Apple's Magic Trackpad & Application Grab

I suspect most people know about these two tools, since I’m not exactly on the forefront of technology out here in the semi-country, but if not:

Apple’s Magic Trackpad works beautifully. I’m using it more and more instead of a mouse due to mouse/wrist problems. Here is Apple’s hype, which is pretty much true:

“The new Magic Trackpad is the first Multi-Touch trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop computer. It uses the same Multi-Touch technology you love on the MacBook Pro. And it supports a full set of gestures, giving you a whole new way to control and interact with what’s on your screen. Swiping through pages online feels just like flipping through pages in a book or magazine. And inertial scrolling makes moving up and down a page more natural than ever. Magic Trackpad connects to your Mac via Bluetooth wireless technology. Use it in place of a mouse or in conjunction with one on any Mac computer — even a notebook.”

The other thing, and I guess all Mac users utilize this, is Apple’s application, Grab, used to take screenshots. I use it daily, when I can’t download something, and I want an image. It creates only TIFFs, which must be converted to JPEGs, at least for my blog postings.

9 Responses to Apple's Magic Trackpad & Application Grab

  1. jhm says:

    I don't know if this is same as grab (which, truth be told I never could quite get to work for me), and I'm on the old 10.6 OS, but SHIFT-COMMAND-4 gives you a PNG of a definable area (use SHIFT-COMMAND-3 for full screen).

  2. As a Mac-loving screen-grab addicted blogger, etc., I must say that Grab is a feature-starved disappointment. You MUST try Skitch ( Just as easily activated, but then you can crop, rescale, mark up and annote, drag off in multiple formats from a marvelous interface.

    You won't look back. (Well, you might want to check out earlier versions–I'm using ver 1; it got bought up and lost features, but the older versions are still out there, and apparently Evernote has paid some attention to the chorus of complaints…)

    Anyway, for daily/hourly use, this one is the bomb.

  3. Adam Smith says:

    I'm also a Grab fan. Check out Secrets ( Which is a preference pane that gives you all kinds of control over your mac including allowing you to set which filetype your screengrabs are saved in and also which folder they go to. incredibly useful.

    Personally I never got into skitch, but I know many people (like David above) swear by it.

  4. Dan says:

    I don't think I knew Grab existed. I've used Skitch, and it works well, but for quick screenshots I've always used the shortcuts jhm mentioned. They save in PNG format by default, but you can change that.

  5. For the mouse/wrist issues: If you haven't tried this already, experiment with height of hand relative to body relative to desk (helps to be using a desk with an adjustable keyboard tray + adjustable chair). Also experiment with different size/shape mice.

    Good luck; we all love your books & you deserve not to be in pain while producing them!

  6. Bryan says:

    You can use keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots of either the entire screen or a selected area, AND you can change the file type and file save location with a few quick terminal commands. If you're doing a lot of screenshots, I HIGHLY recommend this option:

  7. Lloyd Kahn says:

    What Bryan says is right. Command-shift-4 will give you a selection cursor, and by default save it as a .png (which is OK). And if you want to change the default to .jpg, the following command pasted into the Terminal application (followed by a return) will do it:

    defaults write type jpg

  8. Lloyd Kahn says:

    To make it tke effect without a logout, there should be another command that follows it. So the whole command, combined, is:

    defaults write type jpg; killall SystemUIServer

  9. Lloyd Kahn says:

    Once that's done, you've got a JPEG saved to your desktop with many less strokes.

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