There are many tools (apart from the major ones like Photoshop and Illustrator) that are essential to my design and development workflow. Some of them, including Skala and Colors, serve simple but important functions. Others, such as LittleIpsum, Characters, and CloudApp can be used for development and performing basic tasks on a daily basis.
SnapRuler is a very simple menu bar app that does two things well: It measures things on your screen and magnifies them. Sure, there are a lot of apps out there that can perform these actions, but what sets SnapRuler apart is it’s powerful (yet hidden) tools. When measuring with the onscreen crosshair, you just have to hold Shift and the outlines will snap to the closest object (boxed or rounded). This allows you to not only measure it with pixel-precision, but also copy the CSS/HTML/JS formatted width and height to the clipboard. That feature alone is worth a download, but there’s more. You can also take screenshots with SnapRuler.
When this feature is coupled with the snapping capabilities, it lets you take screenshots of certain sections of an interface, or bring a stray pixel to a fellow designer’s attention.
I do have a few gripes with SnapRuler. First, there isn’t a way to change the directory where screenshots are saved. Also, you can’t change the size and/or shape of the magnifying loupe. These issues aren’t major, but they can be a pain, especially if you don’t use the default ‘Pictures’ folder like me.
There isn’t much to say about SnapRuler’s design, other than it’s there when needed and out of the way when its not. The look, however, is a balance between light and dark greys. Drop shadows are used to give the text a letterpress feel and the boxes a “lift.” There is also a subtle fading animation when you toggle the measuring mode on and off, and although I wish it was shorter, I’ve never experienced the app freezing up because of it.
As for the interface, the app icon and menu bar icon are optimized for retina displays, but not the other portions of the app (namely the tooltips and text). But hopefully that will be fixed in a future update.
SnapRuler is a very useful app. I don’t know of any designer who wouldn’t need to use it at least once a day, whether they’re working on an interface, refining a font, or coding up a design. If you’re as excited about SnapRuler as I am, you should check it out on the Mac App Store. At a price of $9.99, it’s not exactly an impulse buy, but one that you won’t regret.