One thing I want to add to my previous post is my method for capturing screenshots. Since December 2017 I’ve used Droplr for taking screenshots. I haven’t seen anyone else use this method so I want to share it here. When I’m writing down todos in Things 3, or Apple Notes, I often need to include visuals along with those todos. But I don’t want to deal with inserting images inline, and I want to maintain the rhythm of my typing.  

I’m a product designer in my day job, and often in team meetings we share screens. If a teammate shares their screen, more often than not they want to reference another design idea, a note, a tool, a ticket, or some sort of visual. The conversation flows quickly, and often I only have a split second to see what they’re sharing before things move on. 

Outside of meetings I also have dozens of times a day where I want to reference something I saw, and include it with text I’m typing. 

I could record my screen constantly, so that I could search later. But as we’ve seen with the news from Microsoft Recall, I don’t think that’s ready for primetime. I’ve heard from others that Rewind has a lot of potential, and I may consider that at some point, but it doesn’t sit right with me yet. And it also doesn’t really fit with how I think and work. 

A second option would be to keep Zoom recording things during team work sessions, and check the video logs later. But that brings on a ton of friction, and changes the tenor of the conversation when we all know our words are being recorded.

A third option is to use some sort of AI bot to summarize the meeting. 

That’s not good enough, though. I don’t need just words, I need the visual context around what we discussed. If I was in a Figma file and saw a great idea, then a colleague dropped a link to an app with a specific screen in Slack, and then we referenced a ticket in Linear—well you can see it gets messy real quick. 

Words alone aren’t enough to convey that chaos. 

But, a tool like Droplr is perfect for this. 

Years ago I was lucky enough to get a lifetime license to Droplr, so I paid one time and haven’t had to pay again. I’m very thankful for that, and keep hoping I won’t get kicked off my plan. In case you’re looking for a similar tool, Cleanshot X seems to do the job just as well. 

Whenever I need to capture a visual on my Mac I’ll press my custom keyboard command (Shift+Command+3) to select an area of the screen. Next I quickly drag the area I want and let go of my cursor. This triggers Droplr (or Cleanshot X) to save that image, upload it to the cloud, and give me a custom URL. I paste that url into my notes doc (or wherever I’m typing) and have a visual I can reference or share with colleagues. The process takes two seconds, and I’m able to drop links to visuals inline with the words I’m sharing. 

It’s the perfect blend of words and images. 

Imagine I’m typing out a task:

“Move the button inside option A up beside the list in option B”

If I type that out on a Friday and come back to work on Monday I’ll have zero clue with that means. But if I took a quick screenshot of what I was looking at, and include the link; I suddenly have much more context on what I was thinking in that moment. So instead it would look like:

“Move the button inside option A up beside the list in option B []”

This may look messy, but it allows me to stay in my stream of consciousness and pick up later if needed. Then, if I didn’t remember what the heck options A or B were about, I can look at the screenshot and connect the dots. 

This method is glorious. Whenever I setup a new computer I instantly install the screenshot capture tool. I’ve also tried every other tool out there (as of today) and these two are the only ones that meet my needs. 

For settings you’ll want to turn off any previews, disable retina images (it slows down the apps and upload time), don’t allow the image to save to your computer, make sure it uploads straight to the, and turn off any notifications.

The app should just quietly exist in the background, available at a moments notice when your shortcut is invoked, and not cause any visual clutter to your workflow otherwise. It all should happen so quickly that you don’t even skip a beat when typing out your thoughts. 

I took notes for a 30 minutes session today where we asked a user to review our app. During that session I included 17 inline screenshot links. That help to give context to what we were looking at and line it up to my written out notes. 

P.S. I also have a shorcut setup for annotations (shift+command+4), where I set the app to bring up its preview window with arrows and text, where sometimes I want to draw a big red arrow to the part of the screenshot I’m referencing; and include a few words. I need this far less; probably 5-10% of the time, but still find it useful enough to setup. 

P.P.S. Droplr is acting up on Sequoia if you’re on the betas. Cleanshot X just released an update this week, so it’s back to working.