Mac OS X ships with a robust set of screenshot-taking capabilities. Not only can you take full-screen screenshots, but you can also capture individual interface elements (windows, menus, dialogs, and so on) or a selected area of the screen, or even take a timed snapshot. But if you make use of screenshots on a regular basis, you’ll likely find OS X’s built-in capabilities to be limiting. Realmac Software’s LittleSnapper picks up where the OS leaves off, giving you powerful tools to create better screenshots, arrange and archive them properly, and even upload them to the Web.
Besides allowing you to snap screenshots of the entire screen, individual application windows, and selected areas of the screen, LittleSnapper can also take timed screenshots and capture Web pages opened in Safari or in LittleSnapper’s built-in WebKit-based browser. You can access most of these functions using keyboard shortcuts or via a systemwide menu.
LittleSnapper’s slickly designed library window (shown in the image below) brings to mind iPhoto or iTunes. Each screenshot you take is automatically added to the library, where you can then proceed to rename, rate, tag, describe, and classify it. You can also import other images into the LittleSnapper library by dragging them onto the program’s Dock icon or into its window, or via the File -> Import Images command.
You can open and edit any image in the library using LittleSnapper’s editing tools; available actions include cropping, highlighting, blurring, and annotating. Edited images have a classy look to them, although I missed not having basic color-adjustment functionality like that provided by both iPhoto and Preview.
LittleSnapper shines when it comes to image management; the program provides a host of features for quickly finding images as your library grows. Basic categorization features allow you to define an image as a Desktop or iPhone screenshot, a Web page, a photograph, an illustration, a mockup, or an iSight capture. But you can also use tags, notes, ratings, and other features to create self-updating smart collections that work like smart folders in the Finder or smart playlists in iTunes. And a search filter lets you quickly search for a particular image.
You can also upload images directly to emberapp.com, LittleSnapper’s companion image-hosting and quasi-social-networking service. A free Ember account allows the uploading of up to thirty images per month, while the paid account ($24/year) allows unlimited uploads and includes free major-version upgrades for LittleSnapper.
I’ve been using LittleSnapper for a little over six months now, and though the earliest releases had some teething troubles, the program has become my de facto utility for taking and sharing screenshots. While there are a few minor features I would love to see added—Twitter integration, for starters—I’m pleased with the application on the whole. LittleSnapper’s user interface displays a level of finesse, found only in the best of Mac software, that makes the program a joy to use. At $35, it may not be suitable for casual users, but for those who make frequent use of screenshots, LittleSnapper packs a solid punch for the price.
Updated 9/17/2009, 2:43pm The original version of this review incorrectly stated that you could not import images via drag-and-drop. This has been corrected.
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