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Evernote for Mac Gets Direct Skitch Integration

Evernote and Skitch

Evernote and Skitch

With a new version released today, Evernote has updated its Mac app to include a brand new communication layer with Skitch, the company’s image/document annotation and sharing tool.

When Evernote acquired Skitch in the summer of 2011, I wondered how they would manage to deeply integrate the two apps in a way that would make storing a note and annotating it a seamless experience. In the past two years, Evernote focused on revamping its desktop and iOS clients and on launching a new version of Skitch with Evernote integration – meaning that Skitch could sync notes to Evernote, and those notes would show up inside an Evernote notebook with inline previews and changes, but Evernote couldn’t direct plug into Skitch for further editing. Here’s what I wrote in 2011:

According to Evernote, the engineers at the two companies will be working closely in the coming months to deeply integrate Skitch and Evernote with each other, as right now the only way to let the apps communicate on a Mac is by annotating an image in Skitch, and manually drag it into Evernote. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the app gained a feature to push annotations to Evernote’s cloud to avoid drag & drop — considering the app is coming to mobile devices, this has been certainly considered by the Evernote team.

Users could drag and drop images between Evernote and Skitch, but that would result in duplicate files and wasted storage space – an issue that was exacerbated by iOS’ inferior sharing capabilities and limited “Open In” menu. In short, it always struck me as unusual that Evernote couldn’t figure out a way to let its apps “talk” to each other, avoiding manual interaction in favor of simple, intuitive inter-app communication that treated Evernote as a storage space and browser, and Skitch as an editor.

Today’s Evernote 5.2 for Mac does exactly this, and quite admirably as well. I have been testing the new version, which has gained a new Skitch button in the note editor that allows you to send any note – either as text, image, or combination of both – directly to Skitch for editing. When you’re done annotating in Skitch, you can send a file back to Evernote – and not just back to Evernote’s cloud, but back to the Evernote app itself, which will automatically come in the foreground again, showing the new version of an image/document already inside a note. Read more


Skitch 2.6: Effortless Annotations

Today, Evernote has announced a few new ways to interact with Skitch, an app that makes it easy to visually communicate ideas with text, shapes, and sketches. The latest set of updates are focused on improving annotations — how easy they are to make and how fast to get to them.

Starting an adjustable canvas, Skitch 2.6 lets you add margins to an image or screenshot. The extra whitespace next to an image will give you some extra room to add instructions or elaborate on an idea. You can simply click the + sign on any edge to add extra space, or let the canvas resize itself as you draw a shape past the image’s edge. You also have the option to resize the canvas yourself with the Crop/Resize tool.

Perhaps my favorite addition to Skitch are the improvements made to shapes. By simply holding the shift key, you can draw perfect circles and squares, while arrows and lines will snap into place at 45 degree angles. This works with handles when rotating and editing drawn shapes as well. And shapes can now be drawn to a much smaller size if you’re looking to annotate something with pinpoint accuracy.

The last set of features makes getting to annotations and returning to them later easier than ever. For taking screenshots, you can now turn off the advanced options panel by unchecking its setting in Skitch’s preferences. Then for saving your images, Skitch will let you save in a new kind of re-editable PNG file. You can embed these images into documents just like you would with any ordinary PNG, but Skitch PNGs can be re-opened and edited for correcting annotations or adding a second opinion.

Sktich 2.6 is available to download from the Mac App Store.

[via Evernote Blog]


Skitch 2.5 Adds PDF Annotations

Skitch

Skitch

Skitch, the image annotation and sharing tool that Evernote acquired in the summer of 2011, has today been updated on iOS to include support for PDF annotations. I have been testing the new feature for the past few months, and, while not as full-featured as a dedicated PDF annotation app, I believe it is a solid addition to Skitch. Read more


Skitch For Mac Updated with FTP, Custom Styles, More Sharing Options

I like Skitch. However, after the move to Evernote and the release of a new Mac app, Skitch didn’t exactly go through a “smooth” transition. Namely, features were removed, and existing Skitch users weren’t thrilled with the new Evernote-only nature of the software. Last month, Evernote published a blog post detailing how, after receiving lots of feedback from their users, they decided removing functionalities people had become dependent upon was a bad move. For the past few weeks, I have been testing the 2.0.3 update to Skitch for Mac, which brings back many of the features that made the original Skitch one of my favorite Mac apps.

