macOS Photos is a great tool for storing, editing and organising your photos and iOS screenshots. But what about all the other images you collect while you work? How do you organise those and make it easy to find just the one you want when you want it? What about image formats not supported by Photos, like Pixelmator or Acorn? That’s where Pixa comes in. Pixa allows you to sort, tag and organise all those images, in a wide range of formats. Whether they’re icons you’re working on, photos you’ve taken, or images you’ve gathered as inspiration for your next project.
In Setapp, search for Pixa and click Install. When Pixa has installed and launched, it’s ready for you to add images. The easiest way to do this is to find images in the Finder and drag them onto Pixa’s main window. Images added in this way are added to Pixa’s library and stored there.
If you’d rather keep images in their original location, but work on them in Pixa, use Live Folders. In the folder view (make sure the folder in the top left of Pixa’s window is selected), click the down arrow next to the ‘+’ at the bottom left of Pixa’s window. Choose New Live Folder and navigate to the folder you want to add. You’ll see Pixa’s window fill up with images in that folder. If there are sub-folders in that folder, you’ll see those nested in the sidebar beneath the new live folder.
To change the name of an image, right-click on it in the main window and choose Rename. You’ll see a drawer appear at the bottom of the window. Type the new name for the file in place of its current name.
To add notes to an image, click on it and click on the ‘i’ at the bottom of the window to display the image’s metadata. Now you can type into the Notes fields. You can also add tags to the image by typing them into the Tags field. Hit Return after each tag. To the left of the Notes and Tags fields, the image’s metadata is displayed. Click the ‘i’ again to hide the window.
You can preview an image using Quick Look by clicking on it and hitting the space bar. If you want to open it in another application, say Polarr, also available in Setapp, for editing, click on the cog icon at the top of Pixa’s main window, click ‘Open with’ and choose an app.
Pixa allows you to upload an image to the cloud from within the app. Select Preferences in the Pixa menu and click the Services tab. Choose either Dropbox or Cloud app and log in to your account. Now, go back to Pixa’s main window, click on the image you want to upload, and click on the cloud icon in the toolbar.
You can also take screenshots from within Pixa and manage them in the app. No more having screenshots scattered around on your Desktop. There are two ways to do it. The first is to use Pixa’s menu bar icon. Click on it with your screen displaying whatever it is you want to screenshot, then click Snap Area, Snap Window, or Snap Full Screen. The other way is to use the keyboard shortcuts. Click the Cmd key followed by 1, 2, or 3, depending on what you want to take a screenshot of.
Even more useful than taking a screenshot, is grabbing an image of a web page. To do that, navigate to the page you want to grab in a browser then copy its url. Now, click on the Pixa menu bar item and click Snap Website. When the window opens, paste the URL into the address bar and hit Return. Alternatively, type a search term to search Google and then click on a result. Click the width icon at the right of the toolbar and choose a screen width – they’re broken down by Apple device types. When you’ve done that, click Snap website. The whole page, not just the section that’s visible in your browser, will be grabbed and sent to Pixa.
Pixa allows you to organise images according to your workflow. So, if you’re starting a new design project, for example, you can use Pixa to organise images for research for that project. Press Cmd-N to create a new project, or click and hold on the ‘+’ at the bottom left of Pixa’s window and choose New Project. Type in a name for your project. You can now drag images into it, either from the Finder or from other folders in Pixa. For example, you could click on the Tags section in the toolbar and click on a tag in the sidebar, then drag all the images associated with that tag onto the new project’s folder in the sidebar.
Click on an image, then click the Quick Export icon at the bottom of the window (a box with an arrow pointing upwards). Choose a format, navigate to where you want to save it and click Export. To change the Quick Export options, click Edit and create a new option from the parameters available.
Click on any image in Pixa, then click the cog icon at the top of the window. Click on Open In and choose which application you want to open the image.