There are a number of different screenshot utilities for OS X, but none with the functionality and style offered by LittleSnapper. Produced by the developers behind RapidWeaver, LittleSnapper provides a tool for capturing inspirational websites or any area of your screen. It’s simple to organize hundreds of screenshots, exporting to a variety of different formats for use elsewhere. Innovative vector editing functionality allows you to annotate and edit screenshots through an incredibly simple interface.
If you regularly feel inspired when browsing the web, LittleSnapper is one way to keep track of all the information you come across. This review will delve into the application, outline the different features on offer, and provide a handy tip for keeping your inspiration in sync between multiple computers.
LittleSnapper’s functionality can conveniently be separated into four different areas; Capture, Organize, Edit and Share.
There are two simple methods for capturing data into LittleSnapper. First is a number of different keyboard combinations, second is a tool which sits in the OS X menu bar:
This allows you to capture a screenshot in a number of different ways – some completely new, and some replicating the interface already built into the default OS X screen capture utility:
- Snap Current Web Address: This will take a full-page screenshot of the current site, and import it directly into LittleSnapper complete with URL information
- Open Current Website: This opens the current site within LittleSnapper’s integrated browser
- Snap Full Screen: Simply takes a screenshot of your entire screen (including multiple monitors if you have them)
- Snap Area: Allows you to drag a cross-hair to define a particular area of the screen to capture
- Snap Window: Brings up the OS X camera interface to pick a particular window to capture
After initiating a website capture, LittleSnapper will download all the information from the page (including HTML code) to store within its database. This can take a little while for large pages, but once imported the graphic is quick to load and perform operations upon such as zooming and editing etc.
In addition to capturing an entire site, its possible to select only a certain element of the page – such as a particular graphic or form – through opening a site within LittleSnapper’s browser, then rolling your mouse over various page elements.
The editing tools built into LittleSnapper are, in my opinion, one of the best executed features of the app. A whole range of different tools are on offer, and the following snap shows an example of most of them being put to good use. It’s rare for annotation elements to be so well designed that they often look even better than the inspirational snap you’ve captured:
Because these annotations and graphics are stored as vectors, all changes are ‘non-destructive’. This means that it is always possible to move and undo edits, along with being given the option to display or hide annotations when exporting a screenshot. Something I’d like to see integrated is a dedicated key for showing/hiding annotations when viewing a snap – similar to pressing ‘M’ in Aperture to view the master version of a photograph.
If you start using LittleSnapper on a regular basis, it won’t take long to generate a fairly large and unwieldy set of screenshots and snippets. A number of features are built in to make organizing and browsing your inspiration a little easier. A sidebar can be expanded to add tags, ratings and category information to each snap:
The data you’re able to enter and search by includes:
- Category: Choose between Screenshot, Websnap, Photo, Illustration, Mockup and several more
- Tags: These allow you to create your own system for adding information. I like to tag by colour and webpage element (e.g. form, table etc) to make future searching simple.
- Rating: Certain sites are more memorable than others – ratings separate the wheat from the chaff
- Description: Space is available for a longer description if required
As with most modern OS X apps, you’re able to search all this information and create smart folders based upon a search result. I have several smart folders each automatically searching for a particular colour, along with organizing snaps by rating.
Why stop at a mere desktop application? LittleSnapper also integrates with a web service called QuickSnapper to allow easy sharing and uploading of your captures and annotations to the web. You can create a QuickSnapper account from within the app or, if you prefer, send uploads to your Flickr account or an FTP server of your choice:
Here’s an example of a screenshot uploaded and shared through QuickSnapper:
Moving a screenshot to an email or hard drive folder is just a case of dragging and dropping. You can set whether annotations are exported in the application preferences. Alternatively, it is possible to export to a particular image format or a PDF (which retains selectable text, gathered from the HTML code when the snap is captured).
Michael Wilson emailed to let us know a great tip for keeping your LittleSnapper library in sync between several computers:
When I first downloaded the demo of LittleSnapper I instantly thought it was a great idea that would help me to easily organise my web inspiration. The one thing that stopped me from buying a license for it and switching from Evernote was the lack of a sync facility. I do a lot of work both at home and in the office and didn’t want to be doing the same process twice every time I added a new image to a project gallery.
I was looking through the preferences for LittleSnapper and noticed the option to change where you save you LittleSnapper library file. This made me think of the other fabulous application that is Dropbox – a service offering 2GB of space that lives in the ‘cloud’. It’s very handy for keeping documents in that you wish to access from more than one computer. So I took the chance of choosing to save my LittleSnapper library inside my dropbox to see if this would then update on both of my computers and… voila – it worked a treat!
Limitations and Other Utilities
It’s fairly difficult to pick out the negative side of LittleSnapper. As mentioned previously, I’d like to have a dedicated key for showing a non-annotated version of a snap. In addition, it would be good to see integration with MobileMe (either as a simple upload method, or through creating some form of online gallery).
There are a few free tools which are able to re-create LittleSnapper’s functionality to an extent. Paparazzi is a screenshot tool capable of capturing full-page images of a site. Combining this with a simple image editing app and a sharing service such as Dropbox could lead to a decent free inspiration capture system. However, it would lack the finesse and style of LittleSnapper!
If LittleSnapper seems a little expensive, don’t worry – we’ll be giving a copy away within the next couple of weeks to two lucky readers.
There are a number of reasons I really like this app – it’s wonderfully designed, provides a host of features for capturing data, and has editing tools which look good enough to eat. A couple of areas could use a little more development, but I do struggle to find any significant flaws. If you have any gripes with the app, do let me know!
LittleSnapper is available on the Mac App Store.