I was reading Lifehacker the other day and came across this article about Clarify. It is a new type of screen capture program and oh yeah, it’s free. You can find Clarify here. It’s only for Mac (sorry Windows user) and it helps you make easy how-to guides by combining all your steps into one easy document. You can even upload that document online (check out mine here). To see the entire presentation just read past the break to get all Clarify goodness.
How to use Clarify
This is a screen capture program like no other. What makes it different from SnagIt, Skitch, and others? Well, it will take multiple screen caps and easily combine them to make one document. Oh yeah, this post is written using Clarify. It allows you to write about it as well. Once done, you can easily share by emailing it or uploading it to Clarify’s website. If you chose the latter, you will get a URL that will take people straight to the guide. Pretty awesome huh? So check out the main window here. To take capture an image click on the camera (I’ve circled it).
Capturing an Image
When you click that big Camera button up there you get some options. You can click and drag an area to capture or you can hit the Space Bar to select a window. You also can hit the “C” button to hide or show your cursor or hit the “R” button to show the previously cpatured areas. Once you’ve done that it will automatically add it to your ongoing document and it also creates the different “steps” on the left hand side. You know what, check out my next screen shot and I’ll even annotate it for you.
Annotating the Image
Here are the tools:
- This is the selection tool.
- The LINE ANNOTATION TOOL lets you draw arrows
- The RECTANGLE and CIRCLE ANNOTATION TOOLS lets you draw circles and rectangles around areas of the image
- The HIGHLIGHT ANNOTATION TOOL lets you highlight areas of interest.
- The SEQUENCE ANNOTATION TOOL lets you put those cool little numbers (look at those pretty ones below).
- The TEXT ANNOTATION TOOL lets you, well write on the image. It also puts a little box around it as well.
- The BLUR ANNOTATION TOOL lets you blur out areas of interest
- These are options that allow you to change the color of size of certain annotations
- Font options
See how clever this program is?
To add text you have some very basic options, all of which you will be familiar with. Check out the image below to get all the details. Like I said pretty basic.
Here are the Preferences. You can change the Hot Key (I believe this is the shortcut key). You can hide Clarify (or not as I did) when you take a screen cap. You cal also Auto scale images, so they are the same
How About More Options
You have some options if you click that “i” on the right hand side of each step. You can change where the media is shown (above or below the text. You have the choice of a picture frame, a line, or nothing around each image. You can change the Export Format (I do like PNG’s though). You can change the Canvas color and change the Image ALT Tag (in case the image does not display).
To Share your document all you have to do is click on the button I’ve circled it. If you have an account (which is free) it wil immediately start uploading and let me tell you it was fast. Once done it asks if you would like to visit or just click OK. If you don’t have an account it will ask you to create one. No worries all you need is an email address. No verification is needed (at least not yet)
Clarify is currently free and it is a beta version. This means that there are a few kinks that are still in there. While using writing this post (nearly entirely on Clarify people) I only encounterd one problem. I tried to paste an image instead of using the built in screen capture and it gave me an error message. Also, you can only have one image per step. At least I couldn’t find a way. Also, I did not see any spell check. I’m a terrible typist (I’m sure many of you have noticed). Other than that I did not find too much I didn’t like. I know it’s a beta and some of these feaures may show up at a later date. I’m just pointing them out now.
What I Like
I like how easy it is to add an image, annotate it, and add a description. What I REALLY LIKE is how easy it is to add a step. I mean, this what it’s all about isn’t? This is fast and easy. I also like how easy it is to share it. The document online looks good too. When emailing it looks quite good too. I mean check out this post. Not too shabby. Clarify is easy to use, easy to learn, easy to upload, easy to email, easy to annotate, and easy to reorganize. I mean it is easy.
Clarify is only for Mac (at this time) and is free. Go ahead and snag a copy. While I wouldn’t use it to make a large how to docment (like my Edmodo Guide), but for something quick this if by far the best way to make a quick how-to guide. So I give it three DT’s out of four. It’s definitely worth your time.