A camera for your computer’s screen

by Brantlea Newbery

I take a LOT of screenshots. At first, they were just a means to illustrating Photoshop® tutorials and marking up images for retouching; then, in 2008, I stumbled upon Skitch and it was love at first snap. I use Skitch almost daily. It saves me time communicating ideas via email and chat, keeps a visual history of all my screen snaps so I can easily find them and remember what I was working on when, all the while being so much faster than using the “Command (⌘)-Shift-4” on the Mac then opening the image in Photoshop, doodling on it, adding text, re-saving, etc.

Skitch is a free application for the Mac, iPad, and Android (noticeably absent from the iPhone). It does so much more than just screenshots…it’s got an arsenal of tools for annotating them including: text, shapes, arrows, transparent fills, crop functions, and much more.

Skitch on the Mac is a small application that launches when you turn on your computer and hangs out in the background until you need it. You can access it from the Menu bar, the Dock, or a keyboard shortcut and it’ll just appear in the foreground with the option to take a full screenshot or, my preference, a crosshairs screenshot. Just draw a box around what you want to snap and it appears Skitch’s window where you can annotate it, share it on the internet, drag and drop it onto a folder on your computer, or just save it for later (Command (⌘) – S). You can even snap an entire web page using the “Snap from Link” command from the menu in the upper left corner of Skitch.

Oh, and it also works for just doing basic drawing and illustrations-great for quick diagrams or doodles. I can’t begin to go over all the uses for Skitch, but there are some really concise (and entertaining) videos on the Skitch homepage.It is hands-down the easiest and most robust tool I have ever used for creating, editing, and storing screenshots. The History tab keeps them organized all in one place right in the Skitch application; you can see all your snaps listed by date with an icon indicating which snaps you have downloaded, emailed, or shared. Skitch can save your snaps in 8 different file formats, including: jpg, tif, and png.

You can get Skitch for free for:

Mac, from the Mac App Store

iPad, from the App Store

Android, from Google play

I can’t talk about Skitch without mentioning it was recently purchased by Evernote, the free cloud-based note organizing system that helps you “Remember Everything”. While you’re downloading Skitch, check out Evernote too. It’s much more robust than the built-in notes systems that are loaded by default on your desktop or Smartphone; it stores entire documents, formatted notes, web clips, takes dictated notes and more. Notes in Evernote are synced in the cloud so you can access them anywhere from the app on your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android, or web browser. You can download Evernote here and watch some very short but helpful introduction videos, this one about UPPERCASE magazine is a favorite of mine. Evernote is free, with the option to buy more space on your account (for $5 a month) if you find you’re a power-user.

(You may have noticed that my Skitch says Skitch Plus: that’s left over from before Evernote acquired Skitch and the full featured Skitch Plus used to be a paid-app. The great news is that when Evernote acquired Skitch, they gave everyone the same features as Plus for free.)

All photographic images © Brantlea Newbery

About Brantlea Newbery


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