How To Streamline Screenshots with Skitch

We’ve taken a look at the various different screenshot apps for OS X previously, but I’d like to focus on one in particular today. Skitch is a combination of a desktop application and web service that makes capturing and sharing screenshots fun.

As well as all the functionality you’d expect from a traditional screenshot app (or OS X itself), you can annotate your captured image, easily drag out the result, or publish it to your Skitch.com page in a few simple steps. Read on to find out how the application works, and whether it’s for you!

Signing Up and Downloading

Although you don’t need an account at Skitch.com to use the application, it’s worth creating one while the app downloads. This only takes a few minutes, and ensures that you can use Skitch to it’s full potential.

Setting up Your Skitch.com Account

Setting up Your Skitch.com Account

After downloading and installing Skitch, you can open it up and enter your login credentials to get started.

Make sure you’ve verified your email address before setting up the app, otherwise you’ll find that you receive an invalid username/password error.

Entering Your Details

Entering Your Details

After doing this, you’re all set to start capturing and sharing screenshots.

Capturing Screenshots

Skitch gives you two different ways to capture screenshots. You can either click and drag over a certain portion of the screen, or just click a window to automatically capture that individual area. You can also instigate a countdown if you need time to drag a few different things around. Here are two screenshots outlining the process:

Starting to take a Screenshot

Starting to take a Screenshot

Dragging over an area

Dragging over an area

This is really simple, and works just as you’d expect. Certainly as easy as the in-built OS X shortcut key commands (you could even re-map these to use Skitch if you’d like to).

Although taking screenshots is easy, it’s during the “post-processing” that Skitch really comes into its own. You have a delightful array of different tools for annotating your screenshots – drawing freehand, dropping in boxes and circles, filling areas, adding pointers, or writing text.

It’s easy to customise everything, and you can have a decent looking set of annotations done in a few minutes:

Annotating Screenshots

Annotating Screenshots

If you’re used to the annotation tools in LittleSnapper, you may find that these aren’t quite so stylish. While that is certainly the case, it’s easier to use on almost all fronts. I prefer the overall outcome of doing this in LittleSnapper, but it takes half the time in Skitch.

Exporting Your Screenshot

There are a huge multitude of different options for exporting your screenshot. Let’s take a look at each one in turn:

Dragging

This is my personal preference, as I usually have something specific to do with a screenshot (upload it into WordPress, for instance). Skitch offers a “drag me” tab that will export your screenshot to wherever you drag it to.

Before you do this, you can give the screenshot a name, and select the type of file to export from the app. There’s a whole multitude of different options, ranging from a simple JPG to Skitch’s own specific file format.

Dragging Out Your Screenshot

Dragging Out Your Screenshot

Uploading to Skitch.com

The next option involves uploading your screenshot to one of several different online services through the “Webpost” button. This defaults to Skitch.com (remember the account we set up earlier?), but you can also add a variety of other options. We’ll cover these in more detail later on.

Uploading Your Screenshot

Uploading Your Screenshot

Sharing Your File Elsewhere

Once uploaded, your screenshot is visible in your public Skitch.com page, and looks something like the following:

Skitch.com

Skitch.com

From this page you can set different privacy options, and copy various different links to share the screenshot in different ways. These include a link to the page, a link to the image, code to embed the screenshot into your blog, or a shorthand tag that’s designed to work in most online forums.

People can also leave comments on your screenshot, and you’re able to subscribe to be notified of any replies.

Other Features

Skitch has another few features that we haven’t delved into too deeply in this review. These include the ability to access, annotate, and share photos from your Aperture or iPhoto library, and the option to capture a still image from your iSight video camera.

Both of these are fairly self explanatory when using the app, but don’t make up part of the main feature set.

Preferences

Skitch has a few different preference panels to navigate through, that give you different options to changing the app’s functionality. The “Settings” pane is the most useful:

Preferences

Preferences

Here you can change the window colour, specific how you’d like Skitch to display (in the Dock or Menu Bar), alter the keyboard shortcuts for snapping, and specify a few different drawing settings.

Other preference panels handle the different web services you can upload snaps to. There are a few different options here, giving you plenty of flexibility:

Upload Services

Upload Services

The “History” pane shows all your previous snaps, “Photos” gives you quick access to your iPhoto or Aperture library, and “Feedback” – unsurprisingly – lets you send comments to the developer.

Conclusion

So, would I recommend Skitch? Absolutely. If you work with screenshots on a regular basis, or often need to share a snippet of your screen, Skitch makes the process fun. The annotation tools are excellent, and sharing works flawlessly.

The only thing I’d like to see improved would be the colours and quality of the annotations. Although these can be altered manually, a slightly better refined default set of styles (akin to those in LittleSnapper) would make Skitch near perfect.

For a completely free application, there’s an awful lot to love. Download it now and give it a try!


Summary

Skitch is a fun and easy way to capture screenshots, annotate and edit them, then share them in a wide range of different ways. The Skitch.com web service works hand in hand with the app to give you 1-click uploading of images.

9
  • Jack

    I still love littlesnapper

    • Paul du Long

      Or Jing :D

      • http://drdkl.isgreat.org Dreadedkilla

        Jing? Man that sucks. I still love LittleSnapper just cuz I’ve already got everything into it. Though Skitch and LittleSnapper have technically the same feature set.

  • jm

    I like and use this program. I just wish that the finessed the interface a little bit. I’m almost embarrassed to have it pop up. It’s like a kid/teenager program interface with scrunched up buttons with no rhyme or reason in terms of placement around the frame, etc.

    • Topy

      I think the interface is fine. I dont get people like you, I mean: does it work? yes, are you satistyed? yeah. Then why complaining about something stupid? Just my opinion. I prefer Skitch it’s free!!!! why paying for something u even have the chance to do without any extra app
      Sometimes I feel people who designed certain apps they make them look so beautiful and so on ,but in the end it’s something u don’t ACTUALLY need

  • http://meerzdaily.blogspot.com/ Meerz

    I absolutely love Skitch <3 !!!

  • http://designedbygold.com Jonathan Gold

    Absolutely love Skitch, much prefer it to LittleSnapper.

    I’m not sure why actually – could be how lightweight it is?

  • http://imeerocks.net Imee

    Never used Skitch for screenshots. Always played around with webcam photos on it instead. But thanks for this mini tutorial thingy! It might come in handy one of these days :)

  • adi danthi

    Does any one know how to take a screen shot of a entire page in skitch

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  • http://www.sanneterpstra.com Sanne Terpstra

    I like CloudApp much more. It uploads screenshots automatically but also other files like pdf, psd and zip. http://my.cl.ly/login

    • http://designcliff.com/ RJ

      CloudApp is very good, but it does not have an editor in it.

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