By themselves, almost every Mac graphic and design application has a built-in ruler, grid guides, and a loupe, so why would anyone need a standalone app that does much the same thing? Just as you can never have too many fonts, you can never have too many graphic design tools, especially one that measures distance.
Flexible Onscreen Rulers
Despite my terrific record at being able to see an image out of alignment by a single pixel on a large display connected to my Mac, I keep tools like FlexRuler on my Mac because, well, it does some very cool things.
Imagine being able to create a bunch on onscreen rulers in every size, attach grids as needed, even customize both color and transparency. That’s what FlexRuler does. It’s flexible, hence the name. Get it? OK. Moving on.
Rulers can be shaped into any rectangle anywhere on the screen. Each can have its own color and even the same color rulers can have a different transparency. Alignment grids are easily popped into place, and no onscreen graphic utility is truly complete unless it has a magnifying Loupe that captures pixel colors and helps with grid and ruler alignment.
Take a look.
Oddly, FlexRuler on the Mac App Store doesn’t give many feature details, but fortunately there’s a decent Vimeo video which walks through how to use the app in a variety of graphic layouts. There’s no free trial but the price tag remains within my zone of throwaway money.
Wait. There’s more.
If that app doesn’t do the trick to satisfy your need to measure pixel distances, there’s also Rulers which works kinda sorta mostly the same way except you can create m any rulers onscreen to measure multiple items at the same time.
Nice, right? Caveats? Oh yeah. While Rulers works it also appears to be abandonware and hasn’t been upgraded for a few years.
Anything else? Yes. I use xScope because it’s totally flexible, highly accurate, and far more of a professional measuring tool, but it’s priced like it, too, and that makes the other two appear like bargains, abandonware or not.
Or, you can check out version 17.0 of Ruler. It’s priced right and the onscreen rulers look exactly like, well, rulers. Real wood rulers. On the Mac’s screen.
Looks nice, right?
There are keyboard shortcuts to adjust the transparency so you can see objects behind the ruler, and they keyboard can be used to move the rulers around the screen, so one might consider this little utility to be something of a power app.
It is. If you don’t mind measuring in centimeters and inches.
I know, right?