A feature that I’ve been using on a daily basis is FTP support. In Skitch 1.0, you could take a screenshot, quickly annotate it, and send it off to your own server via FTP. I share a lot of screenshots, and I like the combination of an easy-to-use image annotation app with my own server and my own URLs. FTP integration was the right balance between Skitch’s annotations (which I prefer to Apple’s ones in Preview) and the power of putting images on a server that’s only mine. Skitch 2.0.3 adds a new FTP/sFTP option in the Sharing tab of the Preferences, allowing you to configure multiple FTP accounts. The configuration is similar to other FTP clients for Mac (you’ll find the usual Base URL, port, and directory settings) and it took me a minute to set up with my credentials.

Once configured, you’ll be able to send images from Skitch directly to your FTP server. Unfortunately, there’s no option to assign keyboard shortcuts to a specific FTP account, so you’ll have to click on Share > FTP or right-click an image to upload via FTP. Personally, I’ve set up a Keyboard Maestro macro that uses AppleScript GUI scripting to let me share via FTP easily with just a keystroke.

An updated sharing menu is available both from the menu bar and the Skitch image editor. From the latter, an arrow in the upper right corner reveals a dropdown menu with options for email, Messages, Twitter, Facebook, and iPhoto. You can also set a picture as desktop background, or set the kind of link that you want to generate from Skitch. More ways to share Skitch links now include direct image URL, HTML code, HTML thumbnails, and forum code. In addition to more sharing options, the new Skitch comes with an Auto Copy feature as well, allowing you to automatically place a link to a Skitch image (shared publicly) in the clipboard.

Aside from various improvements and bug fixes, other features I like include timed screenshots and custom styles. In the tools palette of the editor, you can now set a custom color for your annotations, choose between preset sizes from the same color swatch, or define your own size by manually adjusting the blue dots of the marquee around text and shapes. For me, this alone is a welcome improvement that is still easy to use and doesn’t add complexity to the editing interface of Skitch. I don’t use this functionality with Skitch, but version 2.0.3 introduces timed screenshots, letting you perfectly time areas to capture with a countdown timer.

I’m looking forward to more updates from the Evernote team on Skitch. After a series of initial missteps – possibly dictated by a need to release the app – it’s good to see features coming back, sometimes in different forms, to Skitch, which remains my favorite app for screenshot annotations on the Mac. Skitch 2.0.3 is available today on Evernote’s website.


FTP Support, Short URLs, And Other Features Coming Back To Skitch

FTP Support, Short URLs, And Other Features Coming Back To Skitch

In a post published on the Evernote blog, Skitch co-founder Keith Lang has shared a bit of backstory regarding Evernote’s acquisition of the product and confirmed many old features of Skitch will be coming back “soon”.

I am really excited about the newest release of Skitch for Mac, but troubled by some of the negative reaction from some of our oldest and most loyal users. After thinking about this for the past few weeks, I’ve come to the realization that we’ve underestimated how deeply ingrained Skitch had become in many people’s daily workflows and how disruptive changes to the product could be. I’d like you to know that we’re going to fix it.

Skitch, an image annotation tool, was released as version 2.0 with deep Evernote integration earlier this year. The new version included an updated UI, new sync, and many simplified and/or removed options that weren’t met with excitement by the app’s existing userbase. Namely, users weren’t thrilled with Evernote’s decision to build every single Skitch sharing feature into Evernote, thus removing functionalities to upload images via FTP, directly link to them, and share them in multiple ways. The new Skitch also didn’t come with proper keyboard and menubar support, and, generally, it left much to be desired for those that were used to the old feature set and who had become dependent on the app for their workflows.

