Skitch makes it easy to annotate pics

Though Skitch has apparently been around for a while now I didn't hear about it until I saw a Merlin Mann's video on how he has his Mac desktop set up. For those that don't follow Merlin's stuff you really should.

Since I tend to write about software that I find for my Mac quite a bit I drop in a lot of screen shots. Since Macs have an excellent built in screen capture capability I often just used that, pushing Command-Shift-4 to activate it and drop the resulting capture as a PNG on my desktop. I would then take the PNG and load it up into my graphics editor (usually GIMP), then crop or edit the image. If I wanted to annotate the image with highlights or callouts I would use the line drawing tools which were a bit of a challenge.

This is where Skitch really shines. You can capture an image just as easily as with the built in Mac capture tools but this give you an editable surface that allows you to quickly crop, resize and annotate the image with really simple tools.

I won't go into too much more detail because Michael Warf created a really excellent little video a while back walking through the features of Skitch, including the picture sharing that's included with the service:

Skitch Video Review from Michael Warf on Vimeo.

On top of all this Skitch is free. If you know of a better solution for screen capture than what I'm getting with Skitch please drop a note in the comments below.


Chris Bulow said...

You may want to check the fact that the 2idi system isn't working at the moment, so you'll get no emails, not even spams :)

Suggest you use Gmail instead which with offline mode now available would mean that people don't have to jump thru' hoops to comment on your blogs :)

Godfrey said...

Skitch is great, I use it all the time :)
And I am also using it as a replacement for "mspaint" when I have to sketch something real quick. You can get a blank page by command-N, and then you can change the size by dragging the corners like how you crop. I find it most useful when I'm taking notes with pages cause it's much easier to draw stuff in skitch than pages - you can just drag it into page after you're done. Also, just in case you don't know, everything is saved under "History" so you can always re-open your skitches and edit the stuff in there.
One of the best mac programs around - super easy to use and just works. The only "improvement" I'd like to see is that I wish I could just drag the "share" button after it's done uploading, so that I won't have to open up my browser just the grab the link.

Godfrey said...

Actually, there is one more thing. I sometimes wishes there's an easy way to capture a full-length screen shot for a web page even if its content is too long for my screen. LittleSnapper ( can do just that and it seems to be more optimized for capturing web pages when compared to skitch. But hey, skitch is free ;)

Chris Bulow said...

and even more unhelpfully, the "Contact Us" page insists on a valid 2idi address, which you can't get 'cos the Register page isn't working... (repeat, ad infinitum) :)

David Alison said...

@Chris Bulow: Sorry about that man - didn't know 2idi was having an issue. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail at dralison at gmail.

I do allow anonymous comments on this blog, which is the least restrictive way I can do it.

@Godfrey: Interesting tip on the Command-N to effectively clear off the workspace to start over. I also love the line smoothing it does when working with the pencil; very cool.

SimpleLife said...

Oooh, vedy, vedy nice. . . . Gotta try Skitch out now.

I've been using the free and light Live Quartz which is a good for simple graphical brush ups, and is the best free app for adding super precise text box layers, but Skitch might be better for making annotation boxes.

Patrick Melton said...


Skitch is great when I need to annotate or modify a screen shot or image quickly. It's export features are great, too - simply drag!

My all-time favorite screenshot app is GrabUp - I don't know if you've seen this or not, but it's absolutely amazing. I use it several times a day. The free version works fine, but if you have your own web server (and I have a feeling you do), you can get the pro version very affordably.

Basically, it replaces the built in screenshot functions in OS X. With a keystroke, GrabUp takes the screenshot, uploads it, and copies the URL to your clipboard, where you can then just paste to someone in an IM or email. I use it so many times a day, I don't even think about it. A little daemon runs in your menu bar with a small history of recent shots, and other options. All the standard shots work - Shift+Command+4 lets you draw a box for your shot, hitting space after Shift+Command+4 lets you capture one window only (with drop shadow!), and Shift+Command+3 is a full screen shot.

It's a lifesaver if you communicate online with people and need to show them things constantly!

David Alison said...

@Patrick Melton: Thanks for the tip on GrabUp. I'd never heard of it but I like that concept.

Anonymous said...

If you are stuck using windows, Snagit is very similar and works well.