Skitch: a free screen capture tool for Mac

When I (happily) switched to Mac some months ago, I had to find a proper replacement to the set of software tools I used to rely on in a Windows environment. It has not been painful but I must say that I missed very much FastStone, the freeware screen capture tool that I also reviewed in a previous article.

Recently, while I was looking for a wireframing tool for a web project I am involved in, I had the chance to test a lovely piece of software named Skitch, an image sharing and screen capture utility, that really impressed me for its user friendliness and pack of features.

If you want to test it (highly recommended) you have to sign up for an account on the Skitch’s website, and download the desktop client. The application consists of a small resizable window and all the tools you will need are placed on its borders under the form of buttons and toolbars.

You can load an image into Skitch via the menu or simply by dragging and dropping it into the main window. The image can then be annotated, edited, saved and shared with your friends via the Skitch’s website or through another webservice (like Twitter, Mobile Me or Flickr), a discussion forum, an email message, an instant message and so on.

But where Skitch really rocks is when you need to take screenshots.

Using your mouse and the command, option and shift keys you can easily snap the entire screen or a portion of it, a window or the Skitch’s window itself. You can also take snapshots through your webcam and then save the image locally or on your Skitch web account in the desired format (jpg, png, gif, bmp, svg, tif, …).

The images and screenshots can be easily resized simply by dragging one of the main window’s corners and cropped by dragging the image’s borders. Clicking on the “drag me” tab placed on the lower border of the application window you can drag the image and drop it practically everywhere: in a mail message, in a chat window, in an open document, on the desktop, ….

Your Skitch account can be easily configured to post images directly to other web services like Twitter and Flickr and you will also have a maildrop address in order to post images by any device that can send an email. The images can be sent directly to your Twitter account (with the image URL automatically converted in a tiny URL) if you send them to maildrop_address+twitter @ (read here for more details).

Through the history button you can access directly the images and screenshots you saved both on your hard disk and web space.

Skitch is developed by a team of smart people led by Cris Pearson and Keith Lang two of the original founders of Plasq (the company that developed Comic Life), and it’s Mac only software. If you want a freeware screen capture tool that can work in a Windows environment you can try FastStone or, for a set of features similar to Skitch, Jing (Windows and Mac).

For deeper feeling of Skitch’s look and feel and feature-pack or simply to see it in action, take a look at the introductory video.

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5 comments… add one
  • Thanks very much for the kind words and review!

    Just wanted to add a small correction, that Skitch is the product of not only two, but quite a number of people who Cris and I are lucky enough to work with. We’re really glad you’re finding Skitch useful and always appreciate feedback.


  • alfpace

    Thanks to you for your comment Keith
    I edited the post accordingly. Keep up with the great work on Skitch.

  • nitro3

    mm…nice suggestion, as for me I use Macvide ScreenCap

  • Brian Davis

    I love Skitch, so easy to use. One question: the Export of the finished work seems to have a white border around the image. Any way to eliminate or at least change the color of the border? I am creating favicon.ico and need all the pixels I can get.

    Thank you.

  • Hi,I’m using Mac since last month. I only feel that I lost 13 years of not enjoying the real competur experience.I don’t know it’s coincidence or what..but just yesterday i downloaded Skitch.Yes, it’s awesome! The place where I’ve read about skitch, also mentioned Snugit as an alternative for PC. I never used it on PC, because it’s not free.The best screen shot program is by Faststone. It used to be free. I tried all of them, at least 10-12. that’s the best.BTW, I saw your post on Lynn Terri forum.

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