For web-designers, graphic artists, animators and others who work with Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, Apple Motion, Adobe After Effects, Blender, etc. Rulers are very important to measure the screen elements. There are many free and paid Rulers out there to do this job.

But for a hyper-quick solution, without opening any Apps, to measure elements on screen, simply use the built-in Screen Capture command (Command (⌘) + Shift + 4). Simply press Command (⌘) + Shift + 4 and then use mouse to click and drag to select/measure the region or the elements of your interest. To avoid taking screenshots simply press the ESC key before releasing the button. Don’t worry if you forgot to press ESC key and released the mouse. The taken screenshots will be saved on to the Desktop, so you can delete them later.

The built-in Screen Capture command has some awesome ways to select a particular region of our interest either for taking a screenshot or in our case for measurement. Only in Leopard or later, hold down the following key or key combinations while selecting an area:

  • Space – Lock the size of the selected region and move the region wherever you want.
  • Left or Right Shift + Space – Lock the selected region and move only either horizontally or vertically.
  • Left or Right Shift – Resize the selected region only towards one side, either vertical or horizontal.
  • Option (⌥) – Resize the selected region all sides with its center as the anchor point.
  • Left or Right Shift + Option (⌥) – Resize the selected region either up and down or left and right with its center as the anchor point.

In Tiger and its predecessors above options are not available. Also only in Leopard or later the X, Y axis pixels are displayed near the crosshair.

If you find any new key combinations please share them in the comments section.

Thanks for the read and please leave comments 🙂