Measuring Stuff On Screen – Review 10

Now, imagine you are a graphic designer, image editor, picture enthusiast (or even a hapless website designer). You need to see the precise distance between two pixels.

What is one to do? Take a screenshot, open the image up in a fancy editor, then look for the helpful image resolution somewhere in the status bar.

Alternatively . . .

KRuler

KRuler Logo

KRuler is a nice graphical tool for determining those pesky distances. When launched, it places a virtual ruler marked out with pixels on your screen.

A sample KRuler, with a small black arrow pointing to the 454 pixel mark.

A sample KRuler, with a small black arrow pointing to the 454 pixel mark.

While the mouse is over the KRuler window, a straight black arrow extends out from the line. This, in addition to the precise pixel distance displayed at the 0-end, make it significantly easier to measure onscreen distances.

KRuler can do a bit more than just that, though. The colour of the pixel located at the tail of the arrow is shown next to the pixel number. There are also quite a few configuration items available by right-clicking on the ruler. Orientation, transparency, colour, and even the font can be changed if you want to.

KRuler context menu. Many aspects of the ruler can be changed - here the font size is larger and the ruler is measuring percentages.

KRuler context menu. Many aspects of the ruler can be changed – here the font size is larger and the ruler is measuring percentages.

Overall, I’d say that this is indispensable for those times when you need a ruler.

Price $0 (Free)
Compatible OS‘s Anywhere KDE is available (Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, etc.)
Licensing GNU General Public License v2
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Identifying Colours – Review 7

When I look at the computer screen, I normally just consider the content. Does it really matter whether something is light grey or dark grey?

To professional creators (e.g. artists, filmmakers, designers, and programmers), the precise colour displayed can be a very important consideration. Even a non-technical user might want to make sure their pictures and captions are the same shade.

Hexdecimal

Hexdecimal Logo

Hexdecimal (spelled differently from ‘Hexadecimal‘) is a nice little ‘eyedropper’ tool to determine what colours are shown on your screen.

When opened, it shows a customizable window with a palette, two trios of color sliders, a list of text boxes, and a status bar.

Default appearance of Hexdecimal.

Default appearance of Hexdecimal. In contrast to most programs, the Save, Open, New file, and Keep on Top buttons are located below the rest of the interface.

The text boxes on the right side display the current colour in six different formats:

  • CSS-friendly
  • Hexadecimal (uppercase)
  • Hexadecimal (lowercase)
  • Red, Green, and Blue levels in decimal
  • CMYK (useful for printing)
  • Common name

Click on one of them to copy the displayed text.

If you have recently copied something that Hexdecimal understands as a colour, then the ‘Paste’ button will be enabled. Click the button to display information about that colour.

What if you want to know more about an actual colour that you see on the screen? Left-click once on the large coloured rectangle in the middle of the window, then move the mouse so it’s pointing at the desired item. Holding down the left-mouse button will let you scan multiple on-screen colours. The program will only pick up a new colour when the mouse is motionless.

By default, the Hexdecimal window will remain on top of all other windows. Click the pin icon to toggle this setting.

If the program doesn’t quite work as you need, there is a helpful ‘readme.txt’ file bundled along. It includes full explanations for each of the multiple settings Hexdecimal understands.

Readme (right), file listing (left), and Hexdecimal (top).

Readme (right), file listing (left), and Hexdecimal (top).

All in all, Hexdecimal is a very nice tool. There are many competitors which offer eyedropper functionality, but I feel that Hexdecimal can easily hold its own.

Price $0 (Free)
Compatible OS‘s Windows XP,Vista,7,8
Licensing Generic Shareware License