I’ve been taking screen captures for decades. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve been using Snapz Pro. It’s simple, effective, and does exactly what I need it to. At least, I thought it did, until I tried Voila from GlobalDelight
I’ve been giving Voila a try for the last month or so, and I must say that I’m quite impressed. It’s not perfect, but it packs a pretty powerful punch for $30 compared to Snapz Pro X at $70. At $15 though the end of September, it’s an outright bargain!
Voila bills itself as the ultimate screen capture solution for your Mac. At first I wasn’t convinced, but after a month of use, I’ve removed Snapz Pro from my Mac and have been using Voila full time; I love it!
Voila exists as a full application, as well as a menubar utility that offers easy, one-click access to capture commands and the application window. You’re not required to keep Voila running for it to do its work. The interface is slick, well-organized and Mac-like.
Voila offers several command key combos (which you can customize) to capture the full screen or any window or menu you click on. You can even capture images using your Mac’s built-in iSight camera.
Where Voila differs from other capture utilities is its ability to customize selections of your screen for capture, such as circular, polygonal or freehand areas of your screen. You can load a webpage in Voila’s built-in browser and capture all or part of the page just like you would the desktop. Of course, Voila can also capture video.
More than a capture utility
This is where my comparison to Snapz Pro stopped. That’s because Voila is more than just a capturing utility, it’s also a library to store and organize everything you capture, as well as edit and annotate the images.
The library is much like iTunes or iPhoto in the way it works. You can have folders and smart folders to organize your collections. And you can add tags, descriptions and more to the images stored in your collection to make them easier to find later.
Voila offers a ton of editing and annotation tools to enhance your screen captures, such as cropping, resizing, pencil and painting tools, text and shape entry, blurring, stamping, erasing, and more. Along with those basic editing features, you can also use effects like adding borders and edges, skew the image for a 3D effect, add spotlights to areas of your image to highlight them, and adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, hue and sharpness. And the best part is, the edits are stored along with the original, so you can always revert to the original capture if you want.
Normally I would edit screen captures in Photoshop, but more and more I just want to add a quick arrow, add some text, or highlight something in the screenshot. Photoshop is overkill for that, and Voila makes it simple.
It seems no application would be complete anymore unless it can share with the world. Voila is no different. All images are stored in the Voila library, but you can also save images as JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, PDF and BMP files for later use. But Voila removes the need for that step by allowing you to share your images via Evernote, Flickr, YouTube, Dropbox, Tumblr, or directly to an FTP site. If you’re thinking that list is somewhat short, don’t worry. You can add other applications to the list of apps you can export to. I added Tweetbot to the list, and immediately had the ability to export to Tweetbot where a new Tweet window was opened and the image already selected and ready to share.
It would be nice if it were perfect
The only two downsides I came across were relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. First, Voila is a soup-to-nuts solution. If you’re simply looking for a static screen capture utility, or you want image editing but not storage, Voila is probably going to be overkill for your needs.
The second problem is that Voila does not appear to work on dual-monitor setups when capturing screen video. This is definitely a Voila problem, because it works when I unplug my second screen and restart Voila, and Snapz Pro has no problem capturing video with both screens attached. While a dual-monitor setup is probably a niche market overall, I suspect a significant amount of people who are the type of people who want all that Voila offers have dual screens.
That being said, I can still recommend Voila for anyone who takes a lot of screen captures, annotates, and wants to store them for easy retrieval later.
Voila is normally $29.99, but is on sale through the end of September for $14.99, works on Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later, and a demo is available from the website.