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If you’re a blogger, graphic designer, or a content producer, you probably take more screenshots in a week than general computer users do all year. This is why Apple’s default image capture feature is no longer the smart time-saving solution for screenshot captures. Instead, I highly recommend the more robust application, Snappy.
Snappy is a free download in the Mac App Store and just $0.99 for iOS.
Image Capture Screenshots
Apple’s Image Capture has been around for a long while. Its ubiquitous Command+4 keyboard shortcut makes capturing screenshots a breeze. However, with Image Capture, your shots are saved directly to your desktop (unless you choose another location using a terminal hack) and from there you can rename the saved file. Image Capture, located in the Utilities folder, also has other features including full desktop timed capture.
Tip: When you want to capture a clean shot of an application window, simply place your cursor of the window, trigger the screen capture, hit the Space bar, and then click your mouse or trackpad to take the shot.
But beyond a simple capture, annotating Image Capture screen shots requires opening them in Preview. And if you want to review your captures, you have to either open a selected file in Preview, or you can briefly view a selected image file by hitting the Space key.
Image Capture is fine and dandy for occasional use, but if you want to supercharge your screenshots, Snappy provides many more solutions, especially for Mac users who need to save and reuse screenshots, share them, and/or add quick annotations to shots.
I’ve written an article and produced a video about Snappy, which mainly focuses on how to automate and control Snappy’s keyboard shortcut triggers using Dragon Dictate and BetterTouchTool. But that article sort of puts the horse before the cart. In this article I simply want to explain what Snappy can do why you should use it.
Snappy is available for the Mac and iOS devices, but this article will focus on the former version.
What makes Snappy unique is that when you use it to take a screenshot, it automatically opens the capture on your desktop so that you can review it.
Watch the short demo to see Snappy in action:
If you take screenshots on a regular basis, you should be very impressed with what you just saw. By immediately opening the screenshot, Snappy saves you from having to stop and open the capture using your mouse/trackpad or a shortcut.
Many times when you take a shot, you most likely need to review it because you’re either writing about what’s in the shot, or you’re preparing to share it via email or a social network.
You can elect to save a copy of a Snappy shot to your desktop, copy or print it, or share it to a selected social network or another supporting application, such as Notes, Evernote, Mail, Pocket, etc.
Snappy will also automatically name your screenshot based on the application or webpage in which you took the shot. For example, the shot I took in the above video got labeled, “iTunes iTunes, Today at 4.41.53 PM”. I’m not sure why it added an extra “iTunes” in the file name, but each screenshot does get a time stamp, which also makes each file name unique. Sometimes I might customize a file name if I’m using a shot for an article, but other times, the name is all I need to keep working and not having to stop and type a unique file name.
What I like most about Snappy is the ability to review screenshots after I take them. Probably about half of the shots I take are simply because I need to keep the capture information visible to me as I work on an article, troubleshoot a Mac issue, or save a shot to my desktop.
Snappy shots can be resized, deleted, closed, or temporally hidden. It’s quite easy to have several shots open at once, so you simply use the keyboard shortcut to hide or close them all at the same time.
One of the reasons I recommend Snappy over other screen shot applications is because it’s lightweight and easily available in the menu bar. You can initiate shots by clicking on the Snappy icon, and then clicking the gear button and selecting the type of shot you want to take. Or you can use the assigned hotkey. (Note: of course a Mac automator, you can also map Snappy hotkeys to other automation applications for faster triggering. See below for more information, and my previous article on Snappy.)
Snappy doesn’t have an option for taking full screenshots, or capturing a selected application window (though all you have to do is hit the Space bar after you initiate the capture in order to capture a window, instead of dragging the cursor to the edges of the window.)
Snappy also has what is called a Silent snap, which basically sends the screenshot directly to your Snappy Library, instead of opening it on the desktop.
Saving Snappy Screenshots
Because Snappy has hotkeys for nearly all its features, I have of course mapped those hotkeys to a finger gesture and a digital voice command.
While you can double-click on a Snappy shot to send it directly to your Snappy Library, you must manually use a hot-key to save a shot to the desktop. I wanted a way to save a shot using a finger gesture. So using the handy BetterTouchTool tool, I created a workflow that saves a selected Snappy shot directly to my desktop, simply using a 2 Finger Swipe Down.
I also use a few other screenshot applications, including Snagit, which has better annotation tools, and the screenshot feature in SuperTab, which allows for sending a shot directly to a pre-slected application, such as Preview or Photoshop.
There are several other solutions available in the Mac App Store. Let us know what solution you use and why. And let us know what you think of Snappy.
What redundant tasks would you like to automate on your Mac? Take this survey.
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