Skitch: suddenly, screenshots are simpler

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Funny thing – I was just thinking yesterday how unnecessarily complex it is to illustrate one of these posts with a screenshot, especially a cropped and annotated one. Grab the shot (either to the clipboard or my hard drive), fire up Photoshop, make my changes, save the screenshot in a web-friendly format, upload it to the Social Signal site... blecch.

I mean, I love you people, and there's nothing I wouldn't do for our readers... but that's a lot of effort. And I'm an innately lazy person.

Apparently the folks at Plasq know some innately lazy people, too, who have served as the inspiration for their latest project (Mac only, as far as I can tell): Skitch.

If you've recently bought a Mac, you probably know Plasq from the brilliant Comic Life application that came bundled with your new computer. It's an elegant, intuitive and fabulously addictive way to turn your photos (or other digital graphics) into comic book pages.

Take the same simple but powerful approach to interface design, apply it to the challenge of screenshots for bloggers, add a little file hosting (more on that in a moment) and you've got Skitch, which is now in beta.

Skitch lets you take quick and easy screenshots – full screen, an individual window, a marquee selection – that you then annotate, mark up, resize and otherwise alter, before clicking a button that uploads it to the Skitch server and opens a corresponding page in your browser.

Click one of the buttons on that page, and the code to embed the image is copied to your clipboard, ready to be dropped into your blog post.

And that's it. You've never even had to glance at a dialog box or browse your hard drive.

If you don't like the thought of your image being hosted on Skitch's server, don't worry: you can enter FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, .mac or Flickr info in Skitch's preferences. And if you insist on going old-school and saving it to your hard drive (who does that any more?) Skitch will let you do that too.

A few quibbles: Skitch is no Photoshop, and your tools are very, very limited – but they do a lot within those limits. The inability to transform annotations (other than text) once they're on the image is annoying at first... except that it's so easy to create new ones, a do-over isn't as irritating as you'd think. Conspicuous by its absence from the list of supported file formats is the venerable GIF, but I'll get over it.

Especially since it was literally less than 24 hours between my reflecting on how much of a pain screenshots can be, and Plasq inviting me to the Skitch beta. Even if they never get around to integrating that level of telepathic responsiveness into Skitch, it's going to be a great little tool.


Merf says

August 26, 2007 - 7:14pm
Hi, If you have any Skitch invites left, I'd really appreciate one. Thanks a lot !

Rob Cottingham says

August 26, 2007 - 10:42pm
Happy to! I just need your email address.

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