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Capturing Your Screen With Voila

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:

There are many tools, on the Mac, to make screencasts or take screenshots. While OS X's built-in tool, Grab, is good in a pinch, Voila offers a host of extra options, is user-friendly, comes in at a reasonable price-point, and can definitely speed up your screenshot workflow.

This tutorial will show how to use Voila effectively.


Screencast


Capturing Your Screen With Voila

How to Take Screenshots With Voila

The menubar is a sacred space for any Mac user, but Voila earns its place because of its flexibility. You can easily access the app's toolset by clicking the reticle menubar icon and choosing your desired type. Below is an explanation of all the screenshot abilities and how to use them:

  • Capture Fullscreen: As the name implies, this takes a picture of your entire screen. Just click the selection and the screen will flash--similarly to a camera--and the shot will appear in Voila.
  • Capture Selection: The screen will dim, providing you with a white cross-hair cursor and sizing dimensions. By default the selection shape is square, but you can press C for a circular capture, P for a polygon capture, or F for a freehand capture. Click and drag to make the selection and then, handles will appear on the selection to modify the size before snipping.
Voila's selection capture let you re-size after you've made your selection. It also adds other shapes.
Voila's selection capture let you resize after you've made your selection. It also adds other shapes.
  • Capture Object: This allows you to easily grab a dialog box or other OS aspect without having to frame it in a selection box. To do so, hover over the object you want to grab and click once to select it. Two icons will appear in the top right; click the camera icon to save the object or use the clock icon to time your shot in case you want to highlight something on the dialog box before the object is captured.
While Grab has a window capture similar to Voila's object capture, Voila highlights what you're about to clip and lets you do a timed shot within a window in case you need to position your mouse or select a setting.
While Grab has a window capture similar to Voila's object capture, Voila highlights what you're about to clip and lets you do a timed shot within a window in case you need to position your mouse or select a setting.
  • Capture Menu: After choosing this option from the menubar, open the desired menu you'd like to capture and then press the keys Command Shift M to highlight and snap that menu.
The menu capturing feature keeps you from cropping a fullscreen shot down just to highlight a menu.
The menu capturing feature keeps you from cropping a fullscreen shot down just to highlight a menu.

Taking Web Screenshots With the Built-in Browser

Voila also has baked-in web compatibility. While browsing the internet, you can grab a screenshot of a webpage by selecting Snap Active Browser URL from the app or menubar. The image created will represent the entire webpage, not just that part visible currently on your screen. This can be incredible helpful for a web developer, though zooming in beyond 100% results in pixelated fonts and images.

Voila can snip a whole webpage using the URL currently loaded in your browser.
Voila can snip a whole webpage using the URL currently loaded in your browser.
Tip: Capturing a browser page was fastest in Safari, but Chrome was only a few seconds behind.

If you only want to grab parts of a webpage, choose the Open Current URL in Voila selection. This will open the webpage in a mini-browser within Voila which provides other options: select the camera icon capture the whole page; select the dashed rectangle icon to click-and-drag the area you want to select; or select the solid rectangle icon to choose specific parts of the page's Document Object Model (DOM).

If you need to capture a specific part of a webpage, you can select multiple items from a page's DOM at once, and Voila will create separate images for each.
If you need to capture a specific part of a webpage, you can select multiple items from a page's DOM at once, and Voila will create separate images for each.
Tip: When using the browser capture features of Voila, you may not be able to capture screens behind password-protection (ex. Facebook, Wordpress, etc.) or PDF pages.

How to Use the Editing Toolset

After you've collected your desired shots in Voila, you can use the app's nicely-appointed editing tools to perfect them. Firstly, organize your library using Smart Collections, a folder created by isolating images based on a selected criteria such as Date, Tag, or URL. Click the + in the lower left of the app to choose the criteria by which to make your own.

Voila also offers 13 editing tools to make swift fixes. While some are similar to photo-editing software, a few are unique to Voila. Each also allows some customization using the inspector under the toolset icons. The choices are:

  • Select: Click to Select the object or moves a shape.
  • Pencil: Click-and-drag to free-form draw on the image.
  • Paint: Fills shape or selection with color.
  • Spray: Click to add sticker shapes/icons to shot (ex. hearts, stars, etc.).
  • Text: Click to add a text box and then type within it
  • Shape: Choose a shape and then click-and-drag to your desired size to add the shape to the image
  • Arrow: Click-and-drag a directional arrow onto the image.
  • Callout: Click-and-drag a callout box (speech bubble) onto the image.
  • Line: Click-and-drag a callout box (speech bubble) onto the image.
  • Stamp: Click to add a stamped exclamation to an image (ex. approved, paid, sent, etc.).
  • Blur: Click-and-drag a box around part of the image you want to be blurred.
  • Eraser: Click-and-drag to erase part of the image.
  • Marquee: Click-and-drag to select only part of the image to edit.
The editing features of Voila are not as robust as some editors, but they do save time for quick edits.
The editing features of Voila are not as comprehensive as some editors, but their simplicity does save time for quick edits.

The app even has a bevy of built-in effects. You can < strong >Filter your image similar to the ubiquitous ones found in Instagram or choose to Spotlight one part, dimming the rest of the image and highlighting your selection.

In the end, the tools are enough to save you the multiple steps of opening a separate image editor to make changes. The choices are limited to the following six:

  • Edges: Add a custom border from preconfigured selections (below the effects icons).
  • Skew: Change the visual perspective of the image using the slider bars (below the effects icons).
  • Filters: Choose a preconfigured filter from the selections (below the effects icons).
  • Adjust: Tweak image colors and traits using the slider bars (below the effects icons).
  • Crop: Click-and-drag to select the area you want to crop, then click Done
  • Spotlight: Click-and-drag to highlight an area of an image. The rest of the image will dim.
The Instragram-esque filters are present, as is a useful feature named <strong>Spotlight</strong> that highlights on area of an image.
The Instragram-esque filters are present, as is a nice feature called "Spotlight" that highlights on area of an image.
Tip: The Blur tool is particularly useful for obscuring bits of data, like passwords or extraneous code, from images

How To Make a (Basic) Screen-Recording

While there's a number of screenshot choices and editing panels, in Voila, the video capture is refreshingly simple. To use Voila's video capture, select either Record Fullscreen or Record Selection from the menubar. You can select and test the audio input--either microphone or system sounds--using the drop-down menu and gain levels, respectively.

You can also decide (by checkbox) whether nor not to capture the mouse clicks. Once you click the red Record button, you'll be provided a three-second countdown before the recording begins. When you've finished recording, just choose Stop & Save Recording or press the keysShift Command Esc. The recording will be saved in Voila.

As pictured above, the video options are lacking in Voila, allowing only two output choices: JPEG or H.264.
As pictured above, the video options are lacking in Voila, allowing only two output choices: JPEG or H.264.

The minimal options you have when recording are outputting to either JPEG or H.264 and selecting the frame rate: Low-15 frames-per-second (fps), Medium-20 fps, or High-25 fps. You can select your preference using the drop-down menu. Note that the editing tools, mentioned earlier, do not work with video recordings. Also there are no video effects or filters.

To export your video, click Share on the menu. You will then be asked to name the file and choose an output quality from the drop-down menu, either by device or resolution. Then, click Save and the video will be exported.


Conclusion

Voila is a solid choice if you need a screen-capture tool and with this tutorial, you now know the best ways to use it. Voila provides simple screencasting and excels in its efficient screenshots and thoughtful editing tools. Voila is available from the App Store and you'll be getting a solid app with full compatibility for Mavericks. Snap to your heart's content!

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