Two Six Code
March 14, 2010

Annotate Screenshots Natively in Mac OS X

Screenshots can be handy things. Before I made the switch to Mac I used to use Greenshot or Fireshot. But in Mac OS X its as easy as ⌘⇧4. However, sometimes a screenshot isn’t enough and you need a clarifying arrow or label to really convey your message. There are some 3rd party applications that can help, but you can do it quickly, simply, and for free using Preview.

  1. Take your screenshot. ⌘⇧4 will capture a region, if you press the spacebar it will toggle to capture a chosen window instead. If you want the whole screen its ⌘⇧3. For a timed screenshot (to capture something that requires the mouse) use Grab.
  2. Open the screenshot (it will be on your desktop as a .png file) with Preview.
  3. Click the Annotation button in the toolbar. You can choose from circle, rectangle, arrow, and text. Add them in, resize and move as needed.In Snow Leopard go to Tools > Annotate or press ⌘⇧A

It works great and is very quick. My only beef is that the default text is huge and centered, but you can reformat it by pressing ⌘T (Tools > Show Fonts).


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