The school where I work is populated by many hundreds of Macs and PCs (and these days, an increasing number of mostly useless Chromebooks). Graphic design apps are popular with the Mac students and faculty, including this must-have utility.
Yes, Photoshop, Illustrator, and GraphicConverter are used by many on the Mac, but all too often students are forced to get by on lesser apps, some of which don’t have all the functions that budding graphic designers and students want and need. I know a number of graphic designers outside the school, and by my unofficial and non-scientific count, they all use this Mac graphics utility, too.
Scope It Out
Nearly every feature found in the latest version of xScope can be found in a number, if not most, Mac graphic design apps. The difference is that these useful tools are in a single app, a single location, a single interface. xScope has been around for years and is popular among those in the Mac using graphic design community.
Why? Let me run down the quick list of what’s built-in. It starts with a floating palette of tools that you can move anywhere on the Mac’s screen– Text, Dimensions, Screens, Loupe, Guides, Frames, Crosshair.
First, xScope makes it easy to find the dimensions of any element on a Mac’s screen. The built-in magnifying loupe blows up a section of the Mac’s screen to make it easy to find a pixel and copy the color.
Second, xScope comes with screen guides that float on top of the screen, vertical and or horizontal, regardless of the frontmost app. The crosshairs tool makes it child’s play to locate and align any point on the screen. Rulers make it easy to measure items, including scaling and rotation.
Third, frames. Right on the Mac’s screen, over anything else visible, you can create, layout, and adjust customizable marker boxes that float over other elements. How does xScope do all this? From a floating menubar, or from the Mac’s Menubar. And, multiple tools can be used at once.
What’s new in the latest version? Plenty, actually. Every component gets a few new features. For example, Mirror features AirPlay mirroring. Dimensions has an option to adjust edge detection sensitivity.
Rulers can be synchronized with two independent rules on screen, and keyboard shortcuts make it easy to adjust rules by degrees. Screens now has an option to de-Retinize so you can see a graphic look on a regular Mac display.
xScope’s functions often are found inside other Mac graphic apps and design tools, but the interface varies for each one, and not every third party graphic design app has the same tools. xScope gives you a single, familiar user interface which can be used within any app on the Mac, and isn’t limited to graphic design tools.