Hands on with Skitch 1.0, the best screenshot app for Mac
There's no shortage of screenshot apps out there, but for many Mac users Skitch has been an indispensable tool since its release in 2007. The Skitch team must have been working overtime recently, because years of beta status have finally come to a close with the release of version 1.0 -- which follows the recent redesign of Skitch.com. Along with the newly redesigned interface and added features for the free app, Skitch Plus has now been made available on a yearly subscription basis. The Plus offering, while not necessary to make the app or site useful, does add some nice functionality that would certainly be tempting for the price.
The free version of Skitch allows for screenshots in JPEG, PNG and Skitch's own '.skitch', while others have (sadly) been disabled. There are 5 quality settings for JPEG captures, and the .skitch format allows for other Skitch users to manipulate any drawings or text that may have been added to the image as markup by the person who sent it to them. The Plus subscription enables TIFF, SVG, PDF, BMP and GIF file types for your captures. Also included in the subscription version are extended editing options (like rotation), and the long-awaited ability to snap a screenshot of an entire webpage.
The free version still has the original screenshot capabilities of snapping a whole application window, snapping with crosshairs, snapping the entire screen, and finally snapping the Skitch app itself (see above image). Aside from the ability to snap the full-length of Web pages, the biggest addition to the subscription version of the app has to be the custom font tool, which allows users to choose from their Mac's own font library for the text markup tool.
One of the best functions in Skitch has always been the ability to open image files already saved on your Mac, adding markup to them, and either re-saving them or sharing via the Web-interface. This hasn't changed with the transition to 1.0, but anybody who had been using enabled beta versions of the app until now will lose the ability to open subscription-only file types without getting Plus.
Skitch's Web-interface got a makeover last month, so many users may already be aware of the added sharing and sorting tools. For those that aren't, it's bound to be a pleasant surprise. Skitch accounts have been made fully social, allowing users to make profiles, follow their friends, and mark public images uploaded by others as favorites. The dashboard has also been completely revamped to allow for a quick overview of the account.
Users can now add tags to images as well as group them in named sets. There are three distinct privacy options for both sets and images, and any image within a set will abide by its own privacy settings if they happen to be higher than those of the set. Skitch users can now also upload images directly to the site, bypassing the need to be at their own computer.
My personal favorite closed-beta function, the ability to share with a shortened skit.ch mini link, has been made available to all users. Other options include the direct sharing to Facebook, Twitter, or sent directly to Evernote.
There are still a few bugs to work out, but the new social side of Skitch.com is tastefully done, and could even be seen as pragmatic -- after all, the point of screenshots, and even more so, screenshots with markup, is usually about sharing to begin with, right? At the very least, nearly all features of any real weight are available in the free version of Skitch, so you can make good use of it all even if your new Macbook Pro set you back more than you're willing to admit. If, on the other hand, you want the added functionality (and removed ads) of the Plus subscription, it's currently priced at $14.99 per year, which isn't bad at all.