Peter Friese

Developer Advocate / Mobile Developer / Public Speaker

Mac in Black: Taking Screenshots With Skitch

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Last week, Heiko, Jan and I were talking about blogging about the tools that make our lifes easier on the Mac. “Isn’t the Mac supposed to be making your life easier anyway?” you might ask. Well, most things really are easy with a Mac. However, there are some things that cannot be done easily with a Mac. More often than not, this is due to the fact that Apple tries to hide the complexity of computers from nosy users. Which is fine for beginners – but makes life harder for the pros. Thankfully, there is a vast array of tools out there that fill the gap and make life on a Mac easier.

I am going to try to post one tool recommendation per week – unless I am on vacation or speaking at a conference.

So without further ado, here is the first tool: Skitch!

Skitch is a tool that helps you to create screenshots. I need to create lots of screenshots: for documentation, to explain things to people by mail, and to annotate my bug reports. Of course, Mac OSX has several shortcuts to create screenshots, so what’s the deal about Skitch?

First of all, Skitch allows you to view and edit your screenshot: press CMD+SHIFT+5, select the capture area and voilĂ  – Skitch opens a window showing the screenshot just taken: [

Skitch itself


You can now use the tools at the left hand side of the Skitch window to highlight certain areas of the screenshot, which comes on handy if you’re filing a bug report for your favorite open source tool.

When you’re done with editing, you can either drag the image to another application (using the “drag me” tab at the bottom of the window) or you can post the image to the web. I have set up Skitch to use my Flickr account, so I can use the images in other tools right away (I am writing my blog posts in Mars Edit, which has a great Flickr integration, so I’ve got a complete tool chain here). Skitch supports a number of file formats (JPG, SVG, PDF, TIF, GIF, BMP and native Skitch), so you can select the desired file format before sending the image to the web or dragging it to another application.

All images are also stored in a local history, so if you need to go back to one of the screenshots you took a while ago, no problem with Skitch.

Skitch really has made my life on my Mac easier because it integrates with other tools (both online and offline) so well and because it eliminates many steps that made dealign with screenshots so cumbersome before.

You can download Skitch beta from You will be asked to sign up, however, both the download and the software will work without registering.

Happy screen shooting :–)