There are lots of great tools available today that can really make life easier for webmasters & web designers. If you are building, running or managing your own website, then you too should try some of them as they will really help speed up your work & you will wonder how you ever managed without them.
This week I'm highlighting 3 such tools, all FREE, which I personally have found to be indispensable, especially for Web Design & graphic design work (......when you begin postponing FireFox upgrades until after your favourite tool has been upgraded to be compatible, then you know it's true love........).
One is a FireFox Browser add-on, the other 2 are Windows apps
- MeasureIT - FireFox Addon by Kevin Freitas
- Pixie- Free Color Picking Tool by Nattyware
- ScreenHunter 5.1 Free by WisdomSoft
MeasureIT - FireFox Addon by Kevin Freitas
This is simply the most invaluable & indispensable tool in my tool-chest. I use it constantly for Web Design and design work. MeasureIt allows you to draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage. For web design MeasureIt is a fabulous free tool.
I use it on a daily basis, and if the developer ever ceases working on it I will be in mourning.... It's far more useful than one might imagine at first glance (after all, it's only a ruler basically) and it's super-easy to use.
I use MeasureIT in a number of ways, ie:
When deciding what size thumbnails I want to display: MeasureIT allows me to see exactly what size I need as I can just create sizes on screen using this tool and then adjust until the size suits. ...Then I simply configure the module (or whatever I needed thumbnails for) to display my chosen size of thumbnail..
When configuring modules: When I need to set up a module & I need to know how wide or high it should be I can simply use MeasureIT to measure the space available, and then I can set the module to that exact width (thereby avoiding my modules being too wide & spilling off the page etc.). This saves me so much time it's not funny, as I can get it right in one go.....
- When I need to measure something on screen on another website ie: to see whether something will fit into my site's layout, or if I like the size of something on a demo & want to apply that same size to that item on my site, etc - this tool allows me to get the exact size, right away.
Platform: FireFox Web Browser (v1.0 – 3.6.*)
Where to get it: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/measureit/
Pixie- Free Color Picking Tool by Nattyware
I've used Pixie Color Picking Tool by Nattyware for some time now, and I simply love this tool. I use it almost every day & it saves me so much time when designing, building or editing websites, or doing any design-related work.
Pixie is a great little tool that gives you the exact colour numbers for any colour you point to and is very easy to use (you simply run it & then point your mouse cursor over the colour you wish to know the details of, and Pixie will tell you the hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV values of that color. You can then use these values to reproduce the selected color in your favorite programs, & that's it! Done).
Trying to match colors no longer becomes "hit-and-miss" or time-consuming.
Here's just some examples of it's usefulness:
- When trying to match colors on your website - instead of getting close, you can now get the EXACT color... So now you have no excuse for having the wrong colors!
- When trying to locate colors listed in a CSS file in order to change them, etc (ie: you wish to change a bright-green default colour to a more conservative grey colour. Solution: Use Pixie to give you the actual color-code for the green so as to then quickly locate it within the applications CSS, saving you lots of time & frustration.... and of course it can also provide the color-code for the grey you want to replace the bright-green....)
- When you want to find out the color code of a colour that you like on another website, or product etc...
- For any job or task which involves using colour or color-codes
TIP: Once you've found the color you want, you don't have to manually write the color code - with Pixie you can copy them into your clipboard & then just paste in the color-code number...To copy a color, simply put your (mouse) curser over the color you want to copy and press "Ctrl+Alt+C "- Regards, BIS Admin.
Platform: Windows 2000, XP or Vista
Where to get it: http://www.nattyware.com/pixie.php
ScreenHunter 5.1 Free by WisdomSoft
ScreenHunter by WisdomSoft is a great free tool that I also use on a daily basis, and it too has so much more usefulness than you might think at first-glance. As well as taking full-screen screenshots, ScreenHunter can copy specific areas only if you wish. You can configure a specific folder to send all your screenshots to ,and it also has a great time-delay option (which has stopped working in my copy for some reason - but it was great when it did!).
Here are some of the ways I've found it useful:
- Screenshots (obviously!)
- Taking snapshots of complex software configurations before doing upgrades (one module that I use on our Homepage & other pages requires 5 full screenshots...). This then allows me to re-configure the upgraded software in a flash....
- Taking snapshots of Template or other CSS before I make any changes (this way, if something goes wrong I have a copy of the original....)
- Taking snapshots to use in articles (I've actually used it for this one...). As well as being able to copy only what you need copied, you can crop or edit the ScreenHunter screenshots in paint, too)
- If you need to create tiny/small screenshots or thumbnails (ie: Video thumbnails/screenshots - you can simply play the video & then use ScreenHunter's "Rectangular Area" option to copy just the video's image.... this is sooooo handy, as many website video components cannot play /approve videos without an accompanying thumbnail....)
- Save captures in BMP, JPEG and GIF file
- Hotkey from F1 to F12 and Print Screen key
- Automatic file naming
Price: Free (there is also a pro version available with extended capabilities & functions)
Where to get it: http://www.wisdom-soft.com/
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Karen is the co-founder of Business-In-Site.com and is an expert on WordPress with over8+ years experience building WordPress websites for clients. She has written hundreds of articles and is the lead writer and editor for Business-In-site.