Grab the Perfect Screenshot with LittleSnapper

Since the time when there was only the full-screen print function, the tools for screen-shooting have evolved a lot. Now you can select what you’re snapping, create annotations, easily share with your friends, all in a matter of seconds. Screenshots became popular because they’re a great way to catch information on the spot. Taking screenshots is like taking a picture of a place you visit, only this time, you’re visiting your Mac.

LittleSnapper is the epitome of screen-shooting. It covers most aspects of what you’d want a snapshot application to deal with. It has advanced features to capture, edit, organize and share your images. And this article won’t only work around what LittleSnapper offers, but also how you could use its resources to take screen-shooting to the next level.

Learning the basics

I’ve been using LittleSnapper for a while; every single article I wrote for AppStorm recently had most of their images taken by the application. The sidebar gives quick access to your Library, Folders, Smart Collections or Collections. The default options can be added or removed at LittleSnapper’s Preferences. You can’t place snapshots within Folders, only Collections, the previous are here to nest your Collections or even more folders, in a hierarchy similar to Finder.

LittleSnapper portraits a gorgeous interface to organize your snapshots.

LittleSnapper portraits a gorgeous interface to organize your snapshots.

In the main window, you have three kinds of views. Probably the first one you’ll see is the Icon View, which displays your images on superb-looking and resizable thumbnails. Next comes the Edit View, where you can include your annotations, but more on that later. From these two views you may also use the Info panel on the right, which allows you to manipulate the metadata and tags from the image, or upload it to Flickr or a FTP server.

The last view is the Browser. LittleSnapper has a built-in browser for you to grab specific spots from the web pages you’d like to keep images from. The Browser is one of those features that you underestimate, but in the end it changes the way you see the application.

Taking Screenshots

LittleSnapper places a pretty little icon in your menubar and it will definitely be the most used method to take your screenshots. It comes with universal keyboard shortcuts that blend easily to former users of the Mac built-in screenshot application. Yet, the best thing about the status item is that it doesn’t require LittleSnapper open to work, neither will it open every time you take a picture (unless you tell it to on Preferences).

Quickly check all the options or use the global shortcuts without disrupting your workflow.

Quickly check all the options or use the global shortcuts without disrupting your workflow.

Among the options given by LittleSnapper you’ll find the possibility to snap full screen, timed full screen, an area or a window. If you have an open website, LittleSnapper will also give you the alternative to capture its web address or open it in its own browser for further control. As you open a URL in LittleSnapper’s browser, it allows you to snap the whole page, as in a web archive or snap only a part of it.

Use LittleSnapper's built-in browser to snap only the perfect spot of web pages.

Use LittleSnapper’s built-in browser to snap only the perfect spot of web pages.

When you choose to snap a part of a webpage, LittleSnapper will intuitively highlight its elements. You can edit them later, but it usually gets it right. As you may see from the image above, I’m selecting only the article for the screenshot, giving me a clean image to keep forever. Turns out that you may convert LittleSnapper into your personal web article repository.

Editing your Snapshots

As you take a few screenshots, it might be a good time to edit them. LittleSnapper probably offers everything you’d want to point out something in your images. You can draw vector shapes, arrows, write and even blur, highlight or crop your image or its parts. You can change the size or color of the outlines and create references with your text notes, connecting your indications in a more refined way.

Create beautiful annotations to your colleagues and coworkers.

Create beautiful annotations to your colleagues and coworkers.

When you’re done, you may share the image in one of your configured accounts or just use the navigational arrows to move to the next snapshot in Edit View.

Organizing your Library

As you finish editing your screen shot, would be a great idea to organize them for later reference. LittleSnapper offers several tools for making it a breeze to find your images later. In the sidebar, you have a Smart Collection named Unprocessed, which will point out images that still require to be organized. Then you have several Smart Collections to arrange images by its type. Most of the time you’ll take screen or web snaps, but you can change that anytime on the Info panel.

You’re also able to create your own Collections, Smart Collections and stash them inside a Folder.

You’re also able to create your own Collections, Smart Collections and stash them inside a Folder.

Then at the Info panel, you may change the URL address for the image, if you did a web snap, there’ll find the site it was taken from. You can modify the type, which influences mostly the Collections’ behavior, include tags of all sorts or add a description to your snapshot. Put all these features together (there’s also a Tag Manager if you want to spend some time working only on tags) and you simply can’t get lost under your shots.

Sharing your Pictures

LittleSnapper integrates with Flickr or with your own FTP server. Is that enough? Maybe. I miss a direct option to send an email with the image as an attachment or perhaps posting directly into Facebook. Still, you can drag snaps out of LittleSnapper and drop them wherever you need them, may that be your desktop, your Droplr icon in the menubar or an upload field on a website.

One-click share to Flickr or your FTP.

One-click share to Flickr or your FTP.

