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Published May 20, 2020 Updated May 26, 2020
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PixelSnap

While CleanShot is my primary screen capture tool, I often need to measure screen dimensions, distance, and/or alignment too. PixelSnap fills this gap perfectly and operates with only a few key strokes.

Prior to discovering PixelSnap, I had been using xScope which I found decent but suffered from a busy user interface, cumbersome toolset, and heavy reliance on the mouse.

With PixelSnap, you can remain focused on getting things done.

Features

Here’s what I like most about PixelSnap:

  • Next to Zero UI - Primary interaction is via keyboard shortcuts or the menu icon. When enabled, your mouse is enhanced with crosshairs for capturing images, measuring distance/dimensions, building up makeshift grids, etc.

  • Speed - The speed at which you can capture or measure an image is a boon to productivity. Enabling or disabling PixelSnap takes only a key stroke.

  • CleanShot Integration - PixelSnap excels at auto-snapping to the object you are trying to capture, and, when enabled, you can queue or immediately edit the captured image for further processing.

For more details, check out the product video:

Install

For those using Homebrew, run:

brew cask install pixelsnap

The above, along with complete machine automation, is provided via the macOS Configuration project. Otherwise, you can download the app directly from your Gumroad account.

Preferences

The following explores the customization of PixelSnap, the settings I use, and what I find most helpful.

General

General

The middle section of these settings is worth discussing a bit more:

  • Clipboard Format - I use this feature regularly to quickly capture dimensions to the clipboard. Using only the raw numbers for width and height is the most flexible for my workflow, but the settings can be changed to yield dimensions in CSS or SASS syntax.

  • Units - Making units visible, while measuring, provides additional context is and helpful when screensharing with others.

  • Freeze Screen - Worth enabling, this feature gives you the time needed to capture/measure an object on a busy screen.

Screenshots

Screenshots

By now, you’ll have read my article on CleanShot and I’ve hopefully convinced you to buy it. If not, then maybe this article will push you over the line.

Once you have captured an image via PixelSnap, that image can be immediately sent to CleanShot for further editing. This feature alone is worth the money. I use this integration all the time to snap icons for illustration purposes and/or wire up Alfred Workflows to various services I need to jump between. This used to be a time-consuming task for me, but is now a breeze.

Tolerance

Tolerance

I’ve kept the defaults for the most part. Sometimes I play with the default tolerance, but I’m still exploring what works and doesn’t work here. Your mileage may vary.

Appearance

Appearance

Again, I haven’t found a reason to change the defaults yet. I like the automatic switching of contrast based on the color of the image under measurement.

Shortcuts

Shortcuts

The above shows only the first listed shortcuts but here’s a more specific breakdown of what I’m using:

Global

  • CONTROL + OPTION + COMMAND + p - Launches PixelSnap.

Screenshots

  • S: Take a screenshot.

  • C: Copy screenshot to clipboard.

  • COMMAND + S: Open screenshot tool.

Tolerances

  • =: Increase tolerance.

  • -: Decrease tolerance.

  • T: Toggle tolerance.

Guides

  • H: Add horizontal guide.

  • V: Add vertical guide.

  • SHIFT + H: Switch to horizontal guide (click to add).

  • SHIFT + V: Switch to vertical guide (click to add).

  • OPTION: Toggle color.

  • SHIFT: Crosshair mode.

  • ENTER: Copy dimensions to clipboard.

Cursor

  • : Move cursor left 1px.

  • : Move cursor right 1px.

  • : Move cursor down 1px.

  • : Move cursor up 1px.

  • SHIFT ←: Move cursor left 10px.

  • SHIFT →: Move cursor right 10px.

  • SHIFT ↓: Move cursor down 10px.

  • SHIFT ↑: Move cursor up 10px.

Price

PixelSnap is $39 for a single license but has discounts if used with CleanShot.

License

Licensing is through Gumroad where you can buy single or multi-use licenses and download your copy of the software.

Maintenance

Updates are released roughly every couple of months. Like CleanShot, PixelSnap has a syndicated feed…​and suffers from the same issues as CleanShot in terms of duplicate entires.

Conclusion

If you have a need for an excellent screen measurement tool with a minimal UI and great keyboard shortcuts that’s heavy on efficiency, then PixelSnap might be the tool for you. I’ve not come across anything that beats this yet, especially when combined with CleanShot. Enjoy!