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Extend Mac OS X's Screenshots

Mac OS X has a variety of built in screenshot methods. Here's a look at a few that offer more versatility than the basic full-screen capture (Command-Shift-3):

• Press Command-Shift-4 and you'll get a crosshair cursor with which you can drag to select and capture a certain area of the screen.

• Press Command-Shift-4-Space to select the entire window that the cursor is over, clicking on the window will then capture it. The resulting screenshot will even get a nice drop shadow.

• Hold down the Space bar after dragging out a selection window to move your selection rectangle around on the screen.

• Hold down Shift after dragging out a selection to constrain the selection in either horizontal or vertical orientation, depending on the direction of your drag.

• Hold down Option after dragging out a selection to expand the selection window around a center point.

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PreFab UI Browser 2.0 Better Than Ever

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PreFab UI Browser is a scripter's tool. You don't need it unless you need it, but if you need it, it's exactly what you need. As I explained in TidBITS four years ago ("Scripting the Unscriptable in Mac OS X", 2003-03-10), as well as in my AppleScript book, when you need to write a script that clicks buttons, reads scrolling lists, and chooses from menus, the Accessibility API and System Events are the only way to go; and UI Browser is the best way to figure out how to use them. UI Browser enables you to inspect an application's interface in terms of the Accessibility API, and generates the AppleScript commands you'll use to tell System Events how to interact with that interface.

UI Browser version 2.0 has recently been released. Aside from its new universal binary incarnation and some significant bug fixes, most of this version's visible improvements are small changes to the interface, but they add up to a lot. Most notably, the new "screen reader" responds in real time as you pass the mouse over an application's interface items. UI Browser is now also savvy about interface items that have recently appeared in the Cocoa repertory (such as date pickers), and has some added capabilities aimed at developers who want to test their application's accessibility conformance.

PreFab UI Browser costs $55; the upgrade from an earlier version is $10, or free if you purchased after the start of 2006. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, and a full-featured 30-day demo is available as a 1.2 MB download.

 

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