Sometimes you want to show someone else what you’re looking at online. You can email her a link, post it on Facebook, or share it on Twitter. But sometimes, you need to show someone exactly what you’re seeing. Why? It might be because you see an error that someone else doesn’t see. Or, you might want to call attention to just part of a website, a program on your computer, or something else on your screen.
This is a classic case where you want to take a screenshot. Screenshots allow you to show someone else what you’re seeing. A few weeks ago, Adam showed Windows users how to take simple screenshots. Today, I want to show Mac users how to take screenshots and then annotate them.
OS X has a built-in screenshot program called Grab. It can handle both snapping a photo of your entire screen as well as what ever is within any given window. But I found Grab’s TIF default file format annoying, since if I want to upload my screenshot to Flickr, I’ve saved my screenshot in the largest file size possible. And if I then want to annotate my screenshot, I have to open the TIF in Photoshop or Fireworks.
Skitch is a free app that allows you to take screenshots, annotate them, and share them via the web all within the workings of one program.
Suppose, for example, that I wanted to point out to all you dear readers that DIY Ivory Tower is now listed on the UC Davis blogs page. I could link you to the page – http://blogs.ucdavis.edu/ I could also take a screenshot of the page (as seen above) or even just of the portion with mention of your favorite academic tech help site (as seen below).
And now with Skitch, I can also draw an arrow and comment on any part of the image.
The result is simple image annotation without having to use a resource heavy, expensive image editing program. Skitch allows you to draw from scratch, draw on top of existing images, annotate your images, and share them through a built-in upload feature. It’s light; it does not occupy many CPU or RAM resources, so your other programs continue to run smoothly while it is open. And, the basic version is free.
The free version supports .jpg and .png as well as a proprietary .skitch format. The signup process for the free program also creates a space online for the Skitch images you want to share with the public. You could always upload your images to Flickr, PicasaWeb, or any of your other favorite online image hosting services, but Skitch’s built-in service is convenient and simple.