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© June 2009 Anthony Lawrence

Voila is an OS X screen capture utility similar to Skitch or Jing.

Let's start out by noting that it's tough to compete with free. Both Skitch and Jing are free as I write this and Volia is not. Not only is it not free, it's not cheap. At $39.95, Voila's price is more than I'll spend without careful thought about whether I really need software,. Well, no, that's not exactly true, but it's more money than I can get away with without my wife asking if I really need it.

I think I've got good reason this time. Voila goes beyond Skitch. Here's a picture that shows a lot of its capability:

voila example

Yeah, I know that's silly. Consider how it was made:

I started out by capturing a still of myself from the iSight camera in my MacBook Pro. I added a caption "This is me being amazed at Voila". Then I selected a circular image from my webpage. I could have selected a square, a polygon or even indicated the area I wanted freehand. I could have even selected multiple images at once.

I took that circular image and skewed and distorted it so it appears to be turned to the side. I then pasted that onto the original image twice and resized those.

I now duplicated the image I had and pasted skewed copies back in to the original, resizing them and adding a sawtooth edge. I deleted the circular images from the original. Finally I added the red "OK" and "Approved" stamps, the freehand arrow, and the musical notes.

voila effects - sketch from photo

voila circle

By the way, I did all this without referring to the manual once. Volia has a palette of tools and effects that are mostly direct and easy to understand. It also has multiple Undo, so you can easily revert back if you screw up.

Limited Feature Set?

Sure, there is photo editing software that can do much more. I recently reviewed Corel Painter 11, for example. That's expensive stuff - ten times the cost of Voila, and much more difficult to learn. Voila only provides a small set of editing functions - however, they are the functions I'd most commonly want .

You can drag images into Voila, export to iPhoto, to Mail, to Flickr, even to FTP. For selecting from web pages, Voila has the interesting ability to select individual DOM elements. That makes it very easy to pull desired elements from a web page.

Voila may be "limited" compared to real image editors, but has everything I usually need.

My Wish List

I do wish Voila had the screen session recording options of Jing. That would be a very nice addition, especially if you could use its editing functions on the frames. I also wish that I could scale the image as I save it like iPhoto allows during Export.

So - worth the cost? For me, yes. I don't use pictures a lot, but when I do, I'm fussy. Voila can help me get what I want quickly and easily.

If you'd like to buy a copy, you can use this link: Buy Voila. Yes, I get a percentage if you buy that way. You can also just download a demo and buy later - with or without using this link. Of course, I'd rather earn the commission, but that's not why I am recommending this.

Thanks to Bruce Garlock for mentioning this on Twitter!

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> Voila


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take Control of iCloud

Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course

Photos: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Apple Mail, Third Edition

Digital Sharing Crash Course

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Wed Jun 24 10:37:42 2009: 6536   BruceGarlock

I was fortunate enough to get this as part of the MacUpdate.com promo bundle, along with several other Mac apps for $49.99 - including:

TechTool Pro 5.0.4                                      
Parallels Desktop 4.0.3844
NetBarrier X5 10.5.3
DVDRemaster Pro 5.1.3
Paperless 1.0
Multiplex 1.0.3
MoneyWell 1.4.8
RipIt 1.2.11
Posterino 1.5.1
BetterZip 1.8.1
Circus Ponies NoteBook 3.0v355
Jets'n'Guns Gold 1.222
CuteClips 3.0.9
Voila 2.0.1
RAGE MapDesign 1.2.2

All of those for $49.99, is a steal! Some of them I'll probably never use, and some I already had, but I wanted Voila, and got a lot more for just $10 more than the cost of Voila! If you are a parent of young children, the RipIt, and DVD Remaster Pro, are a must for getting DVD movies off the DVD and on to a iPod or other portable media device.

I previously used Skitch for my screen captures, but Voila has many more annotation tools that Skitch did not have. Voila is now in my top ten must have Mac apps :-)

Wed Jun 24 14:27:54 2009: 6539   Katie

Lol, nice review, Lawrence. I use Voila myself, and find it really helpful. Specially I love the Menu capture and the Freehand capture. Eagerly waiting for them to add the video recording feature :)

Wed Jun 24 14:41:03 2009: 6540   TonyLawrence

Yeah, capturing screen sessions would be great!


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