Mac graphic professionals use a multitude of applications to get the job done. From Photoshop to Fireworks and a bunch of utilities in between, Mac graphic users know their tools. After 365 days of nearly daily use, allow me to proclaim xScope as the best Mac graphic tool money can buy.
In other words, if you don’t have xScope, use xScope, and recommend xScope to others are you really a Mac graphic professional? The same could be said of Adobe CS4, true. They’re the apps of choice among the pro crowd, Mac or Windows. xScope? It’s the little tool that does more than the sum of its parts.
Power Tools For Power Users
xScope is one of those rare, must-have utilities that combines a number of very common functions into one simple palette of tools.
Basically, there are seven major functions in xScope, all of which are familiar to graphic professionals and wannabes.
Even if you use Photoshop, Illustrator, or Fireworks, there are some needed functions which are more easily utilized away from the major apps.
For example, if you’re building a graphic for a web page, it’s helpful to calculate dimensions, or align graphics according to a guide, or magnify an element, or count pixels, or view different sizes.
It’s easier to to all that in xScope because it works over any application on your Mac.
xScope uses a floating palette as well as the Mac Menu Bar. Dimensions is the tool that lets you find the dimensions of anything on your Mac’s screen.
It calculates the distance between objects on the fly, then copies those dimensions to the clipboard, even letting you capture screen shots of your measured element. Try that in Photoshop.
Similar to dimension, Rulers is simply an onscreen ruler with adjustable vertical and horizontal lengths with full rotational range.
Rules can span across multiple displays for huge images, and can snap height, length, and rotation to specific increments. It’s the perfect way to measure pixels on your Mac’s screen.
Web designers need an easy way to see how a graphic or web page can be viewed in different screen sizes.
For example, a MacBook screen may not be as large, in pixels, as a MacBook Pro with a 17-inch display. Likewise, the new 27-inch iMacs have a lot of pixels.
Screens comes with pre-defined screen templates for Macs and Windows PCs, including templates for mobile phones and the iPhone. Custom area settings can be set for any operating system or any browser.
Magnifying an image in a graphic or web page is a 21st century requirement. Your Mac can magnify a screen quickly with a control-key click, and a scroll.
But Loupe will magnify instantly any portion of the screen under your mouse, display the color in RGB, HSB, or HEX, displays the coordinates, and lets you copy and paste all the data for pixel perfect measurements.
All major CS4 applications come with built-in guides, but xScope Guides float on top of everything else on your Mac’s screen.
Guides are displayed in pixels, are moveable, and can be saved for later use—including use on multiple displays.
Simplicity and elegance are the hallmarks of the crosshair function in any Mac graphic utility.
Crosshair in xScope can be set to any point on your Mac’s screen as the origin, then report the coordinates based on the position of the mouse cursor.
Frames creates preset grids to help you compose layouts on your Mac’s display. Marker boxes float on top of the screen and are adjustable.
Frames can be moved and edited on the fly, and display the aspect ration, width, and height in real time. And, Frames can be saved for later use.
Without question, xScope brings the Mac graphic pro a set of utilities, parts of which are found elsewhere, even within Adobe’s CS4 applications, but no single Mac tool covers all those functions and features in such an elegant package.
I consider xScope to be the most valuable tool among my many Mac graphic apps and utilities. No, I can’t live without CS4, but all Mac graphic applications see a productivity enhancement with xScope open and running alongside.