Whether your work involves visually representing ideas to your co-workers, or you constantly have to give online visual assistance to customers, family or friends, sharing screenshots with annotations is something that we always do and that could always be done simpler.
Today we’re going to review a small app that lives in your menu bar and can help you take, annotate, and share screenshots over Dropbox the fast way. It’s called Glui. Let’s check it out and see if it’s up to the task.
Glui is as simple as an app can be. It only runs in your menu bar, ready for you to call it whenever you need to take a screenshot. When you do, you just take your snapshot, annotate it appropriately, and it gets uploaded to Dropbox automatically. That’s about it. Simple, right?
Glui goes for $2.99 on the Mac App Store, and it’s perfect if you don’t want to deal with a big overtly complicated app for taking your screenshots, like Skitch or LittleSnapper. Let’s get deeper into what it can do.
Glui works very much like Apple’s own Grab, except it lets you anotate your screenshots and it also uploads what you take automatically to your Dropbox account. Just like Grab, you can select if you want to take “Crosshair” (where you select an area of your screen for your shot), window (where only the selected app’s window gets in the shot), or fullscreen snapshots.
As soon as you take a screenshot, a window with the end result of it will pop up. You can choose to re-do it, anotate it, or just upload it as it is. As soon as you upload the screenshot, you’ll get a confirmation that it is now in your Dropbox, the link will automatically get copied to your clipboard and you’ll see a button to open it in your browser. If you instead want to save the screenshot to your computer, you can press the button next to the upload one and drag the image to where you want to save it or work with.
The menu bar drop down will always show a list of your recent uploaded screenshots. Clicking on any of them will bring it up in the Dropbox website. We’ll get more in depth with the annotations next.
The annotations that you can do with this app are pretty simple, unlinke other more complex competitors. At the confirmation window once you’ve got your shot, you’ll find a toolbar on the bottom with just three buttons: an arrow, a square and a text tool. That’s all you can do, there are no other shapes or configurations like color or font options.
This is both a shortcoming and an advantage. Removing unnecessary options makes the app stand out as clean and uncluttered, but it might make your screenshots look dull after a while, and it might even turn into an inconvenience if you are working with a red background (all the shape and text annotations are red).
That’s not to say that you can’t play around with sizes and position. Every annotation item that you put in your snapshot can be very easily scalable and positioned with just a few clicks. After all, the purpose of the app is not to remove every single useful thing out of the app, but to leave only the essentials to make the process of taking and sharing screenshots easier and faster.
Where It Fits In Your Workflow
You can do most of these things for free, with apps that come included in your computer. Grab (under your utilities folder) can help you take screenshots and Preview can help you annotate them and save them, so that you can then open Dropbox in your browser to upload them. But that’s not convenient at all, really. The whole process will take you a good couple of minutes.
Glui simplifies that whole process and brings it down to just a few seconds. It’s also a lot faster and responsive than Grab, which I have always found sluggish. I can see Glui substituting Grab as my go-to app for getting snapshots, even if it’s not for sharing them over the web. It just feels snappier.
The marketplace for screenshot apps is filled with options. There’s a little bit of everything and apps seem to come and go quite fast. We’ve all heard about Skitch and its disastrous update, but there’s also newer apps like Napkin and Clarify, and well-established alternatives like LittleSnapper. All of those are way too pricy and/or complicated compared to Glui. It’s just not fair to compare them all as they’re not on the same level.
Glui is meant to be a lot more simple and fast than any of those apps. Take a screenshot, do some quick annotations, and upload it. Apps like Lightshot, TinyGrab, and GrabBox might be more appropriate as direct competitors to Glui. They’re all relatively at the same price, and they’ve all got their own bells and whistles. If $3 seems like a lot, you might want to check out one of the free alternatives like GrabBox and see if they meet your needs.
Everything about Glui is set to work smooth and easy from the get go. It even automatically linked my Dropbox account without having to do anything but a simple authorization when I took my first screenshot. Taking screenshots is easy and fast, it felt smoother than Grab, which I’ve found to be sloppy and slow at times.
Glui still has some ways to go: a few keyboard shortcuts, a bit more customization, timed screenshots and resizing options will make it an impressive little app. Still, for a first release, it’s quite a worthy alternative to more expensive apps like the ones I’ve mentioned. But what do you think? Do you use any similar apps for your screenshot taking needs, or do you stick with the ones that came with your Mac?