Evernote quickly went back to the drawing board and re-added a menubar icon and background options. In the blog post published today, Evernote confirms support for FTP/sFTP, image deep linking, and short URLs for shared images will come back to Skitch soon. Options for multiple fonts and custom colors, streamlined cropping and resizing, and automatic type tool selection will also be added to Skitch in future updates.

Of course we’ll be doing a lot more than just putting improved 1.x features back into the new Skitch. We’re working on some really amazing stuff that should appeal to our most loyal users as well as bring in many millions of new fans. Imagine being able to Skitch on top of different document types, communicate complex ideas via email without typing a single line of text, and going on a manned mission to Mars.

Read the Evernote blog post for all the details.

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Evernote Releases Skitch for iPad

Skitch is a popular tool for annotating screenshots and images with the ability to quickly share them with others. It was purchased by Evernote back in August of this year and today they are proud to present Skitch for iPad.

Skitch is the amazingly fun and surprisingly powerful way to move your ideas and projects forward using fewer words. With Skitch, annotate and draw on just about anything that you see, whether it’s a new or existing photo, a webpage, screenshot, map, or a blank canvas. Then, share your work with friends, colleagues or save it all to Evernote. It couldn’t be simpler.

Skitch for iPad has a handful of useful features as well as some not so useful features, all of which are housed in the very common “home screen” style interface. I am not personally a fan of apps that lump their main features in to a grid of large square icons. I think it is a lazy approach to user experience on a touch screen device. The fonts, colors and images used for the layout elements makes the entire app feel like a cartoon. After all the featured icons are the thumbnails of the drawings you have added. To remove them you have to tap and hold like you would expect to do on a home screen except the icons don’t jiggle as an indication. Because of this, it feels like an unfinished implementation. When you are finished removing images you can’t just tap in an empty area of the screen like you would with an actual home screen, you have to find the tiny Done button on the bottom corner of the screen. These are certainly not a huge issues, just more like disappointments and it all goes back to the lack of thought that went in to the design of this app.

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Evernote Acquires Skitch, Will Remain A Separate App

At the Evernote Trunk Conference that’s currently going on in San Francisco, Evernote CEO Phil Libin announced the company has acquired popular image sharing service Skitch. Skitch is a drawing tool for OS X that allows users to make quick edits and leave annotations on screenshots to share online with their friends and colleagues. The Mac app has got direct Twitter integration, it supports drag & drop and it can instantly send screenshots on to the web that anyone will be able to see with a browser. We had a review of Skitch for Mac last year, although the app has been improved a lot since then and given a new price point on the Mac App Store.

Following this acquisition, the price is the first thing that will change for Skitch. As part of Evernote, Skitch will be available for free on the Mac App Store, with no ads and no trials; existing Skitch users will be able to keep using the service with their accounts, though new users will get the possibility of signing up using their Evernote credentials. Evernote is promising “tighter integration between Evernote and Skitch” to “easily draw, ink, grab screenshots, annotate and share your favorite memories” – admittedly, as a long-time Evernote user, being able to edit and annotate images in a notebook has always been something I wished Evernote would do besides rich text editing and tagging. All Things Digital is also reporting an Android app will be launched soon, with Skitch for iOS and Windows to follow.

We were drawn to Skitch (har har) for one simple reason: we love and use their product with Evernote. For years, one of our most requested feature areas has been related to improved handling of images and annotation capabilities. Our users take and share millions of photos and screenshots already, but the experience isn’t as good as it could be. We debated about whether to add the improved functionality into Evernote or build a separate app to handle it. Finally, we decided to do both. Thanks to Skitch, we will.

According to Evernote, the engineers at the two companies will be working closely in the coming months to deeply integrate Skitch and Evernote with each other, as right now the only way to let the apps communicate on a Mac is by annotating an image in Skitch, and manually drag it into Evernote. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the app gained a feature to push annotations to Evernote’s cloud to avoid drag & drop – considering the app is coming to mobile devices, this has been certainly considered by the Evernote team. At the moment of writing this Skitch is still a paid app on the Mac App Store, so check back for changes soon to download it for free. We’re looking forward to whatever the Evernote team has in store for Skitch integration in their products – in the meantime, you can read the full announcement here.

