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Quick Tip: Speed up your Productivity Using 'Screen Capture' in Mac OS X

In an ever-increasing world of emailed documents and cloud computing, one thing is for certain: The tree population can breathe a sigh of relief because paper is becoming obsolete.

I see this more and more as a freelancer that works from his home. Where I used to get contracts in the mail, I now get contracts in my email. Where I used to receive notation from music clients, I now get PDFs. Even real estate agents don't have physical brochures anymore, they just send PDFs too.

But, wasn't it nice when we used to get pieces of paper, and we could cut out parts that we wanted to draw attention to, or highlight said parts, etc, etc?

In this quick tip, I'd like to reintroduce you to screen capturing on the Mac. Not so much as a 'how to', there are tons of tutorials out there for that. These are just a few ideas for you that might brighten your creativity, productivity and lifestyle.

Document Splicing

You may run in to moments where you are working in Pages, Word or Numbers, etc. where you remember that you have an excellent flowchart for a meeting you have coming up that would be very helpful in this document. You decide to copy the chart in to the document, from another document. However, the sizing in this document and setup is very different from the other document. Even when you try doing "Paste and Match Style.." it still doesn't look right.

Try doing Shift+Command+4 to do a selective screenshot of your flow chart. This will make life easier, because you're converting a particular bit of coded work in to a simple JPG, that can be resized however you like.

To do it:

Step 1

Hold down Shift+Command+4, your cursor will turn in to a crosshair, like this...

Step 2

Drag the crosshair over the area that you want to capture.

Step 3

Locate your screen shot on the desktop. It's name will start with 'Picture'. I've done several today, as you can see.

Step 4

Now, drag the screen shot in to your Pages, Numbers, or Word document and resize it to the appropriate size. This speeds up the process of integrating graphics!

Quick Photo Resize

Join a new dating website and need a quick pic of the old noggin' to dazzle the women (or men)? However, when you find the perfect pic of you, you notice your old flame is in the picture? Sure, you can edit this in iPhoto or Photoshop. However, if you're in a hurry, why not do a selective screen capture.

Repeat the steps above with your favorite pic in iPhoto, Safari, or wherever your picture lies.

Wait, did I say Safari? Yep, Safari does not stop you from taking screen shots. You could even do a Google Search for yourself, find the perfect image and screen shot it right from the Google Image Search!

Sure, you can always go to the website, 'Save Image As...'. But this is much faster. Shift+Command+4 and drag. Granted, it will be a lower resolution than the original, but if you just need a quick snip, this is perfect.

There are even more creative applications for screen capturing out there. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Try implementing Shift+Command+4 in to your regular routine. I guarantee you'll love it!

Also, there are also applications out there like Grab (in your Applications/Utility/  folder) and Snapz Pro, that take screen capturing to a whole new level, with additional features that make the process much more fun and productive.

There's so much more to screen capturing on a Mac. Check out Mac OS 10.6 201 Advanced Snow Leopard for all the in's and out's.

G.W. Childs IV

G.W. Childs IV | Articles by this author

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like LucasArts, Lucasfilm, Propellerheads, Cakewalk, Midway, MTV. With all of these exciting companies he's either worked as an editor, or sound designer, even sometimes as an actor. G.W. is currently working as an author for Cengage Publishing. He has written the titles 'Creating Music and Sound for Video Games', 'Rewire: Skill Pack', and 'Using Reason on Stage: Skill Pack'. As a musician G.W. has played for years in the band Soil & Eclipse on COP International Records. Additionally, he's worked as a remix artist for acts like Gene Loves Jezebel, Ray Charles, James Brown, Chiazm, Razed in Black, and more.


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