Off topic: Other great software for designers


#1

I’m only posting this because I’ve seen official balsamiq blogs link to other software products.
The intention here is to link to complementary software, not competing :wink:

I would like to mention these little tools I use on Windows:

  1. Monosnap (Windows/OSX - https://monosnap.com)
    Similar to the built-in Windows Snipping Tool but with more functionality and extremely easy to use.
    If you configure it with a login account, and alter the default capture actions, you can make it upload your image and copy a link to the URL to you clipboard for linking online (images are eventually deleted, but has never been a problem for me). But it’s also great for capturing a small part of your mockup, annotating it and sending to colleagues.

  2. Pixie (Windows http://www.nattyware.com/pixie.php)
    All it does is display the exact colour notation for where your cursor is positioned, so that you can match it in balsamiq or another application.

  3. f.lux (Windows/OSX/Linux https://justgetflux.com/)
    If working late at night, it softens the screen making it much easier to work longer and get to sleep quicker when you’re done. Takes a week or two to get used to the orange colour shift, but I can hardly use a PC at night without it now. You will want to disable it if choosing colours accurately, which is easily done.

I have no affiliation with any of these apps, and they’re all free.
I invite others to add your favourites below.


#2

Awesome tips on tools, @Ryan Thanks for sharing them.

For Mac users, here are some similar tools, although I’m guessing some Mac users know of them.

Screen Capture
I use Skitch primarily for screen capture and sharing images or linking it to an image control. I also find myself using Cloud App a lot more since they also added support for screenrecording as animated gif. But for basic screen capture it’s also great. Both have some limited / free options…

Color Picker
OS X has a great tool called Digital Color Meter (under /Applications/Utilities) that samples a color from your screen and can copy sampled hexadecimal color value to your clipboard so you can paste it into the color picker in Mockups. There are quite a few color picker tools you can add to the Mac, and one that I’ve had installed on my machines for years that runs next to the visual OS X color picker is Hex Color Picker, and I still use that primarily.

Measurement
For measuring elements on the screen, XScope is great, and FreeRuler while super old, still works perfectly. Useuful if you’re measuring elements from a screenshot or something.

Window Management
Another neat tool that I use a lot is a simple window manager called Divvy ($14) that comes in Mac or Windows version. Hit a keyboard shortcut and you can precisely position a Mockups window in one area of your screen, and another application window in another screen, or whatever.

Visual Design
I use Illustrator for various different stuff (print work, and other tasks that utilize old scripts and batch actions built up over the years). For production work, Sketch App has been the primary design tool for everything else.

Would love to see other peoples’ tips on other tools they use. Thanks for starting this thread, Ryan!


#3

Window Management
Optimal Layout (Mac)

Screen Capture
I would recommend take a look on CloudShot (Windows). It’s 100% free, can capture shots and GIFs, and has built-in Editor

PS I have to confess that I’m designer of CloudShot. All mockups and concepts for CloudShot were made with Balsamiq, and Editor was inspired by Balsamiq as well =)

PPS We hope to ship Mac version by the end of the year


#4

Thanks Dmitry, tried out CloudShot yesterday. The instant-capture and GIF tools could be useful (when I remember the keyboard shortcuts).


#5

Here’s a neat one for presentations/web meetings, etc

Free accounts limit scheduled meetings to 40 minutes, but for internal communications across sites I’ve found the feature set very useful. It would seem to be that if you invite people into your room ad-hoc the 40m limit does not apply. I mainly use it for daily scrums, solving problems with developers, and occasional remote IT support.

Screen/app share, chat, mute, record, encryption, etc features are available. Quality is on par with but often better than Skype.