Update: Skitch is now free on the Mac App Store.


Why Skitch Has Captured My Heart

Skitch is awesome. I love it, and if it were a girl, I would want to take it out to dinner, impress it with fine wine choice and witty banter, and then encourage it to love me forever, and have my babies. I think if you get to know it, you’ll love it too, although maybe more platonically.

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My Must-Have iOS Apps, 2018 Edition

Putting together my annual list of Must-Have iOS Apps is an exercise in analyzing the trends of the year and considering which ones had the biggest impact on how I use my iPhone and iPad. Two years ago, it was web services and open APIs; last year, I focused on collaboration with the MacStories team and making my workflow consistent across devices; this year, there isn’t a single overarching theme behind this list, but rather a collection of trends and changes that I’ve observed over the course of 2018.

First and foremost is the switch to a subscription-based business model by some of my favorite apps. As we noted in our look at the modern economics of the App Store earlier this year, it is becoming increasingly challenging for indie developers – the ones who make the apps we tend to use and cover most frequently on MacStories – to find a balance between reaching new customers with paid app updates and supporting an app over the span of multiple years for existing users who already paid once.

A subscription seems like an obvious solution: new customers can try an app for free and later decide to subscribe; longtime users of an app get to support their favorite app over a longer period of time; developers are more incentivized to keep making an app better thanks to the financial security provided by an ongoing revenue stream. Recurring subscriptions for all apps launched two years ago just before WWDC, and it feels like we’ve only now reached a point where more and more developers are willing to experiment with them. This major shift in app pricing wasn’t always met favorably by longtime users of existing apps, which has resulted in developers testing different approaches such as optional subscriptions, bundles containing subscriptions and In-App Purchases, or even multiple ways to unlock the same features. In looking at the apps included in this list, I was surprised by how many now include some form of recurring subscription; I think this transition will only become more prominent in 2019.

The second trend I noticed in my usage of third-party apps is a strong preference for those that fully embrace modern iOS technologies. From Siri shortcuts (by far, the most important iOS developer framework of 2018) to Files integration and support for external keyboards on iPad, I tend to prioritize apps that eschew proprietary functionalities and adopt native APIs such as iCloud, the Files document browser, or Reminders. With iOS growing more powerful and complex each year, I think it’s only natural that I’ve stuck with apps that shy away from Apple-provided solutions as little as possible; those frameworks are always going to be more integrated with the rest of the system than any alternative a developer can come up with, and I seek that level of integration because I enjoy the comfort of an ecosystem where all the pieces work well together.

Lastly, I’ve noticed some overall changes in the kinds of apps I consider my must-haves for iPhone and iPad. In the “pro” app department, the Photography and Development lists have grown to include apps such as Lightroom, Scriptable, Darkroom, and Halide – all new entries this year. One of my goals with the new iPad Pro is to use it as a workstation for editing photos and programming my own little additions to iOS; I felt like my increased usage of these apps warranted some changes in the annual picks. You will also find more apps designed to interact with macOS as a result of my purchase of a Mac mini (which I’m using as a home server for various tasks) and different utility apps as some of the old ones have been replaced by Shortcuts. An app that, by the way, I can no longer include in this roundup due to my self-imposed rule of not featuring Apple apps because they’re kind of obvious choices for an iOS user (this also applies to Shazam, officially acquired by Apple this year).

Below, you’ll find a collection of the 60 apps I consider my must-haves on the iPhone and iPad, organized in nine categories; whenever possible, I included links to original reviews and past coverage on MacStories. What you will not find is the usual list of awards for best new app and best app update, which we’ve relaunched as a team effort under the MacStories Selects name this year. Instead, at the end of the story you’ll find my App of the Year, which is also joining MacStories Selects as an award that recognizes an overall outstanding iOS app that had a profound impact on my workflow over the past year, regardless of its release date.

Let’s dig in.

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