead count and dimensions
- bead list - a list of all the bead styles in the project, including the number of each bead used.
- instructions - project beading instructions
- diagram - diagrams of the project
- word chart - the word charts for the project
- credits - credits or the project
- page break - insert page break at this shortcode
Use custom word chart
The standard word chart will be replaced by the custom word chart (which can be edited under the word chart tab above).
Split project into panels
Large loom and peyote projects may be split into panels. Max Panel Width sets the widest row that you would like to bead. For example, if your project is 100 beads wide, but your loom is only 30 beads wide, set this number as 30. The app will divide your canvas up into equal-sized panels which you can combine together.
This refers to the first bead you intend to pick up when creating your project.
In loom mode only, you may choose to read the pattern horizontally or vertically.
Alternate row direction
In some patterns, you may choose to enable or disable changing row direction for each row.
In peyote mode only, you may choose to export the word chart as tubular peyote.
Use small diagram
For some patterns, you can choose to use a small diagram which will fit more beads on the page.
Choose between Letter and A4 page sizes.
Footer text to be added to each page.
Upload an image (for example, a logo) that will appear at the very top of the first page of the project.
These are custom images you want in your PDF. For example, a photograph of the finished piece. You can upload multiple images. Images will appear as shortcodes which can be added into the template.
|Name||Bead diameter (mm)||Bead width (mm)||Bead shape|
|Miyuki Round 8/0||3||2.35||Round|
|Miyuki Round 11/0||2||1.57||Round|
|Miyuki Round 15/0||1.5||1.18||Round|
|Miyuki Delica 8/0||3||2.3||Cylinder|
|Miyuki Delica 10/0||2.2||1.69||Cylinder|
|Miyuki Delica 11/0||1.6||1.23||Cylinder|
|Miyuki Delica 15/0||1.3||1||Cylinder|
|TOHO Round 6/0||4||3.13||Round|
|TOHO Round 8/0||3||2.35||Round|
|TOHO Round 11/0||2.2||1.72||Round|
|TOHO Round 15/0||1.5||1.18||Round|
|TOHO Aiko 11/0||1.8||1.38||Cylinder|
|TOHO Treasure 11/0||1.8||1.38||Cylinder|
|Pattern name||Project type(s)||Bead type||Notes (below)|
|Loom||Bead loom, square stitch||Seed beads||1|
|Brick (2- 3- drop)||Brick stitch||Seed beads|
|Peyote (2- 3- drop)||Peyote / gourd stitch||Seed beads|
|Herringbone||Herringbone / Ndebele stitch||Seed beads||6|
|Right Angle Weave||Right Angle Weave||Seed beads||3, 6|
|Triangle||Peyote stitch||Seed beads||2, 3, 4, 6|
|Huichol||Huichol, netting||Seed beads||2, 3, 5, 6|
|Medallion||Circular medallions||Seed beads||2, 3, 4|
|Square||For grid designs||Fuse beads|
|Brick (fuse)||For hexagonal / star designs||Fuse beads|
|Round||For circular pegboards||Fuse beads||2, 4, 5, 6|
- You can export the pattern either horizontally or vertically
- The paint tool is unavailable, and you cannot drag or transform beads
- Custom seed bead sizes are unavailable
- Guides are unavailable
- Beading mode is unavailable
- Row shift tool is unavailable
For each diagram, the first line is opaque, the second line is transparent, the third line is transparent with inner color.
Round beads, no tint
Matte Semi-gloss Gloss
Round beads, yellow tint
Matte Semi-gloss Gloss
Cylinder beads, no tint
Matte Semi-gloss Gloss
Cylinder beads, yellow tint
Matte Semi-gloss Gloss