But that’s not all. LittleSnapper can also export pictures taken from its web browser as a PDF with selectable text. Or you can export screenshots as a Snap Bundle. But what is that? Every time you take a screenshot with LittleSnapper, it stores everything in layers and that´s what the Snap Bundle is. Pretty nifty, eh?

What is there to improve?

A few things were already listed through the article, like the lack of further sharing tools, like email, Facebook or even Airdrop. The Snap Bundles and the way LittleSnapper splits your images in layers feels underused to me, and it would be nice to have a built-in control of them so you can take a full-screen snap and remove elements like your menubar from it right on the application.

However, those are luxury. The only reason for LittleSnapper not to grab a 10 in this review is the absence of a resize tool. You can easily open your images on Preview or any other editor of your choice, but that’s not the point. Every screen shot you see in this article was taken by LittleSnapper, however, all of them had to go through Preview for resizing. That’s something that shouldn’t be missing in LittleSnapper itself.

Conclusion

If you deal with screen shots of any kind, LittleSnapper is the application to go, no doubt. It is a powerhouse with plenty of features to please both the power and regular users. The further you dig it, the better it gets. And as you use it, it may show you different ways to turn its tools into new directions, like saving your web articles or as an image organizer itself.


Summary

LittleSnapper is a beautiful application to capture, edit, organize and share your screenshots and images.

9
  • reggie

    Snaggit is better because the optional video capture mode

  • Bob

    Great app, been using it for years – needs to have folders within folders tho for people like me who store lots of photos.

    • http://www.albertkinng.com Albert Kinng

      Agreed. I love this app. I was sad when they stop the server option but I really love it and I don’t think it will be replaced with a new app or a free one. This is a great app.

    • Phillip Gruneich

      You can have folders within folders, just drag one inside another (:

  • http://palobo.tumblr.com Pedro Lobo

    Hey Phillipe,

    Great write-up. I’ve also been using LittleSnapper for a while now and I’ve found one or two things I’d like to add. Although not really a resizing tool, when exporting images you can choose to limit them to a specific size (that’s how I get imags for my posts).

    The one gripe I have is that sometimes when snapping a window, LittleSnapper will mess things up. Especially if you try and snap a window with some sort of extension (can’t snap a finder window if XtraFinder or TotalFinder is loaded for instance). Other than that, great app.

    • Frequent reader

      I am just looking for a Grab replacement and have installed LittleSnapper only yesterday. Thanks Phillip for a great review! You pointed out things I was not aware.

      Pedro, thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. I am TotalFinder user and would not imagine it could be an issue. I just tested it and LittleSnapper grabs either regular Finder window or TF tabs (Snap Window mode). So weird.

      Since this program is so well regarded among reviewers I am a bit surprised with these small, but rather awkward omissions.

      • http://palobo.tumblr.com Pedro Lobo

        Hi,

        I reached out to the devs at the time and they responded that it was something out of their control. Has something to do with the way the system reports back about window locations, which is changed by TF or XtraFinder.

        Don’t let that detract you from using the app though since it is very good indeed. On those rare occasions that I need to snap a finder window I use builtin command then drag the snap into LittleSnapper (you can do that you know) ;-)

        Cheers,
        Pedro

        • Phillip Gruneich

          You can do that with any image, so LittleSnapper is not only a screenshot organizer, it can hold all your images.

          I doubt that this Finder-plugin issue is actually one to regard, you know? We’re all geeks and use those tools, but that’s not the general case. I remember taking a websnap from a site and it looked really weird (was from http://dotdotdot.me), can you blame LS or the structure of the site itself? It is like blaming Pocket or Instapaper for not importing one article properly.

          The problem about the resizing while exporting is that one value is not linked to the other. You can reduce by %, but that means bringing up the calculator and doing some math. You know? Just link the two values and problem solved.

          According to the developers, LittleSnapper will be going through some major changes in 2013, there’s no date yet, but let’s cross our fingers (:

        • Frequent reader

          Hi,

          Thanks to both for very nice and extensive replies.

          So far I like the app. It really does the job well and I have little to complain about. It is not often that I have to capture a Finder window so such a small issue is not a problem. I can use alternative capture mode and crop the image. I keep it simple so I use Preview to resize alter images when native app doesn’t support it.

          I am looking forward to any updates they come up with. A few refinements and improvements would be welcome.

          Kind regards,

          H.

        • http://palobo.tumblr.com Pedro Lobo

          Hey Phillipe,

          Totally agree with you that it’s no reason to fault LS. From my experience it’s been a consistently good app. With regard to the export feature, I’ve found that in our case (images with max width of 620px) you can export and choose the option Fit Within Pixels, choose 620 for width and a really large height. Since this option resizes to the first possible constraint I manage to get properly resized images every time.

          Looking forward to those changes though ;)

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow