Snappy is my most used screenshot app on macOS. It’s also free. I still recommend it if you’re looking for a free screenshot and annotation tool for macOS. But I decided to replace Snappy with CleanShot X this year.

I’ve been using Snappy for the past six years. I’ve never considered searching for a replacement because it has all the features I want from a screenshot app. Until recently, it becomes slow when you have too many snaps in the library. I have to regularly delete old snaps to make sure the menu bar item is responsive.

CleanShot X is the best and most responsive screenshot app on macOS right now. It has most of the things I want from Snappy. Here is a list of what like from CleanShot X:

  • Easily pin a screenshot as a visual note on your desktop.
  • Take multiple screenshots and store them in the sidebar without cluttering your screen.
  • Powerful annotation tools to help you communicate your message and idea better.
  • Capture long-form screenshot with their scrolling capture feature.
  • Record a video and export them with several options, such as GIF.

CleanShot is not perfect for me yet. There are some areas that I wish they could have done better.

Screenshot Groups

Snappy does one thing very well. It automatically organizes your screenshots according to the dominant captured area of the screenshot. For example, the screenshot taken in Sublime Text will be placed under Sublime Text directory.

CleanShot X hasn’t added a local library to track screenshots history. I hope that they will consider adding this feature to their cloud library. It will be great if they can automatically tag the screenshot with the front window application name.

More “Capture Area and Pin” Options

I like to pin captured screenshots. I can take a screenshot of the documentation and switch back to Sublime Text to write the code. I also like to take a screenshot of writing guidelines and refer to them for my drafts.

Capture Area & Annotate in CleanShot X

CleanShot X does a great job with “Capture Area & Annotate” feature. There are a ton of options for you to choose from. The annotation tool appears after you’ve captured the screenshot. Once you’ve finished annotating the screenshot, you can have few options:

  • Press Command - C to copy the screenshot and close the window.
  • Press Command - U to upload the screenshot to CleanShot Cloud and close the window.
  • Press Command - S to save the screenshot to your selected directory.

I wish they can do the same for “Capture Area and Pin”. Wouldn’t it be better if you can also use these shortcuts above for pinned screenshots? They can also add Command - E as the shortcut to display annotation tool.1

Native Scalable Window in Screen Recording

CleanShot X has done a great job with their Wallpaper preferences. One way to make a screenshot looks fabulous is to include the wallpaper as the background with some padding around it.

This is also true with the screen recording.

I don’t expect them to add this feature to screen recording (yet). What I usually do with other recording tools is to press Space to focus the screen recording area and resize the window while holding Option. Here is the native macOS window resizing behavior:

  • Hold Option while resizing a window to scale only the selected edge.
  • Hold Shift - Option while resizing a window to scale the entire edge.

It seems that CleanShot X is not using native window resizing. I can’t use these shortcuts with CleanShot X screen recording feature. You can’t also maintain the window at the center by changing the recording area value because it’ll expand to the right.


CleanShot X costs $29 per Mac. I’m not a fan of buying software licenses that you can only use on one machine, but I understand that it’s the only way to prevent people from abusing their privilege by sharing their licenses with other people.

The other option is to subscribe to Setapp at $9.99 per month to use CleanShot X and also gain access to additional 150 apps. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth it, you can read my review of Setapp here.

  1. Technically, you can also pin the screenshot with “Capture Area & Annotate”, but you need to drag the title bar to move it around. Meanwhile, you can drag the entire screenshot around with “Capture Area and Pin” mode.