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blog.gkaindl.com » Mac Tip: Checking alignment everywhere

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Mac Tip: Checking alignment everywhere

Like once in a while, I had a pretty good idea today. While I was doing some adjustments to this blog’s css file, I was looking for a quick way to check wether two elements are aligned horizontally or vertically on the screen. I needed some sort of ruler.

However, on MacOS X, you can actually abuse the screenshot function to achieve just that very easily and flexibly: Just press Shift+Command+4, and the mouse cursor will change into a cross-hairs. When you click somewhere on the screen now and hold the mouse button down, you can move a selection rectangle around the screen (if you let the button go, MacOS X will snap a screenshot of the area inside the rectangle and save it to the Desktop).

This feature can be abused to check elements for proper alignment, too, and it works in every application, be it a web browser, Interface Builder or whatever else. Just invoke the screenshot function by hitting Shift+Command+4, use the selection rectangle’s borders as a ruler to check your elements for alignment, then hit Esc to make the selection rectangle disappear without taking a screenshot.

Maybe this is already an old hat, but I just discovered it today and find it pretty useful for web design and other layout-involved tasks.

Disclaimer: I’ve tested this on MacOS X 10.4 (Tiger) only, I remember that the screenshot feature worked differently in Panther, but my memory fails me on the details.

1 Comment

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  1. Deprecated: Function ereg() is deprecated in /nfs/c03/h01/mnt/52932/domains/retiredblog.gkaindl.com/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/google-analyticator/google-analyticator.php on line 445
    Gregory
    wrote on May 03, 2007 at 9:27

    Great tip! I have used this befre but never realized I could hit escape to cancel. I have around 400 undeleted screenshots of nothing taking uo harddrive space.

About

Hi, how are you? My name is Georg Kaindl, and I'm a twenty-something from Vienna, Austria. During the day, I'm a CS student at the Vienna University of Technology, but at night, I turn into an independent software developer for the Macintosh platform, social nerd, lazy entrepreneur and intuitive researcher.

I like to write about everything that matters to considerate technology enthusiasts, but humbly retain the right to go off-topic from time to time.

My posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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You can reach me by email if you have something to say that's not related to a blog post or that you don't want to have publicly available as a comment to a post.

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To get my email address, take the word before the .com in my domain name first (Hint: The word you are looking for starts with a "g" and ends with an "l"). Next, simply attach @mac.com to this word.

Boom, there's my email address. Simple, isn't it?

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